Archive for the ‘Photoshoots’ Category
Posted by admin on February 27, 2022

The New York Times-

Across four seasons, the bodies mounted as their characters’ mutual obsession deepened. But like all relationships, this one, too, had to come to an end.

Posted by admin on February 01, 2022

Who is your icon from Hollywood history?

Jodie Comer
The Last Duel

“I had just started secondary school and I got paid £200. I felt like the richest person in the world”

Tell us about your first ever audition.

“I had just started secondary school and my drama teacher drove me. It was for a radio play called Tin Man. I got it and I got paid £200. I felt like the richest person in the world.”

What advice would you give to your younger self?

“Your grandparents are the coolest people you’re ever going to meet. Spend as much time with them as you possibly can.”

Posted by admin on January 14, 2022

The Killing Eve star discusses the series’ final season, and working with Matt Damon and Adam Driver in The Last Duel.

The name Jodie Comer has been synonymous with Villanelle, the alluringly chic assassin who stars opposite Sandra Oh in the hit BBC America series Killing Eve, for the past three years. She strikes a much more serious tone in her performance opposite Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Adam Driver in The Last Duel, Ridley Scott’s historical epic about a knight (Damon) who challenges a squire (Driver) to a duel to the death after his wife (Comer) accuses the squire of raping her. For W’s Best Performances issue, Comer reflects on starring with the longtime A-list pals Damon and Affleck, and reveals how she really feels about Villanelle’s beloved costumes.

Tell me how The Last Duel came to you.

Via an email through my agent, as [roles] usually do. It said that Ridley [Scott] wanted to meet me, so I met him at his offices in London. It was just a general chat, really; he was asking me a lot of questions about my life. And then he goes, “So, what did you think of the script?” I hadn’t actually been sent the script, but luckily I had read some of the book beforehand as homework. There was a slight miscommunication—I didn’t know any of the materials. He was like, “Right. I want you to go away, read it, and give me your honest opinion.” The next day, as soon as it got hand-delivered to the door and I read it, I was like, “Yes. Yes, yes, yes.”

Was he familiar with you from Killing Eve?

Yeah, apparently he’s a big Killing Eve supporter…which is great for me! [Laughs] I was very happy to hear that.

Is playing Villanelle liberating?

Yes. I mean, so liberating—and also exhausting. I didn’t realize quite how much, but we obviously had a bit of a break before we went back to shooting season 4. We had a yearlong hiatus, and the first week back doing the final season, I was like, “Whoa, okay, I’ve got to get back into this.” But I think it was good to have a little bit of space and be myself, solidly, for a good half of a year.

And to not have to wear little onesies, as you do in season 2.

Really tight, age-12 boys pajamas. [Laughs] No—that was a relief.

Villanelle’s costumes are kind of genius.

They’re such a huge, fun part of doing that show. Comfort is key with her, which I always appreciated. When I first read that she was a Russian assassin living in France, I thought, Oh no, are they going to have her scaling walls in seven-inch heels? They were like, “No, because that doesn’t make any sense.” So, it was great to have flat shoes.

But then you went straight into The Last Duel, which is set in France in the 1300s. Did you have to wear a corset?

Yes, but I don’t know if that was just a bit of cheating, to help a girl out, if you know what I mean. But no, the costumes were incredible. Ridley really liked these wooden clogs that were two sizes too big and made out of pure wood,because of the way they sounded on the cobbles. So I was shuffling around most of the time, trying to keep my shoes on.

You have a very extreme scene in The Last Duel. Was that difficult to shoot?

There are larger, more dramatic scenes within The Last Duel, especially in regard to the assault itself, and also the questioning within the court. As an actor, when you come to those kinds of scenes—the scenes you think of for months and months on end—you hope that you give them some justice. But it was an incredible atmosphere on set to work with Ridley. He works with four or five cameras rolling the entire time. So it’s not a very quick process, because he doesn’t miss a beat. He always allows you the time, but it just forces everyone to be really on the ball and very, very present.

He goes fast.

He does. We shot [Comer’s character] Marguerite’s perspective first, before we ever delved into another perspective. Which was great, because then I felt secure in knowing that I’d captured her story, and then I could play around.

Is there a film that makes you cry?

Billy Elliot definitely makes me cry. And very recently, I watched CODA, which I think is just so, so breathtaking. I watched it about two weeks ago and was like, Wow, it’s been a while since a movie has really moved me in that way.

Are you an ugly crier?

Of course I am. I only want to hang out with ugly criers. I don’t want to know you if you’re a pretty crier. Where’s the fun in that? I love a good cry.

Do you get starstruck?

I do get starstruck. Most recently, I met Stormzy at a concert. He came up to me out of nowhere and gave me a huge hug and was just like, “I think you’re brilliant.” And I was like, “What do you mean? When do you have time to watch the television?” That was really lovely, and I was very, very much lost for words.

You weren’t starstruck when you met Ben Affleck?

Well, yeah. I mean, all of those guys. Adam [Driver], Matt [Damon], Ben…it’s so surreal when you’ve spent a lot of your life watching people through films and television, and then you end up being in a room, sat on a table with them, and they’re asking you, “Hey, what do you think?” or saying, “We want your input.” And you’re like, “Oh wow, how did I get here?”

Posted by admin on October 10, 2021

From Killing Eve’s assassin to Help’s broken care worker, the home-grown superstar has proved she can do anything. As she hits Hollywood, can she keep it real?

Fist bump? Quick, slappy handshake? Standoffish salute? After a brief hesitation, the actor Jodie Comer abandons 18 months of professional caution around hellos, spreads wide her arms, and gathers me in for a big, swaying bear-hug. We’ve never met or spoken before. “But I’m quite a tactile person,” says Comer, who grew up in a suburb of Liverpool and whose scouse accent, which can sharpen or soften depending on the circumstances and her level of comfort, is in full, glorious evidence this afternoon.

The 28-year-old has knocked off early from rehearsals for season four of TV drama Killing Eve, in which she plays a chameleonic assassin called Villanelle. She recently got back from an Italian film festival where her second proper Hollywood movie (an epic called The Last Duel) had its premiere. Her first proper Hollywood movie (a knockabout comedy called Free Guy) is still playing in cinemas, an ad for it plastered on the side of the bus I rode in to meet her today. By choosing a cafe quite close to her rented London flat, we’ve managed to confound her numerous competing obligations and come together for an actual tea and biscuit, instead of the video call that was originally planned by her diary-keepers.

“How long have you been back doing stuff like this in person?” Comer asks, sitting down. “’Cos I gotta say, I’m so glad to be here. Present. Not on Zoom. I totally forgot that this was what we used to do. Hot drinks! Biscuits! You become so used to the routines of separation, don’t you?” She’s far too nice to say so herself, but Comer is cresting as an actor right now. She is one of the golden few for whom the work is plentiful and excellent, the praise regular, the focus intense. I imagine it must be hard to cling on to normality, as your star rises in this way, but Comer has developed one or two methods, which we’ll discuss properly later. First, tea.

A pot is brought and she pours from it eagerly, at the same time shuffling out of a big yellow trenchcoat. Underneath, Comer has on torn blue jeans, a white T-shirt, leather boots, avocado-patterned socks … But when she catches me making a note about the tiny, stitched avocados, she raises an eyebrow and asks: “You gonna be writing about what you were wearing today, too?”

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Posted by admin on October 06, 2021

When Jodie Comer was growing up in Liverpool in the north west of England, she and her dad would mess about copying accents on the TV. She didn’t know it then, but it would be excellent training for her career as an actor (she can seamlessly go from ‘frightfully posh British’ to ‘Russian assassin’).

Fast forward to 2021 and Comer is everywhere right now. Having honed her craft on British telly, her big break came after her portrayal of Russian assassin Villanelle in Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s smash hit Killing Eve. Now, she’s made the move to the big screen with starring roles in Free Guy alongside Ryan Reynolds and a new Ridley Scott blockbuster, The Last Duel.

Set in 14th century Normandy and based on a true story of the last sanctioned duel in France, Comer steals the show – which is no mean feat given her co-stars are Adam Driver, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Comer plays Lady Marguerite de Carrouges, a noblewoman who is raped by Jacques LeGris (Driver), a former friend of her husband (Damon). We chatted about her progression from small to big screen, how she feels about becoming a national treasure and the time she got her mum’s roast delivered to a film set.

The Last Duel explores a powerful story based on real events. Did that play on your mind when you took on the role?
‘Definitely. The biggest goal was to encapsulate the strength and the resilience that [Marguerite] evidently had in speaking out in a time when women were so disregarded by society and not thought of as human.’

The film exposes the power dynamics between men and women in the 14th century. Does it feel different exploring that in a period setting rather than in a contemporary drama?
‘We are naive sometimes in thinking: “Oh, this was so long ago and we don’t have this problem anymore”. There are still these issues around the world today and especially with women fighting for autonomy over their own bodies – that hasn’t gone away.’

What was it like working with Ridley Scott on this massive film?
‘It was such a dream to get to see how he works, having watched his films and been a fan of him. He has four or five cameras rolling the entire time, which is unheard of.’

There’s lots of sword fighting and elaborate costumes in The Last Duel. Did you take anything home from the set?
‘I didn’t, although I had a hefty pair of wooden clogs on, which were a size too big.  I don’t think you ever see them. Ridley [Scott] really liked them, they made a great sound on the cobbles. A lot of those costumes are handcrafted and so many hours have gone into creating them so I wouldn’t dare ask for anything off that set.’

You didn’t fancy the wooden clogs?
‘Strangely not! No, they can go back in the cupboard until next time.’

You star alongside Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Adam Driver. Did you teach them any Liverpudlian slang?
‘No I didn’t. Maybe I missed an opportunity there. It’s funny because we were in Venice recently and Ben was like: “I think this is the first time I’ve actually heard you speak properly in your own voice…”’

We’d be naive to think that we don’t have this problem anymore. Women are still fighting for autonomy over their bodies

Were the costumes fun to wear or was it a nightmare involving lots of corsets?
‘When you’re filming in a field and you have to go to the bathroom and you have 17 layers on, that’s when it gets a bit tiresome but all in all, it was amazing. The thing about those costumes is that you’re immediately transported to the world in which you’re in. You hold yourself differently.’’

You’ve just had another watercooler moment with British TV drama Help, alongside Stephen Graham. It’s set in a care home during the pandemic, a topic that’s raw for so many people. What has the reaction been like?
‘It’s been wonderful. We couldn’t have hoped for a better reaction. We’re aware that this is still very present in a lot of people’s lives. Having spoken to carers in my research, I wanted them to watch it and felt like we had spoken for them and represented them truthfully.’

I saw people on Twitter describing you as a ‘national treasure’ after it aired. Do you feel ready to be a national treasure?
‘Ooh, that’s a heavy weight to carry! But it’s very kind. I realised when filming Help: Why would you not utilise your gift, your job, and give back in this way and tell stories like this?’

What’s the best thing about working with Stephen Graham?
‘I want to say everything. He’s mischievous. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, which I love. When you think of how crazy talented that man is and he’s so modest, unassuming and a lot of fun.’

I saw on your Instagram that you got your mum’s roast delivered to the set of ‘Help’. Were your castmates jealous?
‘They were! Well, I took it up to my room but then I put it on Instagram, because I was like: this is possibly the best day of my life – a Sunday of filming and I’ve managed to get my mum’s roast dinner to set. Everyone was like: where did you get that roast dinner from? Steven was definitely jealous. But she also used to make scouse, a meat and potatoes stew, on a Thursday for Steven and I, so we’d have lunch together.’

Killing Eve has been such a big turning point in your career. When you got that role, did you think it would be life-changing?
‘Not at all. By that point, I only had the script for episode one. I knew it was Phoebe [Waller-Bridge] and I knew the script was special. However, none of us really knew what that was going to turn into. I was overwhelmed that I had been given the opportunity, because you always think it’s going to go to someone who’s more well known than you and can put more bums on seats.’

Did you ever think that your ‘big break’ might not happen?
‘I feel like each job contributes to something. One thought I did have was that, doing predominantly television, I’d always had this insecurity, like: “I’m never going to be in films because there are film actors and TV actors and  there’s such a huge difference, I’m never gonna be able to step into that”. That was my own insecurity, because there’s such little difference.’

What do your friends and family make of your rise to fame? Are they impressed when you tell them you’ve got the part in a massive Hollywood film?
‘It’s funny you should say that, because I remember when I got my first role in [UK medical soap opera] The Royal Today and it was like: “Wooo!”, celebration, champagne popped. And now it is a little bit more like: “Oh, amazing. Well done, babe.” They’re always so happy for me but I always remember that.’

Is it true that you learned how to do accents from watching TV adverts when you were younger?
‘Yeah, anything on the television that had some sort of regional accent, whether it was Cilla Black or a KFC advert. Me and my dad would always mimic them, purely just to make each other laugh. But I think that made me a bit fearless, so then when I was going to auditions and there was an accent on it that wasn’t my own, I wasn’t intimidated.’

“I’ve always been a bit fearless going into auditions”


What’s the most awkward audition experience you’ve ever had?
‘Oh god. They’re all a little bit awkward, I’m not going to lie! I remember one a very long time ago when I was with my first agency and I came all the way to London. There was dancing involved, I think it was for a theatre production. I got the train from Liverpool, was half an hour late, came into a dance room where everyone was already halfway through the routine and I had to tag along and then dance with two other people at the front. That was pretty humiliating. I wanted to leave as soon as I got there.’

What’s been the most surreal moment of your career so far?
‘Doing Help, there were so many Liverpool actors there, people who I’ve admired for so long – Ian Hart, Cathy Tyson, Sue Johnston. I had a moment where I was doing a scene with Sue Johnston. I was like: “Sue, I just want to tell you this – I wish my nan was alive to see the fact that I’m in this room with you”.’

You’re filming the fourth and final series of Killing Eve at the moment. Do you ever freak people out by putting on the voice of your character Villanelle?
‘No, never. Sometimes I get asked to do it if I’m out in a bar and someone’s had a couple of drinks. My insides just go: “Urghhh” and my toes curl up. So no, I never get that one out – only when I’m on set and they say action.’

Posted by admin on August 23, 2021

The award-winning actors ​discuss ​return​ing​ to their Liverpool roots to make Help, a powerful new Channel 4 film that unfolds at the start of the pandemic



Early on in the new Channel 4 drama Help, elderly residents at the care home where Jodie Comer’s character, Sarah, has recently landed a job celebrate Christmas in their paper hats and tinsel necklaces. The scene was originally longer, with a DJ spinning old-time discs. “Is there anyone around here who supports Everton?” he called, and Comer started jumping up and down, waving her hand in the air. “The whole storyline was that I was pretending that I was a Liverpool fan. And I was like: ‘Oh, shit, they can’t use that. I totally slipped out of character.’ And I looked at you, and you were like: ‘You’re killing it.’”

Comer’s reminiscing over Zoom with her co-star Stephen Graham, and – in their living rooms, in different parts of the country – they both dissolve into giggles. Interviewing them is like trying to steer a runaway train: they career all over the tracks, one minute talking to me and the next to each other, chuffing away in broad scouse accents. It’s not the sort of homey exuberance one would expect from Comer, who is best known as the ice-cool, multilingual psychopath Villanelle in Killing Eve. Neither is it the kind of on-set anarchy one might expect from Help itself, a relentlessly powerful and driven 120-minute drama documenting the UK’s care home crisis in the early months of the Covid pandemic.

The anecdote does, however, reveal the spirit behind the project and the friendships that brought it into being. Comer and Graham are executive producers as well as the stars of a film that is scripted by Jack Thorne and directed by Marc Munden in a style that combines the political urgency of Alan Bleasdale’s Thatcher-era classic, Boys from the Blackstuff, with the horror tropes of a Stephen King chiller.

It’s the first time the pair have contrived to work together since becoming firm friends on the set of a TV miniseries nine years ago. Comer, an unknown still in her teens, was playing a girl abused by cop-killer Graham in the Liverpool-set series Good Cop. “There were no intimacy coordinators in those days,” recalls Graham. “So I’d just say: ‘iIs it all right if I put my hand there?’ It was only a tiny little scene, but she was so trusting, and had such a blazing talent, that when it was finished I said: ‘Look I’m a happily married man and all that, but would you give me your number, because I’d like to put you in touch with my agent.’” He did, and the rest became history two years ago, when Comer thanked him for kickstarting her career in her Bafta best actress acceptance speech for Killing Eve.

Like Sarah, Comer is an Everton supporter. She could hardly not be, since her dad has been a masseur at the club for more than two decades. Like Tony, the lovable rogue with early onset dementia he plays in Help, Graham is a diehard Liverpool fan. How diehard, given that, by his own admission, he has spent more of his life now living in Leicestershire than in the city of his birth? “Like this much,” he says, brandishing a mug depicting four of the 2019-20 Premier League-winning team strolling across an Abbey Road-style zebra crossing. “Oh my God,” butts in Comer. “At the virtual Baftas, he was wearing this shirt and blazer on top and Liverpool shorts on the bottom.”

It goes without saying that Help is set in Liverpool. The Christmas party scene is an emotional high point, not just because it is the calm before the storm, but because it assembles some of the city’s most famous stars into ghosts of their former selves. A still beautiful but vacant-eyed Cathy Tyson recites a poem, My Mind to Me a Kingdom Is, before subsiding into the silence of her armchair. Among those applauding her are Sue Johnston, whose character Gloria will be the first to succumb to the new plague, and Ian Hart as the box-ticking but kindly manager, who finds himself utterly out of his depth as hospital patients are discharged into his care and his residents start to die. In one of the film’s many masterful changes of mood and tempo, the dreamlike sentimentality of the scene is punctured by Tony jumping to his feet to tell a filthy joke.

It all came about in “one of those magical moments”, says Comer. “Jack, Stephen and I were all having these separate conversations about how we wanted to work with each other.” She shamefacedly admits to having sent a “gis a job” message to Thorne on Twitter in the days before she wised up to the dangers of social media and abandoned it to her publicists. “Yeah,” picks up Graham, “and I’m sitting next to Jack at this awards thing for The Virtues [the TV miniseries] and I went: ‘Jack, do you know what you’re doing next?’ And he says: ‘A few things.’ And I was like: ‘All right, Jack, do me a favour. You know what? I really want you to write something for me with Jodie Comer. And he was like: ‘Funny you should say that, because she wants to do something set in Liverpool.’”

The care home theme didn’t come immediately. “Initially it was going in a completely different direction,” says Graham. “It was going to be a brother and sister relationship and we did this improvisation, but as you know, a lot of Jack’s work is extremely political and he said: ‘Look, this is not right.’ But just being in that room together, there was like a double energy, with these two little characters we’d already slightly started to play with, and Jack picked up on this instantly. Then he went off and wrote this first draft, and sent it to us.”

“It was important to capture the joy in care homes. There was so much devastation, but there is so much life in them”

Graham has dyslexia, so his wife, Hannah Walters, read it for him, “and she just went: ‘Wow, that’s amazing.’” Comer was sitting out the pandemic with her parents in Liverpool when the script arrived. “And it was really perfect. So fully fleshed out and moving.” They collaborated on the casting, and filmed it early in 2021, in the hiatus between the second and third lockdowns.

Neither has lost any family members to Covid, though just as they were on the point of starting rehearsals, says Graham, “Hannah and the kids went down with it, so I had to spend 10 days on me own in a hotel”. It gave him “the luxury to really dive in and absorb as much information as I could, not from an intellectual or medical point of view but in terms of the human elements of this disease”. Tony’s brain fog is rendered all the more poignant by the bursts of clarity, when he emerges into the full glow of his cheeky-chappy self. To understand him, Graham joined a WhatsApp group for people with dementia. “And it was lovely. I could really see how frustrating it was. I shed a few tears if I’m honest, with the lovely people that I met, and I carried them with me through the filming process.”

Comer, meanwhile, concentrated her research efforts on local care workers. “It was really important to me to capture the joy in these care homes. You know, there was so much devastation last year, but previous to that, these were homes: there is so much life and fun in them. What I realised from speaking to the women was that it isn’t carers and residents, there is no them and us, you know. It’s so integrated. The way in which they treat the residents is how I would like my family to be treated.”

There’s a disarming innocence in the way the two actors chat. Comer is slightly less forthcoming, more anxious to protect her privacy, but they’re so warm and unaffected that, were it not for the minders lurking off-screen, who occasionally interrupt to warn them off giving away too much about forthcoming projects, it would be easy to forget just how successful they are. In the same awards season that Graham sat around that table with Thorne and director Shane Meadows for The Virtues – in which he pummelled the heartstrings as an alcoholic survivor of abuse in the Irish orphanage system – he also picked up best actor awards for his ghost Jacob Marley in Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight’s TV adaptation of A Christmas Carol and as a rogue undercover cop in Jed Mercurio’s Line of Duty.

Johnny Depp, with whom he appeared as cocky cockney pirate Scrum in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, called him “one of the finest English actors of his generation”, and he’s on first-name terms with Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci after working alongside them as the terrifying “little guy” in The Irishman. It was his third project with “Marty”, after Gangs of New York and HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, but his feet are firmly on the ground. Three or four first-class flights home were dangled as bait to lure him to take on Al Capone in Boardwalk Empire, and he traded them in for 20 economy seats, so he could nip back at weekends. The only true difference between filming in Hollywood and Liverpool, he insists, is the amount of money involved. “If you see a crane, you’re like, OK, we’re going to be here all week. You don’t really see a crane in nice little British dramas.”

Comer, meanwhile, arrived at Killing Eve via prettier-than-thou bezzie Chloe in My Mad Fat Diary, adulterous Kate in Doctor Fosterandthe plotting Elizabeth of York in the Tudor miniseriesThe White Princess. “The fun thing about those characters is playing around with people’s moral compass: what they think is bad and what they end up finding themselves agreeing with is always kind of fun to mess around with. I mean, it’s crazy. People should hate Villanelle but they don’t, they love her.” From the off, says Doctor Foster writer Mike Bartlett, she confounded any prejudices the audience might have had about Kate as “the other woman”. “She made it complicated and human. Jodie is a genius. That much was clear from very early on, when I saw her in My Mad Fat Diary. She makes wonderful decisions as a performer – when to communicate something, when to hold back, and works with total commitment and detail. There’s a fierce intelligence combined with a humanity that means you just need to know what the character is going to do next, and you care.”

She’s currently on screen opposite Ryan Reynolds in the Disney video gaming comedy Free Guy, and this autumn will appear with Matt Damon in The Last Duel, a revenge drama set in medieval France and directed by Ridley Scott. She was seven weeks into filming the fourth series of Killing Eve when it was pushed back 18 months. “I would eat my hat to write for her again,” says the series’ writer-creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge. “As well as being one of the most outrageously fun people in existence, Jodie has a profound wisdom at her core that enables her to play both naivety and damage with incredible dexterity.” In Help, Comer plays a character very different to herself, for all the surface similarities. Sarah is a secondary school drop-out, a rough diamond whose parents and brother have given up on her, and who boasts of breaking a school friend’s nose after “she called me a slag cos I had bigger boobs”.

Comer also has a younger brother, who has followed their dad into football, as an analyst, but they’re so close that, until recently, both lived at home with their parents. She dedicated her Bafta award to her grandmother. Growing up on the opposite side of Liverpool to Graham’s childhood home, she went to a local Catholic girls’ school, where she became best friends with the future champion heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson, and got her first acting break at the age of 13 after a drama teacher spotted her talent and sent her off to audition for a Radio 4 play. “I had no reason to be rebellious,” she says. I didn’t go to drama school but I was very lucky to have people like Steve who were kind enough to extend a hand.”

While they were filming Help, her mum, Donna, who works in public transport, would turn up every Tuesday with portions of the classic Liverpool stew known as scouse for the cast. “And you know,” chips in Graham. “Donna’s scouse was absolutely up there with my Auntie Vera’s. Sorry ma, sorry, but it’s far better than yours.” He too comes from a close-knit working-class family, though at first it was just him, his mum and his grandmother, whose surname he adopted and in whose memory he now has a cupcake tattooed on his arm. He stayed in touch with his biological father, who is half Jamaican, but it’s his stepfather – also mixed-race – whom he calls “Pops”, and who helped him to grow into his own mixed-race identity.

Pops was a head paediatric nurse and his mum was a social worker, he says. The difference between his own background and Sarah’s in Help is “coming from a family that gives you nothing but support. That gives you the motivation and the drive to follow this supposedly unobtainable dream – and Jodie and me are similar in this. To be proud of that working-class heritage, and where we’re from, not necessarily just because it’s Liverpool. Hannah’s from Leicestershire and has that same ethic, which we try and pour into our children.”

He met Walters during a brief period training at Rose Bruford drama school in London, and they kept in touch after he suffered a breakdown and dropped out, only getting together as a couple several years later. They live in the small former mining village of Ibstock, with their two children. “Let’s get it straight, my kids are middle-class: they’re not growing up like me, struggling in certain places. But we still have to teach them the ethics of having pride in what you do, you know what I mean? So that’s where I come from with my mum and dad.”

Unsurprisingly, this decency is becoming as much part of the Graham brand as his talent. It’s what makes him so special as an actor, says Jimmy McGovern, who worked with him on the recent prison drama Time. “You look at that face and you see it etched in every single crease: tremendous humanity.” In a Hollywood context, it can look like naivety (“He’s a normal, decent, happy-go-lucky bloke who loves his missus and kids and is dead genuine,” he said of Depp, just months before the star’s infamous libel trial). But for all that he might project his own values on to the people he encounters, there’s no doubting that he’s genuine. Thomas Turgoose, the troubled kid from This Is England, recently revealed that Graham offered to adopt him after his mum died when he was just 14 years old. Among the familiar old faces in Help is that of Andrew Schofield (Johnny Rotten in Alex Cox’s 1986 film Sid and Nancy), who lived across the road from Graham’s family home and turned the boy’s life around by recommending that he try out for the Everyman youth theatre, after spotting him as an eight-year-old Jim Hawkins in a school production of Treasure Island.

Such working-class pride and solidarity used to command prime slots in British film and TV, but went out of fashion in prosperity Britain. “Times change, stories change. This is not a criticism, but obviously we went down the route of country-house dramas,” says Graham. “It’s what sells, and that’s fine if it’s what you want to watch, but I feel there was a time where we did lose authentic working-class drama. But there were also no black stories, Asian stories, Chinese stories: all of those voices were lost for a while and we became very slick and very good at making To the Manor Born kind of pieces.”

From his name-making fascist thug Combo in This Is England, through the haunted Joseph in The Virtues, to the excruciatingly compromised prison officer Eric in Time, Graham has played his own, increasingly impressive, role in returning the lives of ordinary people to the small screen. When I ask what he’s doing next, he gets tongue-tied for the first time. There’s a series of Peaky Blinders, he says tentatively, looking over his shoulder to Walters, who is listening in from the next room. “What’s that boss?” he shouts. “Oh yeah, Boiling Point. How can I forget about that?”

Boiling Point is the first film for a production company he and Walters have just set up, Matriarch Productions. It’s set behind the scenes in a restaurant with Graham as the head chef. “It’s all one shot, no trickery with editing. And it’s a beautifully multicultural, diverse cast, and a fair representation of a kitchen in a London restaurant.” It’s directed by his friend Philip Barantini, an actor who really wanted to become a director. “So we did a short and he loved it. And then he got the money to raise it for a feature. And it was all shot over the course of three days. We want to be a creative platform that gives people opportunities and tells diverse stories that haven’t been told before.”

It’s all part of a belief in giving back and passing on, which Comer hopes to emulate. “I have to say, personally, one part of Stephen that I hugely admire is the voice that his work has, and how important it is,” she says. “Help is the first time that I’ve stepped into something like that, which really does have a powerful message and is uncomfortable viewing, but is giving a voice to the voiceless.”

The film ends with a shocking series of statistics. Of the 48,213 Covid deaths registered in England and Wales between mid-March and mid-June 2020, 40% were care home residents. During that time, the government is estimated to have supplied only 10% of the PPE needed in adult social care. The average wage in the sector is £8.50 an hour. “We wanted it to be a slice of social realism, a free, handheld camera kinda thing, harking back to those great classic kitchen-sink dramas – Saturday Night and Sunday MorningCathy Come HomeA Taste of Honey – and all those quintessential British films that are watching women, and tell the story of a woman’s journey,” says Graham. “But I love the way Marc captured the looming threat of those early months, because we need to remember that we didn’t know what it was, this terrible thing: it had no face. That’s horror.”

Help airs next month on Channel 4 and All4

Posted by admin on August 02, 2021

Having dazzled us as Villanelle in Killing Eve, Liverpudlian Jodie Comer is taking her impressive skills to Hollywood. First up, a sci-fi comedy opposite Ryan Reynolds.

Jodie Comer: “We all go through these years of feeling a bit lost and not really knowing who we are. And I feel like I know who I am now. I honestly think that the trick is to just not pay attention [to what other people think].”

When British actor Jodie Comer was daydreaming about packing her bags and heading to Hollywood, she signed up for elocution lessons. “Because I’d go into auditions and people would be thinking I couldn’t change my accent,” says Jodie, who hails from Liverpool. “So I thought, ‘Well, I have to have a different accent.’ And then I remembered working with Stephen Graham, and him saying to me, ‘Don’t you dare do anything to your accent.’ ”

Graham, an actor’s actor, had worked with Jodie on the BBC series Good Cop in 2012. Impressed with her talent, he persuaded his agent, Jane Epstein, to put Jodie on her books. Their careers would diverge: Stephen largely remains a hometown actor, starring in UK television dramas like The Virtues and Line of Duty, while Jodie beat a path to Hollywood and will soon have her first leading role in Free Guy.

But Jodie, seemingly an industry veteran at just 28, is walking, talking proof that you can take the girl out of Liverpool but you can’t take Liverpool out of the girl. As she sits down to talk to Sunday Life, we bond over our shared experience of her home town: the Royal Albert Dock, the renovation of Merseyside, and her childhood in Childwall, in the city’s south-east.

“I have a big family that I’m very close with, and always have been,” Jodie says. “They very much keep me on an even keel. Scousers, people from Liverpool, we’re a very specific breed. There’s something in the water, I don’t know where it comes from, but everyone’s very personable and got a very kind of wicked, naughty sense of humour. It’s something I really miss when I leave.

Jodie stepped into the global spotlight in 2018 as the star of the spy thriller series Killing Eve. She plays Villanelle, a Russian assassin obsessed with MI6 agent Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh), who has been tasked with her capture. The role won Jodie an Emmy and a Bafta.

If you overlook a brief cameo in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Jodie is about to make her feature-film debut in Free Guy, an action-comedy in which the real and virtual worlds become enmeshed.

She’ll follow that with two Ridley Scott films, The Last Duel, co-starring with Matt Damon, and Kitbag, in which she’ll play Napoleon Bonaparte’s wife, Joséphine, opposite Joaquin Phoenix. As movie careers go, it’s not a bad start.
But the first cab off the rank is Free Guy, directed by Shawn Levy. It stars Ryan Reynolds as Guy, a bank teller in a virtual-world computer game who, thanks to a programming glitch, becomes aware that his world is a fictional construct.

Jodie plays Millie – online avatar Molotov Girl – a programmer who realises a sinister, code-stealing Silicon Valley fast-talker, Antoine (Taika Waititi), is going to cover his tracks by wiping this virtual world and restarting it, kicking off a race against time to save the self-aware Guy from erasure.

“I think what’s really interesting, and especially about Millie and Molotov Girl, is that the gaming world is also a very male-dominated industry,” says Jodie. “The film explores that through Millie’s experiences and the kind of obstacles she faces.”

Things are not so different, Jodie adds candidly, in Hollywood. “This is also a very heavily male-dominated industry. I love the idea that Molotov could be a role model for a younger generation of women. There’s a lot of innocence and life and humour there that I hope a lot of young women can relate to.”

Jodie understands the importance of role models, in turn acknowledging the women who have played an inspiring role in her life, from Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who wrote Killing Eve, to the much less known Vanessa Caswill, who directed Jodie’s episode of Snatches, a 2018 series of monologues inspired by real women in history (she played a secretary exploring her sexuality in 1960s Liverpool).

“I love the idea that Molotov could be a role model for a younger generation of women. There’s a lot of innocence and life and humour there that I hope a lot of young women can relate to.”

“They play a huge part,” says Jodie. “It’s probably something that is more subconscious, something that filters through without me recognising it. What I’ve always admired about these women is they know who they are, and they’re so free in that expression.

“There could be an instance where a male director may lose his temper and shout and tell people what to do, and everyone will just go, ‘Okay, it’s the way he is.’ And if a woman was to do that, it would be, ‘Who does she think she is?’ So I think seeing these women in this space, and coming at it with such humility, is what inspires me. They do a brilliant job.”

One of the most difficult things about being an actor is that everyone has an opinion about your success or failure. The great thing for Jodie is that so many of those opinions are complimentary. The New Yorker, for example, describes Jodie as a woman of “mercurial, unassailable charisma”.

“I’m going to be honest, [the opinion of strangers] definitely used to hit a lot harder than it does now,” Jodie says candidly. “It’s very surreal, because you’re out there, you’re accessible to people through your work, and people form ideas of you. Plus the media is a very powerful thing, and people believe what they read.

“I think also that as you get older, you worry about these things less. We all go through these years of feeling a bit lost and not really knowing who we are. And I feel like I know who I am now. I honestly think that the trick is to just not pay attention to [what other people think].”

Jodie recalls a conversation with Phoebe Waller-Bridge during the early days of Killing Eve which shifted her perspective. “We were talking about reviews, opinions, whatever, and I said to Phoebe, ‘I think if you read the good stuff, you’ve got to read the bad stuff.’ And she was like, ‘No you f…ing don’t.’ And then, obviously, I just fell in love with her even more, which I didn’t think was possible.”

Jodie is notably private, even by Hollywood’s gatekeeper-driven gold standard. She does not talk about her personal life in interviews, which leaves the media to speculate. (She has been romantically linked to American lacrosse player James Burke, but has never discussed the relationship.) “My personal life feels so sacred to me now, and it’s something I want to protect,” she told Marie Claire magazine last year.

But Jodie does have an Instagram account with 1.8 million followers. Her social media “self” feels authentic, but it also highlights the performative nature of social media. “It’s something we all get swallowed up in,” she says.

“For me, it’s a public platform, and my Instagram is very much a work-focused thing. I sometimes post personal things, but that is when I’m feeling very comfortable.

“I’m constantly having that kind of see-saw of what I should do, what I feel comfortable doing. Some people are so much better at that. Some people find it so easy and don’t think about it. And I probably think about it too much.

But of course everyone has a responsibility. You don’t post the moments when you’re having a mini-breakdown on the sofa. It’s something that I’m always trying to navigate.”

She pauses. “I think we’ve become so consumed with ourselves. I was doing a yoga class the other day and my yoga teacher played a meditation, a song, at the end. And there was a guy speaking and he was like, ‘We’ve lost our curiosity.’

“And I thought, that is so true. You grow up as a child, and you question everything, you want to know everything, everything’s so brand new and you’re seeking out so much. Then, as we get older, we lose that curiosity.

Returning to her new film, she adds, “I think what’s so beautiful about Guy – he has this innocence. He’s experiencing things for the first time, and he’s finding the joy in the simplest of things. The heart of this film is essentially about realising your worth, and that you have agency. And that, if we all come together as a community, the things we can create and change are incredible.”

Free Guy opens in cinemas on August 12 in Victoria and on September 9 in NSW.

Posted by admin on May 29, 2021


Fresh off the set of their upcoming project ‘Help’, the Emmy-winning actress talks to friend and fellow Liverpool native Stephen Graham about destiny, playing Scousers and getting the call from Hollywood.

How cool is Jodie Comer? Prodigious talent and an enviable screen magnetism have resulted in an Emmy and a BAFTA for her explosive performance as a psychopathic Russian assassin, arguably one of the most complex, multilayered characters to grace the small screen in years. There is a fearless honesty to her acting that seems to set her apart from her co-stars no matter what role she’s playing, from Ivy in Thirteen to Lizzie in The White Princess, and then of course, Villanelle in Killing Eve. Her co-workers attest to her being a right laugh, down-to-earth and generous to a fault on set. And she looks killer in a clown suit.

Now 28, Comer has been acting professionally since she was 13, but it was a small part in the BBC drama Good Cop, opposite acclaimed actor Stephen Graham, that kick-started what is shaping up to be an incredibly exciting career, one in which she is this year making the leap from small- to big-screen lead. Free Guy, an action comedy in which she stars alongside Ryan Reynolds, will finally be released this summer, with The Last Duel – a historical drama starring Hollywood heavyweights Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Adam Driver and directed by Ridley Scott – following in the autumn. Comer is also Ridley’s choice to play Empress Joséphine, opposite Joaquin Phoenix, in his upcoming Napoleon epic Kitbag, so he clearly thinks she’s pretty cool too.

But her most recent gig is Help, a story that shines a light on the tragic impact of coronavirus on care homes in the UK at the start of the pandemic, and one that reunites her with her friend and supporter Stephen Graham. Having recently wrapped filming on set in their hometown of Liverpool, the pair catch up on their history and swap set stories, sharing personal experiences of working in Hollywood

Stephen Graham: Do you remember how we met?

Jodie Comer: Of course I do, it changed my life forever. It was a lifetime ago now, but I remember it so well. We were filming Good Cop. I was only filming for one day and I remember how much you took me under your wing, and then it was from there that you introduced me to Jane [Epstein, Graham’s agent]. To think, that one day really did change everything for me, in the fact that you gave me a little nudge in the right direction. Because I don’t like to think where I would be if you hadn’t done that.


SG: I believe in the balances of fortune and fate. I feel like it was predestined and you would have gone on to do what you do, but I was just a little part of that journey. But I just remember being blown away by your talent in rehearsal. And I knew I was going to have to speak to my agent about you.

JC: Well, I think I was just so eager to get on my mark, know my lines and be there for everyone else who was doing a much bigger job than me. I had such a tiny part in it, but I remember you made it such a collaboration. And then I was on the train a couple of weeks later with my old agent, going to an audition that I really didn’t want to go to, and you called and said, “Don’t go to it – come and meet Jane.” And I didn’t go to the audition, I met Jane, which is very naughty. But it was meant to be.


SG: Yeah, it was. But before that, when did you first think, “Oh I really want to do this acting thing”? Was it at school? How did it come about?

JC: I remember it so vividly. It was at the Liverpool Theatre Festival. I was probably about 12. I was doing a piece written by a local playwright about the Hillsborough disaster. It was quite emotional, and I was crying before I’d even introduced myself.

That was the first time my dad had seen me act. Before I went on, he was like, “Just do your best.” But inside he was thinking, “Fucking hell, she’s going to get up there and I don’t know if she’s going to be any good. I want her to be good, but I don’t know if she’s going to be any good.” And then I remember doing it, and I remember seeing his face. And I thought, “If I’ve impressed my dad, maybe I’m all right.”

I’d done a radio play, working with actors from soaps, and they were the ones who said, “You could do this as a career.” It had never entered my head that this was an occupation. This was something I did on the weekend with my mates that I just loved. But winning the festival – and seeing how proud my dad was – I think that was a big turning point for me.

SG: We’re very similar in that respect. Like me, your family is massively important to you. I know how close you are. You’ve talked about the support from your mum and dad and how they enabled you to follow your dream.

JC: I remember [when I was young] when my dad drove me to an audition in Leeds, and I was sitting in the car, practising my lines, and my character’s swearing. And my dad was like, “I’m driving my 12-year-old daughter to an audition in Leeds, and she’s telling me to fuck off. What am I encouraging her to do?” But even though they didn’t have a clue about the acting world, they could see how much I wanted to do it, and they’ve just been so proud and given me the space to make my own decisions. My dad is always like, “Trust yourself, young Skywalker.”


SG: So when was the moment you thought to yourself, “Hang on, this could be my career”?

JC: God, I don’t know. I don’t know if I’ve ever had that conscious moment. I feel like each experience brings a newfound confidence or certainty with it. When I got Silent Witness, I was like, “Yes!” I felt like I’d proved myself. And My Mad Fat Diary was a big one. I remember going, “Wow, I’m going to be in something for six whole episodes.” And then with Thirteen, that was my first lead, and I was like, “Wow, this is a big responsibility.” And then obviously Killing Eve… I don’t know how you feel about this, whether you have one specific thing. But for me it’s like each step I take gives me something. As opposed to it being one kind of euphoric “this is it” moment.


SG: Yeah, you’re constantly learning, aren’t you? Gaining that education as you go along. And experience comes from actually being on the job. Because you never went down that drama-school route, did you? So all of your learning, and all of the knowledge you’re gaining, is primarily through experience. I think that makes you one of the most instinctive actors I’ve ever worked with.

JC: But so are you. I think that’s why we enjoy working together so much. But yeah, I think you’re right in that sense, because when I think back to being in audition rooms, I’d be in rooms with girls who had, like, three pages of notes. And I’d be thinking, well I haven’t done that kind of preparation, everything is always kind of on how I feel. But I guess everyone has their process, right? And you need to try to not look at what everyone else is doing and worry that you’re not doing the same.

SG: Yeah, of course. Drama schools are great and are excellent places for people to learn about the craft. But as soon as you get on set, it’s a completely different ball game. You can’t teach the minimalism that is needed when you’re on camera.

JC: No, you can’t teach how to feel. And when I was very young, it was always at the surface, and I just never knew how to control it. But I know that you’re the same, I’ve seen it on The Virtues. But even on Help I saw the way you access your vulnerability. I think it is incredible and was amazing to see up close.


SG: Help was a wonderful experience, and it was lovely for me to share that with you because of where we’ve both come from. We’re both kind of paving the way in our own journeys. In Help, you play Scouse, and I don’t think you’ve done that since the first time we worked together.

JC: No, I haven’t. Starting out, apart from Good Cop, I was always asked to change my accents in auditions. Which was fine – I always felt like accents helped me separate myself from my character. But there was definitely something lovely playing my own accent and showing the kind of woman that’s a part of me. And also the kind of woman I know so well. I found it quite exposing, actually, doing my own accent in such a bare, stripped-back way. But it was also something I really enjoyed, it felt like a celebration.


SG: I can’t wait for the world to see you playing this aspect of yourself in your true accent. Because to me, and I’m not just saying it because you’re like a little sister to me, it’s as powerful as Carol White in Cathy Come Home or Julie Walters in Boys from the Blackstuff – those really powerful, strong, visceral, fucking guttural women. But you’ve done it in such a modern way.

And it’s exciting to see, as it’s such a departure from all these other characters you’ve played, especially the magnificent Villanelle, for whom you’ve just had a fourth BAFTA nomination. How did that come about and how much did you help create that character?

JC: Well, I remember I’d seen Fleabag, and was obsessed with Phoebe [Waller-Bridge], and then, lo and behold, episode one of Killing Eve came through on a script. You can tell something’s special just by the writing, and I’d never, ever read anything like Phoebe’s script. And when creating it, we all felt a buzz, but didn’t quite know what it was going to be. And then it came to life in a way that none of us had ever imagined. And for me personally, I think what Villanelle has taught me is to be a little bit fearless.

Before I played Villanelle, a crew show was the most intimidating thing for me, even though the crew are on my side. I would always be so conscious of myself and my body. But with Villanelle I thought, if I’m going to fall on my face, I’m just going to get back up and try something else.

And I think that’s still in me going forward – to take risks and not be so self-conscious, and I’ve really enjoyed finding the freedom in that. And I’ve learnt that things can be flamboyant and in your face, but you always need to try to find where the truth is rooted.


SG: Yes, and we can tell how much fun you’re having while also completely believing that character, because you made it your own.

JC: There’s a scary amount of myself in there. Part of the whole collaboration with Phoebe on the first season was that she would write while watching the rushes – writing in and amplifying things I was doing. But we were constantly having to walk a tightrope of how much empathy we gave her, or how much we let people in. Because people are so invested in her and her relationship  with Eve. At the beginning she was just this psychopath assassin, but she’s so much more than that now. You can’t put her into a box anymore.


SG: That’s interesting that you say a lot of your character is in her, and I can see that – you do have to find a way in. Did the accent and costumes help you find the character? I’ve got a weird thing where it’s all about the shoes for me, and once I find them shoes, I can find a walk.

JC: My favourite thing was that whenever you got a new costume, you’d come and find me and do your little walk around the room in your costume and say, “It’s boss, isn’t it?” It was my favourite thing.

But yeah, I have an amazing accent coach, Budgie. I remember in the last season, Villanelle had to do a Scottish accent. And we spent a week doing this accent, really pushing it to the extremes. And then we’d be like, “Oh no, that’s a bit too Lorraine Kelly.” With the accents, I always find the best way is to push it to as far as you possibly can, and then when the moment comes, it’s a lot easier to bring it back. But you’re amazing with accents as well – do you have a coach?

SG: No, but I do work with coaches occasionally. For me, in the beginning, when I was playing a lot of Scouse roles, I could feel that I was possibly going to be typecast. Like that was going to be me for the rest of my days. So I did make a conscious decision to try to do things that weren’t just me being Scouse. But then I decided to go back to playing Scouse, because if I’m really honest, I want kids to see and hear me on the telly and go, “Well if he can do it, maybe I can too.” Because there weren’t many Scousers on the telly at that particular time.

JC: That’s so true. I remember, when I was younger, going for a theatre job, which I did end up getting but afterwards the director told me I was the only girl from the northwest who had gone in for it. And before I auditioned, she questioned whether I could even change my accent.


SG: Yeah, for me it was Martin Scorsese who had faith in me and gave me that opportunity to play the part of Al Capone. He didn’t have any reservations, he just offered me to do the part. And I did it, and at first I was very nervous, but I proved that I could do it and had a lovely time doing it. I’m not sure if I would have got that same opportunity over here in the UK, if I’m being honest. That’s actually a nice segue to the film you’ve just done with Ryan Reynolds – your first Hollywood film. Isn’t it amazing that we’re two kids from Liverpool having this conversation?

JC: [Laughing.] Yeah


SG: So how did you feel when you first went over there and when you were on set? What’s the difference between the little stuff you’ve been doing in England and the big Hollywood movies? I get asked this question a lot, so it’s lovely to ask someone else.

JC: I remember getting there and just being like, “This is so much bigger than me, this is a monster of a production.” My character is in a video game, so a lot of it was about visuals, and I’d never really done any green screen. So then you’re having to spend the entire day imagining what it is that you’re looking at or acting with. And doing it with conviction. Superhero movies have never been something that I’d usually gravitated towards. But after doing Free Guy, I had a whole new-found respect for actors who predominantly work on them. Because I rely so much on what the other actor is giving me. So to have that missing was really hard.

But the team was incredible. Ryan is just stupidly nice, wonderful. And Shawn Levy, the director, was the same. You know what it’s like, whoever is leading the cast usually sets the precedent – if they’re an arsehole, then everyone is going to feel in a bad mood, it just rolls downhill. But with Ryan and Shawn leading it, it was just the most joyous set to be on. And very nurturing.


SG: And you’ve just done another whopper, whopper film, with a whopper director. Ridley Scott, the legend that is Ridley Scott.

JC: Sir Ridley Scott!


SG: Sir Ridley Scott, of course, yes, Sir Ridley Scott. And you got to work with three wonderful actors on the show. Matt Damon, who I think is fantastic. And Ben Affleck. Oh, and that lovely lad, Adam Driver, he’s fucking phenomenal.

JC: Yeah, he’s incredible.

SG: So, what was it like then, sis, when you got the call? Was it exciting or are you just getting used to them now, like, “Yeah, another Hollywood movie… ”?

JC: No, no! For The Last Duel, there was actually this whole confusion. I was told Ridley really wanted to meet me, but that I couldn’t read the script. And then we were chatting away in his office – you know he’s a Geordie? – and he asked me what I thought about the script! And I told him I hadn’t been given it and he was like, “What?” Then he said, “Right, I’m going to give it to you, I want you to go away, read it and let me know what you think.”

I thought the script was brilliant. I thought the way they’d approached the subject matter was phenomenal, and I just wanted to bite the hands off them, you know, for the opportunity to work with Ridley, and Adam and Matt and Ben and Nicole [Holofcener, co-writer of the screenplay]. It’s just a really, really clever script. And filming was just incredible. Ridley works in such a particular way, he has four or five cameras rolling the whole time. And he knows exactly what he wants, he’s meticulous. And he gives you the space to do what you want.


SG: Did you do many takes or does he know what he wants, and when he gets it, he’s like, “Yeah, we’ve got it”?

JC: When he’s happy, he’ll ask you if there’s anything you want to do. I think he really enjoys you giving him something new, he likes to see you playing around, and maybe giving him something he didn’t initially think of. It was amazing being able to have four cameras on you, and two takes, one if you want to play around. You’re not doing it for 12 hours, you know?


SG: Yeah!

JC: You know what it’s like – sometimes you’re doing it all day! But I felt so lucky to be a part of it, and I also feel like I really grew up on that set. There was something in me that really kind of shifted. I read an interview recently with an incredible actress, of my age, called Olivia Cooke. She said, “A fairy isn’t going to die if you say that you’re good at your job.” It’s so true, you should feel comfortable about saying, “I feel like I did a good job.”


SG: Of course, yeah. And actually, that brings me to another question I’ve been wanting to ask you. Has there ever been a moment in your career where you felt that kind of imposter syndrome and that kind of old working-class mentality? Have you ever felt that or has it never affected you?

JC: I think I feel it all the time! Because you go to America and you do these huge things, and then you think, “But I’m from the UK. I’m from a little city called Liverpool and, you know, I live with my mum and dad.” And I feel like you make everything very small. When they’re actually not. But I always feel lucky to be there when I look around at everyone else, knowing all the stuff they’ve done. You know that people are at different points in their life, but you still feel it. But the only space in which I never feel it is when the cameras are rolling. When we’re about to go for a take, it just disappears. Because then I feel like I am where I’m meant to be.

SG: I asked because, you know, I’ve had that as well, throughout my career, right up to when I was lucky enough to do The Irishman. I had a really nice scene with Al Pacino, and I started to get a little bit panicky, thinking, “I can’t do this, it’s Al Pacino.” I had to phone Hannah [Walters, Graham’s wife], and I was like, “Hannah, I don’t know if I can do this,” and she was like, “What do you mean?” I went, “My arse has gone numb. Honest to God, I’ve been to the toilet about six times, my bottle has gone, I don’t know if I can do it.” And she was like, “Stephen, behave yourself,” and I went, “Hannah, it’s Al fucking Pacino!”

JC: [Nodding.] It’s Al Pacino.


SG: And I went, “You don’t understand, I’ve had posters of the man on my wall since I was a kid. When I told my dad I wanted to be an actor, we went to the video shop and we got three fucking films, and one of them was The Godfather. Do you understand, it’s Al Pacino?” And she was going, “Stephen, it’s alright, you’re meant to be there.” And I had to believe I’d earned the right to be there, to just enjoy it. She talked me down and I went back in, and he was wonderful, they were all wonderful. But what you said before really resonated with me – there’s a moment where you feel like there’s a growth. I felt like that on This Is England. But on The Irishman, I was kind of like, “OK, relax, this is where you’re meant to be.”

JC: Yeah, I think with each job, it’s about finding the space to feel like you’re meant to be there, you’re meant to be doing this. And then for me, you look at the people you’re working with, who you’re inspired by, who you look up to, and then you get on set with them and they’re just like everybody else. They’re there to do the same job as you, and be as present as you, with you, in the room. And it becomes more important to me, who I collaborate with and work with. Because I feel like, since I’ve never been to drama school, I’m constantly learning from the people I’m surrounded by. And I feel so lucky to have been surrounded by the likes of you, basically. Everyone needs a Stephen Graham in their life.


SG: Aww, you’re such a joy on set. As a person, you’re so gregarious and your sense of humour is fucking brilliant. And what I love about you is that you treat every single person on set exactly the same, be it an executive producer or one of the lovely girls who makes tea. And I think that’s a beautiful quality to have.

JC: Oh, thank you, Stephen. Well, as you get older and do more, you become so much more aware of how important everyone is. When we wrapped on Help, I felt so emotional, saying goodbye to everyone, because I feel like what Help really solidified for me was the importance of teamwork. You know, we worked six-day weeks, not a lot of time, not a lot of money. Really heavy stuff, night shoots, one takes, and Mark Wolf, our incredible DOP, was like a third person in the room with us at all times. And I just thought, “Wow, this doesn’t work if we’re not all connected.” But I just love being on set. You know what it’s like, it’s just such good energy.


SG: Yeah. I think it’s fair to say we both love being on set.

JC: Yeah. Together, preferably.

SG: Yeah, definitely together.


Jodie Comer | Hunger Magazine

Posted by admin on November 17, 2020

She’s the British actor best known for her award-winning portrayal of Killing Eve’s Villanelle – possibly the most stylish assassin the world has ever seen. Here, JODIE COMER talks to KATIE BERRINGTON about her daunting transition from TV to Tinseltown, keeping her private life out of the spotlight and why she is more determined than ever to stay true to herself.


Jodie Comer is learning to trust her intuition. “People tell me a lot that I have good instincts,” she reflects, as we sit on the rooftop of a London hotel, both wrapped in blankets (it’s late October and the pandemic dictates that we cannot be indoors). “So they’re always like, ‘Stay with that, stick to your gut.’”

This advice, and indeed her instincts, have served the 27-year-old Liverpool-born actor well when it comes to her career. “If I don’t have an initial instinct about what I’d do with a character – if I don’t sympathize with them or I can’t find a way of excusing them if they’re really awful – then I don’t go near it,” she smiles.

Having started out with occasional episodes in television shows, and then more major roles in dramas such as Doctor FosterThirteen and The White Princess, it was landing the role of masterful assassin Villanelle in Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s phenomenal cat-and-mouse drama Killing Eve that accelerated Comer’s profile into global stardom. Her chameleonic performance and accent-swapping prowess garnered acclaim from critics and audiences alike, as well as Emmy and Bafta leading-actress awards. Is there a pressure, then, that comes with choosing which roles to take on after such a triumph?

“What I try to do is just stay true to myself,” she considers. “Is there something that I haven’t explored yet? Because the thing about doing Killing Eve, or something like that, is that everyone has an opinion.”

“For me, the ONLY person I have to answer to is MYSELF – so as long as I go into things with INTEGRITY, I think you just have to drown out the noise”


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Posted by admin on October 29, 2020

On her role as a skincare ambassador

“For me, everything is about integrity, including my acting,” Jodie told R29. “I’ve got to believe in something if I’m going to put my time into it and I was blown away by Noble Panacea’s ethos and attitude towards what beauty is.” The brand was founded by Sir Fraser Stoddart, the 2016 Nobel Laureate for Chemistry, and champions active ingredients such as probiotics, which strengthen the skin’s barrier, and acids for gentle exfoliation. “There is so much science that has gone into these products and I think that’s authentic,” said Jodie.

On the simple skincare routine that makes all the difference
Since working with the brand, Jodie has cut back on stockpiling hyped skincare products and now opts for a more minimal routine. “I actually feel embarrassed when I look at my cosmetic cupboard and I see all the products that I’ve bought because there’s always something new,” she said. Cleansing is the lynchpin in her morning and evening routine. “I always cleanse my skin,” she added. “If I’m filming and wearing a lot of makeup, I prefer something with a creamy, thicker texture and I love using a cleansing brush.”

What follows is super simple yet effective. “My skin actually gets clogged quite easily, so in the morning I just use the Radiant Resilience Moisturiser,” a mix of skin-repairing probiotics, pollution-busting minerals and soothing plant extracts. “What the brand champions is using the products in steps, so I also love the Brilliant Prime Radiance Serum when I’m working out,” which contains bakuchiol (nature’s answer to retinol) and exfoliating glycolic acid. “I hate my skin being dry but I don’t want too much on my skin,” added Jodie. “Then, I always use SPF 50,” something Jodie’s facialist, Jasmina Vico, has instilled in her. “Jasmina can be naughty and nice when it comes to my skin,” continued Jodie, who treats herself to the odd facial when she’s in London. “They can be a little bit painful but that’s when I know it’s doing my skin some good. I’d much rather get all the gunk out of my face.”

In the evening, Jodie speaks highly of the Overnight Recharge Cream. “But I try not to put too much on my face at night,” she said. “I really like rose or lavender water – something that will give my skin a little hydration boost. I try and keep it simple, and I find that if I change things up too much, I don’t notice a positive difference on my skin. I leave things like retinol to the experts because I feel like something could go horribly wrong.

On being mindful when it comes to beauty
“Now, I’m more mindful about what I’m actually putting on my skin and into my body, and it helps that Noble Panacea ingredients are all clean,” said Jodie. All products are 100% fragrance-free, hypoallergenic and formulated without mineral oil, petrolatum, alcohol and paraffin, to name a few ingredients which may have the potential to irritate sensitive skin. “This never used to be important to me but it is now,” added Jodie. “I’m obsessed with the Overnight Recharge Creamin particular. When you wake up in the morning your skin is so moisturised and glowy and it starts you off on the right foot. I love the consistency of it, too. I hate it when a cream just dissolves into your skin but you don’t want it to be too thick either.”

Jodie’s approach to skincare has changed since learning more about efficacy and sustainability. “I feel like we always just slap our moisturiser on and can be quite rough with our face when washing it,” said Jodie. “I travel a lot with work, too,” she continued, “so the Recharge Cream’s small packages [each dose is individually wrapped to protect the product from light and air] are really useful and there’s zero waste.” The brand recently partnered with TerraCycle to source materials that are 100% nationally recyclable.

On the makeup products she can’t live without and the top tips she’s picked up on set
“Whenever anyone uses an Hourglass foundation on me, I love it. Also their highlighter palettes are so good,” revealed Jodie. “I also really like the Hourglass Hidden Corrective Concealer sticks but I like to warm the product up on my hand first and then apply it, as if you layer it, it can be quite thick.”
Jodie works with makeup artist Alex Babsky a lot and has learned some clever makeup hacks. “Recently, Alex was doing an eyeliner look on me that was kind of like a cat eye but so subtle and gorgeous. I always want to do a little flick but it always ends up on my forehead. I’m always trying to level it out and it always gets bigger and bigger. He gave me a top tip, though: start it from the centre of your eye and then wing it out, starting with a pencil and then a felt-tip liquid liner.”

“Another tip I learned is that once your lips are done, going around them with a little bit of concealer makes them seem a bit sharper and fuller,” said Jodie. “I really love a white or off-white eyeliner in my waterline to make my eyes look bigger, too, that’s a really nice touch. I also don’t put any mascara on my lower lashes, as it makes my eyes look smaller. But skin prep is also important. Whenever Hung Vanngo does my makeup, there is a face wash and a cleanser and two sheet masks and all of these things beforehand!”
On her iconic blonde hair
“I’m so lazy with my hair,” said Jodie, “but I love Olaplex and that’s the shampoo that I use.” Then it’s a simple spritz of sea salt spray (her hair hairstylist recently gave her Fudge) and she’s good to go. When Jodie is in the US, Harry Josh colours her hair, but when she’s back in the UK, John Clark at John Frieda takes over every five weeks. “The amazing thing is you get to try these amazing styles and colours out and it’s so fun to be able to play around like that,” said Jodie. But there’s one thing she’ll never try again: a fringe. “I got one on a whim one time and as soon as I walked out of the salon I thought, What have I done? Every time I had an event, I’d ask the stylists to please do something with it.”

On her everyday makeup look
“I like concealer and a little eyebrow gel so I don’t have to fill in my brows. I use MAC Brow Set in Clear because that stuff does not shift. I also have to have my Kevyn Aucoin eyelash curlers and I also like a nice cream blush, something super natural.”

On her Instagram-famous eyebrows
“My advice is: don’t touch them! I’m lazy with my brows and used to have no eyebrows so I’m scared to do anything to them,” said Jodie. “Actually, I’m very lucky they grew back. I let makeup artists tidy them up as long as they don’t go crazy, but I’d say leave as much as you can. I always used to draw mine on so heavy but I need to feather them slightly. Less is more with eyebrows.”
On her favourite Killing Eve beauty looks
“My favourite was the look from season one, episode three when [Villanelle] killed Bill,” said Jodie. “Even the costume was great, the jigsaw suit and plaits. We were filming in Berlin and she had Doc Martens on. What I imagine about Villanelle is that she is busy and doesn’t have the time to sit there and do her makeup. She’s free and being who she is. She is stripped back. As the seasons went on and the costumes became such a big thing, we had the opportunity to experiment. But she’s simple.”
On her favourite style picks
“You can’t underestimate the power of a good quality T-shirt and jeans,” said Jodie. She continued: “I love Agolde jeans. Mine split on the bum but I ordered them again because they’re so good. PAIGE jeans have great elasticity if you’re a girl who likes your food, like me! My friend also works at New Balance and when there’s a new shoe, she keeps me cool, but I’m very low maintenance.”
And if she’s going to spend her money? “I love a good Joseph jumper or knit, and I’m more of a pants and jacket girl. Recently, when the BAFTAs were virtual, my stylist got me a Duro Olowu dress, which had a low V-neck. When I put that on I thought, Why don’t I wear dresses more? I was obsessed. But it takes a special type of dress to sway me. I also just bought a new pair of black boots from Celine. These ones don’t cut off my calves and I can wear them with jeans and a dress.”

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