Evening Telegraph

I want to subvert genre with spy thriller Killing Eve – Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Killing Eve writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge has said she wanted to get rid of spy drama cliches and create “proper, rounded heroines” in the new female-led show.

The BBC programme, which is already a big hit in America, follows MI5 officer Eve (Sandra Oh) who is on the hunt for killer Villanelle (Jodie Comer) in a gripping game of cat and mouse.

Based on the novellas by Luke Jennings, the eight-part series was adapted by Waller-Bridge.

She said: “I want to subvert the genre, the expectations and every cliche that is tied up in the spy action thriller.

“And even more so, in the female characters that populate them.

“This is not an ‘Oooo badasswoman show’ where everyone’s clothes fall off after an impossibly long fight scene. Nor is it a humourless, plot-driven show about a mystery.

“This is a meditation on murder, on loneliness and the potential for a world without conscience. It’s funny and frightening.”

She went on: “We’ve seen the TV and film ‘idea’ of these women before – the cold-blooded assassin, the brow beaten cop. So much so that I was desperate to get my hands on them and make them proper, rounded heroines for the modern man and woman.”

Waller-Bridge said together, the two characters would take viewers “down a rabbit hole of a psychological thriller”.

“I hope this show will bring a new dimension to the spy-like romp with designer scarves we have seen before,” she said.

Former Grey’s Anatomy star Oh said she was drawn to the “fresh tone” of the drama.

“We’re really trying to create a new tone, almost even like a new genre, a really fresh and different way of telling the story in presenting these characters,” she said.

“Phoebe has a tremendous gift for being able to write multiple layers.”

“It’s great to play a role where you can make something both absurd and real,” added the actress, who has been nominated for an Emmy for her performance.

Killing Eve starts on BBC One on September 15 and will be available as a boxset on BBC Three via iPlayer.