Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category
Posted by admin on April 28, 2023

The star of ‘Killing Eve’ and Broadway’s acclaimed ‘Prima Facie’ talks about the challenges and epiphanies of a theater debut.

Washington Post — It feels right that Jodie Comer became famous playing an assassin. Because her acting instincts are killer.

The charisma, the composure, the technique all came from somewhere. But where? After all, as Comer had been reminded time and again by casting people and directors in (mostly unsuccessful) auditions early in her career: You aren’t professionally trained. The message had seeped so deeply into her consciousness that when she was offered “Prima Facie” — a monodrama performed to huzzahs in London last year, and now to hearty approval on Broadway — she was surprised that she hadn’t been required to read for the part. Especially as it would be her first stage performance.

But by that time she was also Emmy winner Jodie Comer, earner of die-hard fans for “Killing Eve,” the 2018 BBC series that made her a bona fide sensation. Her portrayal of Villanelle, a coolheaded Russian psychopath, not only made her bankable, it also delivered an accent that was convincing enough to bamboozle Suzie Miller, “Prima Facie’s” author.

“When we came up with Jodie, Suzie was like, ‘We can’t employ her. She’s Russian,’” recalled the play’s director, Justin Martin. “And I was like, ‘She’s not Russian. She’s English!’”

It was through this singular set of circumstances that Comer — sans the validating credentials from RADA or Lamda or Central School of Drama — came to make her stage debut in Miller’s one-person play about Tessa, an overachieving London barrister. Tessa proudly trumpets the cases she’s won for her clients, men accused of sexual assault. Then “Prima Facie” makes its own sordid case clear when the justice tables turn on her.

The role is a daunting launchpad for a theater neophyte, an intense and grueling 100-minute test of concentration and stamina. After the play was announced, Martin took Comer to the Harold Pinter Theatre in London’s West End so she could stand on the empty stage and get a feel for the 796-seat house. The experience probably should have freaked her out a bit. It didn’t.

“I mean, I was awestruck, but I wasn’t intimidated,” Comer said. “Yeah, I wasn’t. I think Justin, what he was expecting maybe was for me to get to that moment and go, ‘Oh, God!’”

Where she did go was straight to work, but not without taking up Martin and producer James Bierman on their offers for help.

Actors who’ve achieved renown can grow leery of taking on a new play. I spoke recently with a director who ticked off the names of actors known for intelligence and success crossing over into movies — none of whom were eager to risk being in a new play. A work in its freshman viewing places a sizable burden on a star. There’s no reliable road map, and so with the uncharted choices the production makes, performers may worry they will be held responsible for road bumps.

Comer, who had some film and TV experience before “Killing Eve,” didn’t count on an actor’s life growing up, though her talents were noticed. “It seems pretty clear I was a very confident child, you know, very silly,” she said. “Always putting on like shows or impressions.” In school, she said, the reports were, “I was very chatty. It was always, you know, ‘Chats too much. Social, yeah, needs to focus a little bit more, less talking.’”

When she was about 12, she performed a monologue in school, and that led to a role in a radio play. Her parents — a physiotherapist father and a mother who worked at a transport company in Liverpool — never stood in her way. But the way wasn’t paved for her. She has pointed out in award acceptance speeches that she didn’t have the advantage of conservatory training, and as Martin put it, “There’s a mania for that” in the theater world.

“Prima Facie,” too, had some prior success, having been performed in Miller’s native Australia before London, although neither the play nor the playwright were well known outside her home turf. A human rights lawyer by training, with 15 years in criminal law, Miller said that she found herself perplexed when she studied sexual assault in law school.

“I remember thinking when it came to sexual assault, there was something amiss,” she said in an interview in the lower lobby of the Golden Theatre on West 45th Street, where “Prima Facie” had its official opening last week. “And I thought: The defense is always, ‘There was consent. I believe there was consent.’ Right. So what — they just have to believe it’s there? And you can do anything you like?”

Miller has written several plays, but “Prima Facie,” which premiered in Sydney in 2019, has struck a particularly resonant chord. “It’s just been translated into nearly 30 languages,” she recounted. “It’s been done in China. It’s being done in Japan. It’s astonishing. Turkey! A place where they said, ‘We really have to have this on.’

“And the great thing for me that’s happened: thousands and thousands of messages from women telling me their story, which you know, like sometimes it’s hard to read them. I just think, ‘How do you go out in the world and think the world is a safe place?’”

Tessa’s background was changed for “Prima Facie” in London, where the character’s origins became Liverpool — the same as Comer’s. “She was also present in the rehearsal process,” Comer said of Miller. “I don’t know if that is necessarily usual, but she made sure she was there I think because everything was very new to me, and she wanted me to feel like I was supported.”

Comer and her director got the production up on its feet simply by getting up on their own.

“What we didn’t do is stand around and talk about a lot. We just got up and we did it,” said Martin, describing Comer as intuitively gifted and eager to learn. “She’s very honest about what she knows and doesn’t know. She will stand up for things that she thinks are important. But she’s always collaborative.”

Comer — who flew back to London earlier this month to receive the Olivier Award, the West End’s equivalent of a Tony, for her performance as Tessa — said she approached the experience with a student’s thirst for knowledge. “I knew when I was going into this, I was like, ‘I am going to grow so much,’” she said. “I don’t know how, but I know that this is going to stretch me in a way that I’ve never been challenged before.”

So unaccustomed was she to the ways of the stage that Martin had to walk her through the ritual of acknowledging the audience’s applause.

“I said, ‘Now we are going to do the bows,’ and she came up to me and she said, ‘I didn’t know — How do we do that?’” Martin recalled. “I was like, ‘What do you mean?’ And I just took her hand and we stood up there and we bowed together.”

Watching Comer in “Killing Eve” and, in a very different vein, her performance in the 2021 BBC film “Help” about caregivers in Liverpool, you’re jarred by the idea of the actress needing instruction on how to perform a curtain call. Especially as she confesses to having been an extrovert all her life.

Miller’s play so called out to her that she carved out time for “Prima Facie,” even though she had to say no to big film projects such as Ridley Scott’s “Napoleon.” “It was always very clear that the play was what was right for me,” she said. “And I think there were a few people who thought I was insane.”

She went with her gut, though, and perhaps the validation is the audience’s nightly response. “From a soul perspective and what I actually believe in, it was clear,” she said of the decision to pivot to the stage — and to Tessa. “It’s like, no, I know this, I feel it in my body.”

Comer sometimes feels the impact on the street, too — the ubiquity of Tessa’s tragedy.

“This woman walked past me,” she recalled, “and then she came back around the corner. And she said, ‘I’ve seen the play, and you know, I really enjoyed it, it was incredible. Thank you so much.’ And there was something in the way that she looked at me. I just held her gaze. And there was like an acknowledgment. You know, like she wasn’t saying anything, but she was saying everything.”

“I had an amazing vocal coach, and I did a couple of movement classes just to become more aware of my body, because I realized, having done a lot of television and film so close up, you’re not always having to be aware of how your body is emoting or projecting energy,” Comer said. “And I suddenly realized, ‘Oh, hang on a minute, like I have to use from the tip of my head to the tip of my toes!’”

Comer, 30, and I spoke recently in a chic dining spot in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. She was refreshingly without pretense: I showed up 15 minutes early for the interview. So did she. It was not a fake-chummy encounter, but rather a straightforward chat about the task at hand. When the check came, I offered to pay. She said, “Let’s split it.” So we did.

Posted by admin on April 10, 2023

The actress often plays women defined by their mastery. In “Prima Facie,” she takes on her toughest role yet: a lawyer who defends men accused of sexual assault.
When the actress Jodie Comer first read the description of Villanelle—the assassin and antihero of the spy series “Killing Eve”—she responded with dismay: “How naked is she going to be?” She imagined catsuits and stiletto heels. Instead, she found herself in brocade Dries Van Noten suits and custom-dyed Chloé—a dandy psychopath, a huntress, who never sacrifices style for efficiency when dispatching her victims. She strangles one with a necktie, kills another with poisoned perfume, and sparks a very understandable erotic fixation in the M.I.6 agent (Sandra Oh) on her heels. Even as the script sagged in later seasons, Comer’s command remained absolute. She garnered a small shelf of awards and handled success with a total lack of pretense. “Our show doesn’t have a huge message to the world,” she said with cheerful bluntness. “That’s probably why people enjoy it so much.”

Comer has followed “Killing Eve” with “Prima Facie,” a one-woman show that is all message—and which features her most revealing role to date. Comer plays Tessa, a scrappy barrister who excels at defending clients accused of sexual assault, and who finds her faith in the law unravelling after being raped by a colleague. The script was written by Suzie Miller, an Australian playwright and former barrister, who felt that the system was rigged against victims of sexual violence. For almost two hours, Comer devours the stage, scarcely seeming to breathe. She brings to life every member of the court, as well as the innate kitsch of a trial and its rituals. She leaps on tables, zips through costume changes in front of us, and hauls around furniture to create her own makeshift sets: a pub, a police station, a room of horror. Following a sold-out, award-winning run in London, the play opens on Broadway this month.

On a recent Saturday, I met Comer at the Whitney Museum. Rain all morning. Outside, I watched a pigeon shake itself out like a dog. Comer, who had just celebrated her thirtieth birthday, arrived wearing a floor-skimming, belted black coat and trainers, hair tucked under a slouchy hat, a hotel umbrella under her arm. She was bluff, friendly, determined to enjoy the professional obligation. “Eight floors?” she said, looking at the museum map. “Impressive.” Waiting for the elevator, she let her hip bump gently into mine.

Where do we begin? I asked. What does she like to look at?

“People,” she said. “Women or their bodies.”

For two hours, Comer and I admired the women of the Whitney. Gaston Lachaise’s towering bronze nude. A portrait of the museum’s founder, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, reclining on a sofa in a blue blazer and sea-green trousers. Look, Comer said, calling me back to the nude. “Her foot.” The huge body was perched on improbably small, arched feet—all that power, banked in the rounded hips and thighs, suddenly so precarious. Later, again: look. “That color.” An Edward Hopper painting of a woman in a red dress and red hat. She was lovely, wary, curiously proportioned, her breasts painfully lopsided. “Well,” Comer said, “Y’know, sometimes that happens.” Then she showed me what I had missed: “Her arm is squashing that one.”

Comer is an avid, beady noticer, with a preternatural ability to block out the fact that she herself is being noticed, almost constantly. Fans approached in various states of disarray. One was so overcome that he could sustain only moist eye contact with me, thanking me effusively for my work. (I was gracious.) Comer handled tears and requests for photographs with a kindly reserve, effortlessly picking up the thread of our conversation. She was still thinking about an Alice Neel retrospective that she had seen, in London, that felt like a vast family album. Neel called herself the collector of souls. Comer loved her way of painting hands as elongated and distinct—so like her own—and as “always doing something.” And the unfinished edges! “You could always see where she started,” Comer said. Those unpainted corners, she went on, seemed to tell us, “This is how I got here.”

See that foot, that blue, those busy hands. These are, perhaps, Comer’s own traces, her own admissions of how she gets there. More than once she told me that she is untrained—no acting school, no Stanislavski technique. Since she began working, as a teen-ager, she has found her way instinctively to her characters, through their bodies and through her own. She tries to locate their source, their “source energy.” For cerebral Villanelle, the source was in the head, the brow. For preening, strutting Tessa, it’s all in the chest. Comer showed me, squaring her shoulders and raising her chin. I watched Tessa arrive.

That kind of arrogance can be delicious in a woman, Comer said, over tea in the museum café. (“That’s a good tea bag,” she added. Tea in America has been an abiding disappointment.) If Neel regarded herself as a collector of souls, Comer looks at the gallery of women she’s played—Villanelle, Tessa, Marguerite in Ridley Scott’s “The Last Duel”—as visitations, all come to teach her something. With Tessa, however, there is something cuttingly personal. “I know where she’s from,” Comer said. “What she’s had to do to get where she is.”

In the rehearsal room of “Prima Facie” hangs another wall of images, mostly of women and girls. They are the photographs Comer has collected to conjure Tessa. In one, a woman draws a mustache on herself—Tessa going to court, Comer explained, “thinking of what she has to become.” A blank-eyed woman in an embrace—Tessa after the assault. There are photographs of a man’s wrist encircled by a heavy watch, photographs of Liverpool in the nineteen-nineties, street kids mugging for the camera. Tessa has scrabbled out of a loving, brawling world, catapulting herself to Cambridge to become a star barrister. Her mother, she tells us, cleans offices like the one she works in. Her vigilance—her awareness of being scrutinized, assessed, dismissed—has become a kind of superpower, an acute understanding of judgment and persuasion. She is a connoisseur of contempt, a human barometer of doubt—not that she seems to possess any herself. The law is blood sport for her, but behind it is righteous pride. “Prosecutors, you work with the police. You say you are fighting for justice. You are fighting for jail time,” she says. “It’s our job to find holes in the case, to protect society.”

At the center of the wall is a photograph of Comer as a girl—a large cast on her leg, grinning as she sails down a slide. (“I peaked,” she said, wryly.) To think about Tessa at her freest, Comer gave her the gift of her own childhood. The actress’s “source energy” seems to arise from this place—the Liverpool suburb of Childwall, where her mother is a transport worker and her father is a physical therapist for the Everton Football Club. The parish priest still sends letters to Comer’s family, reflecting on each of her roles. (On Villanelle, he’s spoken “about the depths he feels I would have to go to in order [to] understand why a person would be like this,” Comer said.) She spent much of the pandemic back home, playing badminton with her brother over the washing line. “We were like kids again, having to knock at the neighbor’s door, like, ‘Can you throw the ball back over?’ ”

One of Comer’s first proper roles came at twelve, for a monologue at a school talent show. She played a child who had lost her father in the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy: a stampede, during a Liverpool football match, that killed more than ninety people. When her name was called, Comer found herself already in tears; the emotion was bewilderingly easy to access. She had something powerful inside her, her drama teacher said, and she needed to learn to harness it. (In “Killing Eve,” Villanelle’s former handler gives her a strikingly similar speech.) Bit parts followed, in radio plays and “Law & Order: UK.” Comer worked the weekend-morning shifts at Tesco, “hungover 99.9 per cent of the time.” In lieu of formal training, she cribbed Villanelle’s facial expressions from her mother, and developed a facility with accents by imitating advertisements with her father. She remembers his face, awed and proud, the first time he saw her perform. “I’m always chasing” that face “in some way,” she said.

Comer invokes her family with an insistence that begins to make sense when one realizes how often her background was seen as a liability. Although she worked steadily, there were fallow periods. Casting directors were incredulous at her Northern accent. Theatre was impossible to break into; she was not educated enough, she was told, not trained. When she started out, she wanted to be Keira Knightley, to wallow in big frocks and yearning. Instead, she has become known for characters marked by their mastery—a mastery acquired in private, at cost, and intended as a kind of armor. Onstage, when Tessa speaks, in her strong Scouse accent, of being patronized, of desperately counting on her vigilance and nice manners, on her brilliance and ambition to prize open the doors so intent on keeping her out, Comer’s fury is electrifying.


The London dress run of “Prima Facie” was plagued with problems. At one point, when Tessa changes clothes onstage, Comer got her head stuck in a shirt. But the previews indicated something special at work. In the last fifteen minutes of the play, Tessa speaks directly to the audience. A woman in the front began to cry, making deep guttural noises. “It was like little lights going off all over the theatre,” Comer recalled. “It was spreading. It was as if people in the audience were giving each other unspoken permission to feel.”

Of course, it is Tessa who grants the permission. Standing at the front of the stage, she points into the audience: “I see all the women who came before me, all the women who will come after.” Her bluster is gone. She is no longer the star defense lawyer but the victim, humiliated by taking the stand and withstanding the very interrogation techniques that she once deployed with pride: the suggestion of inconsistencies in memory, of ulterior motives influencing the rape accusation. “In all of my professional life, I have participated in a system that has done this to women, and now I know it is not right,” she says. “If the women’s experience of rape is not as the court would like it to be, then we conclude she is prone to exaggeration.”

The play wavers at the end, unsure where to send the shattered Tessa. Lines curdle into cliché: “I am broken, too, but I’m still here, and I will not be silenced”; “Somewhere, somehow, something has to change.” But Comer always seems to shine when scripts struggle—screenwriters from Phoebe Waller-Bridge to Matt Damon praise how she sees the character beyond the page. Here, she does something interesting. She does not fight the clichés but leans into them, lets us feel Tessa reach for them, choose them—what else can she say? As she speaks, her hands hang at her sides, grasping at air. She seems shorn of language, of certainty, suddenly doubting everything but herself.

Comer began hearing from women almost immediately: women who had recognized something in their past, who were on the verge of leaving the law but now saw a reason to persist. The dynamic is woven into the action of the play—the way the house lights come on at the end, enabling the audience to see one another, to see themselves, and to see Tessa, who draws near and says, “There was a time, not so long ago, when courts like this did not ‘see’ nonconsensual sex in marriage as rape, did not ‘see’ that battered women fight back in a manner distinct from the way men fight.” How, she asks, can we unsee what we now know?

Recently, watching a recording of the play, I found those lines nagging at me. I called Comer. Broadway rehearsals had begun, and her voice was different—slower, assured. She was struck by how rare it is for an actor to return to familiar material, to infuse it with what they now know. I asked her what Tessa had allowed her to see. I recalled how, when she concentrates, she closes her eyes and taps between her brows. She seemed to be doing that now. She responded, “I have nothing to prove.”



Posted by admin on April 06, 2023

Jodie was on the Late Late Show, photos of her arriving & screencaps of her Interview have been added, enjoy!

Posted by admin on April 04, 2023

Jodie Comer became a household name after starring in Killing Eve, scooping multiple awards—including an Emmy and a BAFTA—for her portrayal of Villanelle in the series. At the Olivier Awards on Sunday night, the star added another statue to her trophy cupboard, picking up the Best Actress gong for her West End debut as a conflicted young barrister, Tessa, in Prima Facie.


“This was a really significant moment in time for me, and I wanted a dress that would make the occasion all the more memorable,” says Comer who, with the help of her stylist Elizabeth Saltzman, picked a sculptural poly faille dress for what would become her winning night, from Alexander McQueen’s most recent fall 2023 collection.

The actor serendipitously came across a quote once said by the house’s late founder, Lee Alexander McQueen, on Instagram as she was deciding what to wear for the ceremony. McQueen once said he designed clothes because he didn’t want women to look “all innocent and naïve”. “I don’t like women to be taken advantage of,” the designer said. “I don’t like men whistling at women in the street. I think they deserve more respect… I know what misogyny is… I want people to be afraid of the women I dress.”

Comer, whose character in Prima Facie specializes in defending men accused of sexual assault, and then herself becomes a victim of assault, was instantly struck by the quote, she says. “It really resonated with me and it felt so appropriate given Prima Facie’s themes and messaging. It also felt like a little sign from the universe that McQueen was the perfect choice for my first Olivier Awards,” asserts the actor.

Saltzman, who has worked with the former British Vogue cover star since her Killing Eve days, echoes her sentiment: “McQueen has always been a brand that embraces a strong confident woman,” she tells Vogue, adding: “When anyone slips into a McQueen, you feel instantly empowered.” The moment she saw Sarah Burton’s latest collection, shown at Paris Fashion Week in March, she fell in love with Look 22, captivated by its striking red shade—a trending color to emerge on the recent red carpets and runways—and cascading ruffles.

The deconstructed trench silhouette taps into the “anatomy of tailoring” theme that Burton explored this season, which the creative director said was inspired by the beginnings of McQueen on Savile Row. “It was a progression, which starts very kind of straight and structured. And then it begins to flash and twist and turn upside down,” Burton explained. “It’s like how you begin with a garment—you have to know that there’s a way to construct it, the bones of it, before you can dissect it and subvert it.”

Posted by admin on February 23, 2023


Jodie Comer stars this spring in Prima Facie, which begins previews at the John Golden Theatre on April 11. Valentino shirt. Gucci pants. The Row loafers. Cartier watch. Fashion Editor: Max Ortega.Photographed by Norman Jean Roy, Vogue, March 2023.

Between 2018 and 2022, Jodie Comer became a star with her virtuoso performance as the gorgeous, gleefully sociopathic assassin Villanelle on the BBC America series Killing Eve, winning a BAFTA and an Emmy and causing everyone to freak out about how great she was. But what she’d always wanted to do was act on the stage. As a 12-year-old in Liverpool, she won first prize at a local drama festival for a monologue about the 1989 Hills­borough Stadium disaster, and at 17 she appeared in a play called The Price of Everything at a theater-in-the-round in Scarborough, North Yorkshire. Still, despite continuing to audition for theatrical roles while she worked in TV and film throughout her teens and 20s, the stage remained elusive. “A lot of the feedback was great,” Comer tells me over tea in New York in her unvarnished Scouse accent. (She is apartment shopping in the city when we meet, a big step after living at home with her parents and younger brother for much of the pandemic.) “But one thing that was resounding was, like, ‘She hasn’t been to drama school and this is too big a task for someone who isn’t classically trained.’ I used to feel quite defeated by that.”

Not one to take “maybe” for an answer, the 29-year-old made her professional stage debut last year with Prima Facie, a stunning one-woman piece by Australian playwright Suzie Miller. In it, Comer gave a critically acclaimed, Evening Standard Award–winning performance as Tessa Ensler (Miller’s nod to The Vagina Monologues author Eve Ensler, now known as V), a razor-sharp young defense lawyer whose facility in the courtroom—especially in cases dealing with sexual assault—becomes effectively meaningless when she must take the stand herself after being raped. Alienated and traumatized, she is quickly disabused of the notion that the legal games she once loved to play had anything to do with seeking justice. “She knows that she’s fiercely intelligent, and she owns that,” Comer says of Tessa, who is all swaggering bravado when the play begins. “She takes joy in her great power. And, of course, that makes the fall—when she’s forced to face everything from the other side—even harder.”

Prima Facie is now headed from the West End to Broadway’s John Golden Theatre, where New York audiences will get to discover in Comer what Justin Martin, the show’s director (The Jungle), saw from the start. “Fundamentally, she’s a stage animal,” he says. “She has an incredible sense of humor and an emotional rawness. She’s very, very honest and absolutely fearless. And all of that bleeds into her performance and the choices that she makes onstage. It’s a natural home for her.”

For Miller’s part, she was so persuaded by what she’d seen in Killing Eve that she didn’t initially realize Comer was English. When her name first came up, “I said, ‘Why would we cast a Russian actor?’ ” the playwright remembers with a laugh. Discovering that Comer shared the working-class background Miller had written for Tessa—who has learned to take advantage of being underestimated—moved her to the top of the list.

As research, Comer and the creative team got to spend time at the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales—more commonly known as the Old Bailey—and observe London barristers at work. (After attending law school at the University of New South Wales, Miller practiced as a human rights and criminal defense lawyer until 2010, when she shifted to playwriting full-time.) “It very much felt like theater,” Comer recalls. “Everyone was playing their role, everyone knew their lines, everyone knew when to come in and when not to come in. It felt presentational in that way, like acting. But the stakes were so incredibly high.” When I suggest that Tessa querying a witness might not be a far throw from Villanelle toying with a victim before swooping in for the kill, Comer says, “Absolutely. She’s like a bird with its prey. She’s having so much fun—playing around with him, making it painful. She’s like, This guy is a fucking idiot, and he has no clue what’s about to come.”

Yet the minds behind Prima Facie also recognize the responsibility they have, staging a 100-minute play about the many ways that a legal system devised by men can fail survivors of sexual violence. “It just felt like we would not be doing our job if we didn’t, as people left the theater, give them some way to deal with what they’ve experienced and hopefully effect some change,” says producer James Bierman. So, the production formed a partnership with Everyone’s Invited, a digital platform where survivors can anonymously share their stories, as well as the Schools Consent Project, a charity devoted to educating teenagers about consent and sexual assault. (Based in the UK, it is due to begin operations Stateside this spring.) “If you want to watch Prima, and you like what Prima stands for, then you have to engage with this, because the two things are absolutely linked,” Bierman adds. “The play doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It exists in a world where Tessa is all too real.”

The response to the play has already been overwhelming; in Australia, where Prima Facie premiered in 2019, and again in England, “we just got so many messages from women,” Miller says. “Handwritten letters dropped off at the stage door, email after email, DMs…I mean, I’ve gotten hundreds a day of women saying, ‘This is what happened to me.’ ” In the long shadow of the #MeToo movement, she finds that now more than ever, “audiences are hungry to have conversations about systems that govern; systems around them that they don’t think are innately fair.” Happily, this isn’t just a show that talks—it’s one that absolutely roars.

Posted by admin on April 07, 2022

Evening Standard-

As Killing Eve reaches its finale, shape-shifting star Jodie Comer talks to Rosamund Dean about how her gritty West End debut took priority over Ridley Scott’s next epic

Last month, Jodie Comer was in a studio to record her last bits of dialogue for the final ever episode of Killing Eve. ‘It was surreal,’ she says, eyes wide. ‘They had this sofa in the centre of the screen, so I sat there and asked them to play me the final moments. I was like… wow.’

We’re meeting for breakfast in a Mayfair members’ club the day before her 29th birthday. Comer is not having a party though. Last weekend she had a family dinner in Liverpool (the tasting menu at Röski, which she recommends as ‘it lasts about three hours so you really have time to catch up’) and, on the day, she is going to see Small Island at the National Theatre with a friend. As she tucks in to overnight oats and an espresso, I dig for spoilers of the Killing Eve finale. Many are hoping Eve and Villanelle will get together and go off into the sunset. ‘Yeah, I mean…’ she laughs, with a raised eyebrow.

But then again, the show is literally called Killing Eve, which doesn’t bode well for Eve. ‘Well, you’d think that, but is it ‘Killing’ Eve? Or is it Killing ‘Eve’?’ she asks, mysteriously. ‘Eve’s changed so much, especially in this series. I was like whoa, Sandra!’

Villanelle is, of course, Russian. Which, in series one, felt kind of retro Cold War but now feels much darker. Continuing to live our normal lives — in my case, chatting to an actor — with pictures of Ukrainian devastation on every front page is a strange business. ‘Everything else is so insignificant,’ says Comer. ‘The world right now is extremely sinister. Russian people are being fed so much misinformation. It’s terrifying when you realise there are people in power who have the ability to do that, and choose to do that. And the number of people who are none the wiser.’

The show won Comer an Emmy and a Bafta, and launched her in Hollywood. Last year she starred in Free Guy with Ryan Reynolds and The Last Duel with Matt Damon and Adam Driver. But her new role is more low-key: Prima Facie is a one-woman play about a barrister who defends rapists, before becoming a victim herself. She pulled out of Ridley Scott’s new film, Napoleon, to do it (that role will now be played by Vanessa Kirby).

‘That decision was actually taken out of my hands,’ she admits. ‘The scheduling kept changing, and I was always committed to the play. So it came to a point where it was impossible to do both.’ It’s safe to assume that one of those jobs is significantly better paid than the other, and she could have pulled out of the play to take the money.

‘Ha! Yeah,’ she laughs, ‘but I never got into this for the pay cheque. I’m going to grow so much from this experience. Sometimes opportunities present themselves and you’re like, if I say no, it will be purely out of fear. If I said no to this because I was scared and then they announced another actress, I’d want to punch myself in the face.’

Comer threw herself into research, speaking to barristers and a Rasso (rape and serious sexual offences) officer. ‘Because Napoleon fell through, I’ve had this time to speak to people who have been so open and honest, which has been amazing,’ she says. ‘They care so much about what they’re doing, but it’s very evident that the system doesn’t work for women. If a woman reports being raped, it’s her who’s on trial. She’s given this burden of responsibility to prove what happened.’

Thirty tickets at each performance will be available at a ‘pay what you can’ price, something Comer feels strongly about, telling me ‘theatre shouldn’t be this exclusive club. That’s so wrong.’ She is aware of the privilege that gave many in her industry a leg-up, and talks of the twist of fate that introduced her to Stephen Graham. They met on 2012’s Liverpool-set drama Good Cop, and he introduced her to his agent. Comer and Graham worked together again last year on Help, a Channel 4 drama set in a care home during the first lockdown, and a rare outing for her real (Scouse) accent. ‘I’d never done a project like that before, which is political and really raw because many people were still living through it,’ she says. ‘We really felt the weight of how important it was.’

It is testament to her transformative ability that playing a Liverpudlian care worker doesn’t feel at odds with the Comer we see on the red carpet or in a fashion shoot like the one on the cover of this magazine. ‘I sent over a plethora of young Meryl Streep images,’ she laughs of the mood board for this shoot. ‘They were pared back, very simple, which I really enjoyed. It’s important to me now to feel comfortable. I said to my stylist, Elizabeth [Saltzman, who also works with Gwyneth Paltrow], as we moved out of lockdown: it’s great to wear fabulous clothes that you wouldn’t usually wear, but actually I want to be comfortable and look back on those moments and see that.’

Today she’s wearing workout clothes — a black T-shirt and leggings — because ‘my iron’s broke and everything else is scrunched up’. Comer’s style revelation wasn’t the only change of the past couple of years. ‘We were all forced to pause and evaluate what’s really meaningful to us,’ she says. ‘I realised I love being at home and enjoy simpler things. Like having my close friends, not feeling the need to be certain places and please certain people. I grew up a lot. I really stepped into myself. I’ve got calmer and more secure in who I am. I mean,’ she adds hastily, ‘I’ve by no means got it all sussed out. That’s a lifelong thing.’

Comer and her family are tight. As we talk, she plays with a large heart-shaped Loquet locket; a gift from her mum, Donna. ‘It has amethyst in it, and a little moon charm. I have a habit of fiddling with it when I’m nervous.’ She has said in the past that she would like to live at home in Liverpool with Donna and her dad, Jimmy, until she is ‘old and grey’. But now she has a place in London, although who she lives with is unclear because she never talks about that side of her life.

‘It’s increasingly important to manage those things,’ she says carefully. ‘So much is out of your control so the parts of your life that you can control become really sacred.’ I’m impressed that they avoid ever being papped. ‘If I go to a party, I want to be in my mate’s living room listening to Fall Out Boy on a playlist of early 2000s hits,’ she says. ‘That’s where I’m letting my hair down, not at an event where I’m seen leaving. That terrifies me.’

As she approaches her 30s, she has also learned to care less about what other people think. No small feat in her job, where you are relentlessly presented with other people’s opinions. ‘I’ve got a different outlook on what success is,’ she explains. ‘Now it comes down to how I feel when I come home from a day’s work. If I feel proud of myself. I’m much better at not putting that on the opinions of others, because I did for a really long time.’

Was there a turning point? ‘You just become aware of your habits…. I was seeking a lot of approval and my happiness was dependent on it, then I realised how shit that made me feel.’ Is it things like stepping back from social media and not reading reviews? ‘Yeah. If I’m doing a job for me then, whatever the reaction may be, I can say, okay that’s unfortunate, however I gained X, Y and Z from this.’ (Despite the Scouse accent, she says ‘zee’ rather than ‘zed’.) Not that Comer has experienced many bad reviews. Even mixed reviews of the last season of Killing Eve fell over themselves to say that she remained amazing. There was a brief attempt to ‘cancel’ her on social media, when it was rumoured her boyfriend was a Republican. Regardless of her boyfriend’s political views, I don’t think anyone — particularly a person involved in projects such as Help and Prima Facie — should be bullied into proving their liberal credentials.

I ask the name of her favourite WhatsApp group and she replies instantly: ‘Me and my best mates from school are all over the place, so it’s called Hoes in Different Area Codes.’ She laughs uproariously. ‘It’s Katarina [Johnson-Thompson], she’s an Olympic athlete so she’s always away training. My friend Charlotte is an artist, she lives in Spain. Then my other friends are in Liverpool. We managed to get together for a weekend last year and it was amazing. Friends are such medicine. The person that you can fall into being when you’re in their company is just so pure. I mean, the title of our WhatsApp group isn’t pure!’

When Comer talks about her friends and family, she glows with warmth. Perhaps this solid background is the secret to her success because she says the energy you bring to an audition is vital. She doesn’t have to audition much these days, but she remembers the anxiety of her early career, when she had been on Holby City and Waterloo Road but wasn’t continuously working so got a job in Tesco. ‘There were a couple years where I’d done acting jobs, but also I needed money to go out at the weekend with my friends,’ she smiles. ‘I was on the tills on the Saturday/Sunday shift, so was hungover 99.9 per cent of the time.’

I sympathise, having worked on a checkout at the same age, but in Waitrose. ‘Oh, you’re so fancy!’ Her face lights up again. ‘I was trying to explain Waitrose to my boyfriend the other day. He said, “Is that like Whole Foods?” I told him it’s not as fancy as Whole Foods, but it’s fancy.’ It’s fancier than Tesco, but not as fancy as M&S? ‘I love an M&S,’ she sighs dreamily. ‘One thing that I find deeply satisfying is doing a good food shop.’

And this is the real Jodie Comer: texting her mates, hanging out with her boyfriend, doing a big food shop and, today, dealing with a broken iron. ‘I called my mum and she said it’s the fuse, so I’m going fuse shopping now,’ she laughs. ‘So rock ’n’ roll.’

The final season of ‘Killing Eve’ is on BBC iPlayer now. ‘Prima Facie’ is at the Harold Pinter Theatre from 15 Apr to 18 Jun (

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 18, 2022

Jodie Comer_Sandra Oh-FTR

One of TV’s hottest shows began in a tiny, sparsely decorated office in Burbank, Calif. That’s where Killing Eve co-stars-to-be Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer met for the first time.

“I remember it exactly!” Oh says of the their initial pairing in 2017. “The room was completely empty and the size of a small child’s bedroom. [Comer] came in with a wheeled suitcase looking a little lost. I said, ‘Oh, you must be Jodie!’”

Oh had already signed on to the series, and now Comer, a young Brit who had just arrived in L.A. from Barcelona, was gearing up to try out. The two huddled together in front of a nearby laptop, video-conferenced with the London-based producers and read a few key scenes together.

Comer got the job two weeks later. “Sandra was so warm and generous,” she recalls. “I came away feeling like I [had done] this incredible acting workshop. Like, what we had together was so great.” Or as Oh adds, “There was chemistry.”



That connection between the two stars helped make Killing Eve a compulsively watchable, Emmy-winning international smash. A cat-and-mouse tour de force, the series chronicles a British intelligence officer, Eve Polastri (Oh), and her pursuit of a psychopathic Russian assassin who goes by the name Villanelle (Comer). They ultimately develop a dangerous mutual obsession, and by the end of season three they vow to go their separate ways.

“It’s really a portrait of two women trying to be whole,” Oh says. “And along the way they discover that trying to be whole has something to do with each other.”

For Killing Eve’s fourth and final season (premiering Feb. 27 on BBC America and AMC+ and the next night on AMC), the characters take charge of their lives as they plot to defeat a shady organization (“The Twelve”) spreading chaos. “Eve has actively changed,” Oh says. “She’s ready and willing to go outside the system she’s depended on to defeat the Twelve.”

As for her nemesis, Comer says that Villanelle “has been told she’s a monster, and she’s desperate to prove people wrong. She goes to church, and she’s determined to be good.” But, she adds, “You probably know how that will end.”

Related: Killing Eve Season 4 Finally Has a Trailer! Plus, Everything We Know About the Final Season

An Electric Experience

Oh and Comer with Killing Eve’s Fiona Shaw (MI6 operative Carolyn Martens) and Kim Bodnia (Villanelle’s handler Konstantin Vasiliev) Claire Rothstein/BBCA

Oh and Comer with Killing Eve’s Fiona Shaw (MI6 operative Carolyn Martens) and Kim Bodnia (Villanelle’s handler Konstantin Vasiliev) (Claire Rothstein/BBCA)

Nearly five years after their initial meeting, the two are back on video screens for Zoom interviews with Parade. Oh, 50, is enjoying a sunny winter afternoon in Los Angeles; Comer, 28, checks in from her home in London where, she groans, “it gets pitch-black at, like, 4:45 p.m.” The two haven’t seen each other since the show’s final episode wrapped in November. “It was always enjoyable for us,” Comer says. “And for the characters, being together created an electricity.”

Comer felt the surge of current as soon as she read that very first episode. At the time, she was just 23 years old and had already appeared on several British TV series. “I couldn’t put the script down,” she says. “It made me laugh and really surprised me. It was weird in a wonderful way, and there was something fresh that people hadn’t seen before. I loved that Villanelle was so unapologetic about who she was.”

A TV mainstay since 1996, Oh adds that when the show premiered in the spring of 2018 at the height of the #TimesUp movement, “there was an opening in the industry for stories about women,” she says. “It was a great time for us.” Indeed, the series featured a top-down female perspective, as different females were running the show behind the scenes—including Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the creator and star of another award-winning hit series, Fleabag, and Emerald Fennell, who would go on to write and direct the Oscar-winning movie Promising Young Woman.

Eve took off in a hurry, with critics and fans flocking to catch its dynamite spin on a traditionally alpha-male genre. Ratings grew with every episode, which no television series had achieved in more than a decade. Comer won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2019; Oh was Emmy-nominated and in 2019 hosted Saturday Night Live—only the third Asian woman to do so in its storied history—and made history as the first Asian person to host the Golden Globes (with Andy Samberg). Oh won a Best Actress Golden Globe for Killing Eve that same year (as well as a SAG Award for Female Actor in a Drama Series).

For Killing Eve’s final episodes, they filmed in London, Berlin and Spain. “We were very aware we were shooting the final season and approached it with a lot of care and openheartedness,” Oh says. “And I have to say, part of the process was me trying to let it go.”

Comer points to a moment when she saw Oh as Eve for one of the final times. “I became so overcome. Like, I can’t believe all the incredible people we’ve met and all the experiences we’ve gone on together over these five years. It was really moving.”

Similar to their characters, Oh and Comer both blossomed into their careers as outsiders. Oh is the middle child of a biochemist mom and businessman dad who emigrated from South Korea to the United States to Ottawa, Canada, in the 1960s. Academia, not acting, runs in her family. “Asking why I was picked to do this is a very spiritual question,” says Oh. “From the very beginning, I was very lucky to be born knowing what I wanted to do and have spent my life honing my craft.”

She attended the National Theatre School in Canada, then got her first break locally in 1993 when she was cast in the Canadian TV movie The Diary of Evelyn Lau (playing a former teen prostitute). Two years later, just before her 24th birthday, she moved to Los Angeles to appear in an independent film. The actress says that her good fortune soon struck again when she landed a part in Arliss, an HBO comedy series about a sports agent. It aired for seven seasons through 2002. “I want to say that I had a typical L.A. experience except that it wasn’t, because it wasn’t that difficult for me,” she says.

Acting gigs might have come easy, but life in the spotlight turned out to be considerably tougher. First Oh had a standout turn as a sommelier in the 2004 Oscar-winning wine-country comedy Sideways (directed by her then-husband, Alexander Payne). Less than six months later, she made her debut on a sudsy medical drama called Grey’s Anatomy. Among an ensemble of wide-eyed doctors, her character of surgical intern Cristina Yang, who works her way up to chief medical officer and director of cardiothoracic surgery, was the confident and no-nonsense voice of reason. The performance led to five Emmy nominations and, at the show’s height, more than 20 million people watched her every Thursday night.

It was a rush unlike anything she’d felt before. “It’s very challenging to describe to people the immense change that happens when one becomes famous,” the naturally private Oh says. “You have to say goodbye to something that you used to know, and it’s very emotional.” Plus, the definition of success takes on new meaning. “It’s one thing to be a successful actor, and it’s another thing to be on a hit TV show. I didn’t want to be a part of that. The loss of anonymity as a person and as an actor has consequences. For me, it became isolating.” She left Grey’s Anatomy in 2014 and “it’s an unfortunate no” when asked about a potential return. That even goes for a one-off cameo in the very last episode.

As Oh was making her TV debut in the ’90s, Comer had just been born. Like her co-star, the Liverpool, England, native was destined to perform. “I was so in tune with my emotions at a very young age,” she says. “I was always doing impressions at home and was a very confident and dramatic child.”

She went to a theater school down the road from her house that offered instruction in singing, dancing and acting. One day, her drama teacher encouraged to try out for the Liverpool Theatre Festival. “She found a monologue for me, and I stood on the stage and did it,” she says. That same teacher also tipped her off that a local playwright was searching for a girl to play the lead in a BBC radio play. “She drove me to the audition, and I got it!” Comer says. She was 12.

The actress jokes that her parents, Donna and Jimmy, wanted to pop champagne every time she snared a role early on in her career (including a popular daytime drama in the U.K. called The Royal Today). These days, though, “they’re like, ‘Oh, that’s great, babe.’ They’re used to it!”

Her past year in Hollywood has been especially amazing: She starred opposite Ryan Reynolds in the summer blockbuster Free Guy (for which she used an American accent to play a video game coder), and she was the female lead in the prestigious Ridley Scott–directed sword-fight drama The Last Duel with Matt DamonBen Affleck and Adam Driver. “Doing Free Guy put me in a position where I could step on to the set of The Last Duel and feel like I was meant to be there,” she says. “My insecurity of doing film acting had fizzled out by that point.”

But she insists, she still doesn’t feel as if she’s made it to the big time. “I don’t think the feeling of ‘This will be my last job’ ever goes away,” she says. “There’s a constant fear, which I don’t think is a bad thing because it means you’re stepping out of your comfort zone in a new way. You never want to feel too comfortable.”

From Killing to Chilling

So what now? Oh has been trying animated voice work and reports there’s no word yet on a second season of The Chair, the Netflix dramedy in which she plays the beleaguered head of the English department of a fictional Northeastern university. Comer is readying to do the one-woman play Prima Facie, about a criminal barrister, in London’s West End. Both actresses, however, insist that their long-term goal is to go from Killing to chilling.

“This is something I’ve asked Sandra about, to be honest,” says Comer, who dates American lacrosse player James Burke. “Like, I just wanted to know how she navigates her personal life and is present for things when you’re being called away for work. How do you balance that?” Oh says when she turned 50 last July, she took a long look at her aspirations: “When you’re a young actress, your big goal is to have three auditions a week. But then there comes a time in your life when you just want to slow down and see your friends. My priorities have shifted.”

And some of that down time includes reflecting on the legacy of their pioneering show. “It’s the kind of show with a certain quirk that you could never put in a box,” Comer says. “That’s why fans are so invested and passionate and have their own theories about how it will end. I hope they’re satisfied.”

Related: Learn All About Sandra Oh’s Fantastic Role in the Academic Comedy The Chair

Oh and Comer’s Favorite Things


Oh: Casablanca

Comer: Billy Elliot

TV Show to Binge

Oh: “The Wire. It’s so magnificent and I feel smarter watching it.”

Comer: “In My Skin, which is a phenomenal Welsh BBC drama.”

Book on the Nightstand

Oh: “I’m looking at an old copy of Harper’s. I’m a magazine person.”

Comer: “The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How It’s Broken. It’s prep for my play.”

Song to Belt Out in the Car

Oh: “Chandelier” by Sia

Comer: “That Don’t Impress Me Much” by Shania Twain

Food Always in Your Pantry

Oh: “Rice.”

Comer: “Eggs. We don’t put eggs in the fridge in England. That’s an American thing.”

Vacation Spot

Oh: Barcelona

Comer: Venice

Go-To Meal

Oh: “Pesto pasta made from scratch. I get the basil leaves and the seared scallops and asparagus.”

Comer: “I make a really good chicken curry.”

Hometown Memory

Oh: “The snow. There’s no shortage of it [in Canada].”

Comer: “The people in Liverpool have a very wicked sense of humor. And wherever you go, there will always be someone who wishes you to have a good day.”

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?”