The Sid Gentle Films CEO talks to The Hollywood Reporter about the BBC America hit’s journey to its final season, the women who helped get it there and what the final episode will deliver for its subversive female leads.
Sally Woodward Gentle has spent the better half of a decade producing one of television’s most subversive shows, BBC America hit Killing Eve. It’s an act that has arguably been as freeing and unpredictable offscreen as the experiences of its leading duo, Eve and Villanelle, onscreen.
“I don’t plan anything or construct anything,” the executive producer told The Hollywood Reporter ahead of the series finale. “I just sort of go with my gut.”
Gentle says the series is actually a byproduct of “lots of people’s guts.” That includes original head writer and EP Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Emmy winner Jodie Comer as Villanelle and Golden Globe winner Sandra Oh as Eve (doubling as an EP), its slew of female head writers and female directors, and fellow producer Lee Morris, to name just a few.
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!’
“Killing Eve” star Jodie Comer is set to star in drama series “Big Swiss” from producer Adam McKay, which is currently in the development stage at HBO.
The project is based on Jen Beagin’s upcoming book of the same name and will be produced by A24 and McKay’s Hyperobject Industries. An insider tells Variety that 14 bidders were in the running for the title before it landed at HBO. Should the pay TV channel order “Big Swiss” to series, the plan would be for a limited series adaptation.
Here’s the description for “Big Swiss,” which stars Comer in the titular role of Flavia aka “Big Swiss”: “After starting a new life anonymously transcribing sex therapy sessions in Hudson, N.Y., a woman becomes fixated with one of the patients, leading to an obsessive, explosive relationship between the two.”
“Big Swiss” marks the first project that Comer has signed on to star in her post-“Killing Eve” era, which will be coming to an end with the show’s currently airing fourth and final season. Comer has been the co-lead on the critically acclaimed BBC America show alongside Sandra Oh since its first season. Comer won a leading actor Emmy for her role as Villanelle on “Killing Eve” in 2019 and she and Oh have both been nominated for their starring parts on the drama twice.
The potential show is executive produced by McKay, Jen Beagin and Comer.
Deadline first reported the news of HBO landing “Big Swiss” and Comer’s attachment to the McKay-produced project.
Though Free Guy has Ryan Reynolds front and center, it’s the slow-burn romance between Jodie Comer and Joe Keery’s characters that power the movie.
With Free Guy now available to stream on Disney+ and HBO Max, as well as being available on home video, you can now watch one of the biggest films of 2021 in the comfort of your own home. Not only is it funny and action-packed — and proof that Ryan Reynolds can break out of his Deadpool persona when given the chance — it also proves that, in the age of blockbusters and franchise films, there’s still a foothold for original ideas on the big screen. It also happens to feature one of the most touching love stories from a recent blockbuster movie, but not for the reasons viewers may think.
The marketing for the film teased a love story between Guy (Reynolds) and Molotovgirl (Jodie Comer) within the world of the Free City video game. The twist is that Molotovgirl is the avatar of Millie Rusk — a real-life programmer seeking to prove that Free City developer Antwan Hovachelik (Taika Waititi) stole her code from another game and used it for his own game. Complicating matters is the fact that Millie’s programming partner, Walter “Keys” McKey (Joe Keery), is currently working for Antwan.
Head Writer Laura Neal explains how that twist could impact the starring duo’s relationship going forward, what makes Eve’s relationship with Hélène different, and what assassin-in-training Pam reveals about the show’s central characters.
While the title of Killing Eve has always had multiple layers, it takes on yet another one in the latest episode of the show’s final season.
Eve (Sandra Oh) finally chooses to have Villanelle (Jodie Comer) arrested after the former assassin takes Martin (Adeel Akhtar) hostage to get professional mental health help. It’s something Eve hasn’t yet done in three seasons of the spy series. The potential fallout, then, could rock Eve and Villanelle’s entire relationship and re-ups questions about a show that’s as much about rebirth as it is about murder.
“You can take she show’s title literally, or you can take it figuratively,” Laura Neal, season four’s head writer, says when discussing the third episode of the final run, titled “A Rainbow in Beige Boots,” with The Hollywood Reporter. “But the figurative interpretation does feel like Eve is on a journey of rebirth, and we’ve seen that from season one across the show to season four. It feels like what she’s trying to do is dig down to the core of herself and let that Eve be free; let that Eve be born.”
Jodie Comer’s career has gone from strength to strength, which she has put down to her role in Killing Eve.
The 29-year-old actor has appeared in numerous series prior to landing her big break portraying the stylish assassin Oksana Astankova, otherwise known as Villanelle, in the BBC series, which has returned for a fourth and final season.
Speaking to Net-A-Porter, she said: “I’ve worked with such incredible women… to be working on a show like Killing Eve, which is the essence of that, has shaped me in a real way.
“I’ve been lucky that a lot of the women I’ve played have been so fully fleshed out and colourful that now it’s set the bar.”
Recalling the moment she was cast as the leading lady, which first aired in 2018, Jodie said: “I got sent the first episode and I’d seen Phoebe’s [Waller Bridge] name and I’d seen Fleabag, which I adored, and I just thought, ‘Ooh, what is this gonna be?’
Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer are getting ready to say goodbye to Killing Eve, BBC America’s award-winning drama that’s only weeks away from launching its final episodes.
“We just felt like it was the time for the characters to come to their ultimate growth,” Oh told ET’s Matt Cohen over Zoom on Feb. 8. “I mean, it’s a tricky dynamic that was set up four years ago in the first episode — that there is a certain kind of cat and mouse to it and dramaturgically it’s actually really hard to sustain. So we’ve done our best and I think, at this time, we both felt like it’s OK. We’re ready to try our best to resolve this unresolvable relationship so I think that’s really what it was.”
“I would agree to that and it also felt like everyone was on the same page in that sense,” Comer added. “It felt like a natural place to get to something really satisfying in the sense of we all knew it was the end so we all knew what we were trying to work towards. Trying to stay truthful to the characters but ultimately we’ll hopefully get the season satisfying for the fans who watch it. Quite a big task really.”
They also discuss working with different showrunners each season.
Since the BBC America original series Killing Eve started, the shared obsession that desk-bound security services officer Eve (Sandra Oh) and stylish assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer) have had with each other has been on a collision course that seems inevitable. With Villanelle desperate to prove that she’s not the monster that everyone believes her to be and Eve on a revenge mission as she’s chasing down The Twelve, thing are sure to get messy and dark before they reach their final season conclusion.
During this interview with Collider, which you can both watch and read, co-stars Comer and Oh talked about finding a complex and truthful ending rather than a happy one, how the ending evolved as they were shooting, collaborating with a different showrunner each season, why Villanelle’s desire to change isn’t coming from an honest place, that Eve’s revenge mission will take her on a dark path, and how everything that happens in the final season will affect how their characters feel about each other.
It’s all come down to this (violent) end.
The fourth and final season of Killing Eve, which airs its first episode this Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on BBC America and AMC+, picks up some time after the emotional exchange between Eve (Sandra Oh) and Villanelle (Jodie Comer) at the end of season 3.
This time around, Eve is on a revenge mission, and Villanelle has found a brand-new community in an attempt to prove she’s not a “monster.” Carolyn (Fiona Shaw), meanwhile, is still obsessed with chasing down The Twelve and the person that ordered the death of her son, Kenny.
Ahead of the new season, which BBC America promises builds towards “a messy, nuanced, and totally glorious series finale,” EW got Oh and Comer to answer our burning questions about the evolution of their characters’ relationship, new faces to keep an eye on, and where it’s all headed.
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer locked eyes across a fish tank. Illuminated in the blue glow of bubbling water and artificial light, the two women slowly registered each other with puzzlement, hostility and abject longing. Across three seasons of “Killing Eve,” the two actresses and the show’s creative team have worked to master the complex bond between their two characters, and there it was, distilled in a single “Romeo + Juliet”-inspired moment.
And then a wayward fish ruined the shot.
“Dude!” Oh exclaimed, still exasperated months later. The fish, which show up in the first episode of the show’s fourth and final season, were exceedingly “difficult,” Comer explained, laughing.
“One just swam right through and literally blocked both eyes,” she said. “I was like, ‘Guys, I can’t work with this fish.’”
Audiences won’t find out if the former MI6 agent Eve (played by Oh) and the globetrotting assassin Villanelle (Comer) are fated to wind up like Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers until the series finale of “Killing Eve” airs this spring. (The first of eight episodes will air Sunday on BBC America and Monday on AMC; the first two start streaming Sunday on AMC+.)