Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category
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 (haroldpintertheatre.co.uk)

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.”

TCD/Prod.DB/AlamyTCD/Prod.DB/Alamy

(TCD/Prod.DB/Alamy)

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

Movie

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?”

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 September 21, 2021

On Friday night, Jodie Comer’s latest film, The Last Duel, premiered at the Venice Film Festival—and its reputation preceded it. Directed by veteran filmmaker Sir Ridley Scott and costarring Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, and Adam Driver, it marks Affleck and Damon’s first reunion as screenwriting collaborators since 1997’s Good Will Hunting earned them the Academy Award for best original screenplay. While the most feverish chatter at the premiere might have surrounded another infamous reunion—namely Bennifer, who took to the red carpet for the first time since getting back together earlier this year—rest assured that as the lights went up in the Sala Grande following the screening, there was only one thing the audience was talking about: Comer’s extraordinary performance.

The Last Duel tells the story of the last legally sanctioned duel in French history, between the knight Jean de Carrouges (Damon) and the squire Jacques Le Gris (Driver), who were once close friends but became bitter enemies after the latter raped the former’s wife, Marguerite (Comer), and denied it. The film cleverly illustrates the story through a Rashomon-style trio of perspectives culminating with Marguerite’s, which offers a rare and richly crafted insight into the interior world of an oppressed but formidable medieval woman. “What was really exciting to me was the opportunity to give this woman a voice,” says Comer the day after the premiere. “It’s crazy that there was so much written about this story but yet very little information about the woman at the heart of it.”


 

Posted by admin on September 05, 2021

Big Issue– The stars of new Channel 4 drama Help tell The Big Issue why it’s so important the story of Covid in care homes is told now.