15 Thrilling Facts About Killing Eve

BBC America
BBC America

Warning: Spoilers ahead for season one of BBC America's Killing Eve.

If you have yet to watch Killing Eve, you’re missing out on one of this year’s most addictive crime dramas. And spy thrillers. And black comedies. Just when you think you know where the genre-busting BBC series about an MI5 desk drone-turned-field agent (Sandra Oh) helping to track down a psychopathic assassin (Jodie Comer) is headed, it changes the rules. Which helps explain why the show has been such a hit with audiences and critics alike. With a second season already underway, and star Sandra Oh vying for what could be a groundbreaking Emmy win, here are 15 things you might not have known about Killing Eve.

1. IT’S BASED ON A SERIES OF NOVELLAS.

L to R: Fiona Shaw, Kim Bodnia, Sean Delaney, and Sandra Oh in 'Killing Eve'
BBC America

Between 2014 and 2016, Luke Jennings—dance critic for England’s The Observer—wrote a series of four Kindle Singles that become the novel Codename Villanelle, about a Russian assassin and an ambitious MI5 agent who chase each other around the world in a global game of cat-and-mouse. In 2014, producer Sally Woodward Gentle optioned the rights to Jennings’s stories.

“Although the notion of a female assassin was not unique, Luke’s take was fresh, intelligent and tonally much bolder than others,” Woodward Gentle said. “It wasn’t exploitative. We really enjoyed the character of Villanelle and the inventiveness of her kills, but we were particularly engaged with the mutual obsession between the women."

2. IT WAS WRITTEN AND DEVELOPED BY FLEABAG CREATOR PHOEBE WALLER-BRIDGE.

Though Phoebe Waller-Bridge began her entertainment career as an actor (she played droid L3-37 in Solo: A Star Wars Story), Crashing and Fleabag have turned her into an in-demand writer and producer as well. Waller-Bridge was brought onto Killing Eve based on her work on the stage version of Fleabag, which she performed as a one-woman show in 2013. The material turned out to be a perfect match for the creator’s sensibilities.

“I write from the point of view of what I’d like to watch,” Waller-Bridge told The Guardian. “I’m always satisfying my own appetite. So I guess that means transgressive women, friendships, pain. I love pain.”

3. SANDRA OH WASN’T SURE WHO THE SHOWRUNNERS WANTED HER TO PLAY.

'Killing Eve' star Sandra Oh
© James White, Corbis Outline via BBC America

Sandra Oh—who was the first actor cast in the adaptation—loved the script for Killing Eve, but was slightly confused about which role the producers had in mind for her. “I was talking to [my agents] and scrolling on my phone like, ‘What is it?,’” Oh told ELLE Magazine. “I’m quickly scrolling through my phone, trying to find my part, and I’m talking to my agent like, ‘I don’t get it. What’s the part?’ because I was like, I can’t play an assassin, obviously it’s gonna be a young hot girl, I don’t get it, what’s my part? Then my agent said, ‘Eve. The part is for Eve.’"

4. IT WAS CELEBRATED BY MANY CRITICS FOR BREAKING ALL THE GENRE RULES.

The critical reviews for Killing Eve were almost unanimously positive, with many fans mentioning the innovative way in which the show subverts so many genre conventions. In making the case for Oh as this year’s Best Actress for Vulture, Matt Zoller Seitz wrote that “Killing Eve is such a brazenly entertaining series that you don’t immediately realize how groundbreaking it is … First, of course, there’s the fact that Killing Eve is built around two women, an immediately distinguishing difference in a genre, the cat-and-mouse thriller, where both the main investigator and the main baddie tend to be men.”

At IndieWire, Ben Travers wrote that “Killing Eve is a helluva good time, it's already more interesting than many of its genre peers, and the first season illustrates a self-awareness essential for its survival. The show may follow a formula, but there's nothing routine about it.” Writing for The Atlantic, Sophie Gilbert said, “Killing Eve is subversive at its most basic level, taking the classic good-guy-chases-villain template and placing two women in the primary roles.”

5. OH IS THE FIRST ASIAN ACTRESS TO BE NOMINATED FOR A BEST LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA EMMY.

Proud #immigrantparents Just took me 30 yrs...

A post shared by Sandra Oh (@iamsandraohinsta) on

Between 2005 and 2009, Oh received five consecutive Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Dr. Cristina Yang on Grey’s Anatomy (though she has yet to win one). But her nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for Killing Eve marks an important first for the entertainment industry: She is the first Asian actress to receive a Lead Actress in a Drama nomination.

6. WALLER-BRIDGE AND JODIE COMER’S FIRST MEETING WAS AT A BAFTA PARTY, AND THEY WERE BOTH DRUNK.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Jodie Comer shared that the first and only time she had ever met Waller-Bridge was a few months before she was ever contacted about Killing Eve. The two of them met at a BAFTA party, and both were rather inebriated. “I didn’t know nottin’ about Killing Eve,” Comer said. “Then my audition came along and I was like … Oh my God, I was so drunk that night. This is really awkward.”

7. OH AND COMER’S FIRST MEETING INCLUDED ACTING OUT THE KITCHEN SCENE.

As Eve and Villanelle, Oh and Comer spend almost the entirety of season one trying to stay one step ahead of each other, which means that they don’t share a lot of screen time. But it was imperative that the actors who filled the roles had enough onscreen chemistry to fill the moments that they did share with a rare kind of curiosity that is both raw, vicious, and somewhat sexual. So Oh’s first meeting with Comer required them to act out the infamous kitchen scene, where Villanelle breaks into Eve’s home.

“Jodie is so wonderful in her presence, and her own instinct, and her own fearlessness,” Oh told Deadline. “She’s absolutely nothing like the character, which makes what Jodie can personally bring to it so much more extraordinary. We first met in her audition, and the audition was the scene in the kitchen in Episode 5, this 10-page scene. Jodie flew from England to LA, we laid it down, and immediately, I felt like we could both feel, ‘Oh, this is my dance partner.’”

8. IT WAS RENEWED BEFORE THE FIRST SEASON HAD EVEN PREMIERED.

Sometimes you just know when you have a good thing. On April 5, 2018—three days before Killing Eve had even made its debut—BBC America announced that it was being renewed for a second season.

“This show has the thunder of women on both sides of the chase in Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer and, importantly, behind the camera with the lavishly brilliant Phoebe Waller-Bridge,” BBC America president Sarah Barnett said in a statement. “The early response to Killing Eve has been incredible—for that reason, as well as the fact that we wholeheartedly love this original, funny, thrillingly entertaining series, we are delighted to move ahead with a second season before we even premiere.”

9. MORE THAN 100 ACTRESSES WERE CONSIDERED FOR VILLANELLE.

Jodie Comer as Villanelle in 'Killing Eve'
BBC America

Though it’s impossible to imagine Killing Eve without Comer in the role of the psychotic—and rather glamorous—assassin, the show’s producers considered more than 100 actors for the part. “We didn’t want Villanelle to be like Nikita or The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo—that male fantasy version of what a woman who’d come for them might look like. We wanted her to be able to disappear into a crowd,” Woodward Gentle told Backstage. “There had to be chemistry between [Eve and Villanelle], this extraordinary chemical reaction that’s not necessarily sexual, but has hints of it. [Oh and Comer] had it. Their acting methods are very different, but they were completely within the same piece. That was really important.”

10. WALLER-BRIDGE AND OH WANTED THE ENDING TO FEEL ORGANIC, SO THEY WORKSHOPPED IT TOGETHER. WITH SOME WINE.

While discussing Eve and Villanelle’s second encounter, which ends with Oh stabbing Comer, Waller-Bridge told Variety that it was important to both her and Oh that whatever happened in that scene felt natural to the character of Eve. “That moment of ‘saving her’ came out of a wine-fueled, after-dinner spontaneous workshop of the scene with Sandra,” Waller-Bridge said. “Sandra and I were acting it out across my kitchen table … We mimed her stabbing me and then pulling the knife out … Then we both froze for a second, just feeling out what might happen next, then we suddenly both covered the imaginary wound at the same time and looked at each other utterly mortified—just like we believed Eve would once she took a second to realize what she had done.”

11. OH DOESN’T NORMALLY WATCH HERSELF ON SCREEN, BUT MADE AN EXCEPTION FOR KILLING EVE.

Sandra Oh in 'Killing Eve'
BBC America

Many actors can’t bear to watch themselves onscreen, and Oh counts herself among them. But she was curious to see how Killing Eve turned out, so she binge-watched the first three episodes—and loved every second of it. “In the plethora of all that’s out there to watch, actually being something different is so fun,” she told Vanity Fair.

12. ITS RATINGS GREW WITH EACH EPISODE.

Word-of-mouth played a major part in Killing Eve’s success, a fact that could be seen in its ratings, which grew from one week to the next throughout the season—which is something that no other scripted television series had done in more than a decade.

“This show has exceeded our expectations in every possible way, and we came into it with very high expectations,” BBC America president Sarah Barnett said in a statement. “From executive producer Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s words on the page, to the performances by Sandra Oh, Jodie Comer, and the entire cast, the critical acclaim, the fan engagement and audience growth. On every level, this has been one of the ones you dream about when you get into this business.”

13. THE SHOW’S DARK COMEDY HELPED AUDIENCES ROOT FOR A KILLER.

Much of the show’s success, according to Waller-Bridge, rests in its more lighthearted moments—which she told Variety were necessary for any show that’s “tied up with pathos and is as usefully disarming as it is entertaining.” She also believes that the show’s dark comedic elements allowed the audience to root for Villanelle, “because she makes them laugh … It forgives a thousand murders!”

14. THE BODY COUNT WAS RATHER HIGH.

Though given Villanelle’s penchant for murder, it’s not hard to imagine that she’s killed 1000-plus people throughout her career, the audience only witnesses a total of 19 deaths of the hands of the quirky assassin. (An additional eight deaths throughout the series led to a total body count of 27 for the first season.)

15. EVE SHOULD BE NERVOUS ABOUT SEASON TWO.

Jodie Comer in 'Killing Eve'
BBC America

Though not many details have been released about Killing Eve’s second season, we know that it’s scheduled to premiere in 2019 and that Waller-Bridge—who received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing—won’t be writing it. (The second season of her show Fleabag is currently in production, and timing wouldn’t allow her to do both.) But Waller-Bridge has offered a warning that the next season will see Eve in danger.

“[Eve] has crossed a line with Villanelle and with herself,” Waller-Bridge told Variety. “I think both are threats to Eve going forward. There is no question that she will be haunted in some way by both from this moment on.”

Tom Hiddleston Will Return as Loki for Live-Action Series for Disney+

Vittorio Zunino Celotto, Getty Images for Gucci
Vittorio Zunino Celotto, Getty Images for Gucci

After various reports and rumors claiming Marvel's Loki would be getting his own TV series for the new Disney+ streaming service, Disney CEO Bob Iger has finally confirmed the news.

In an official press release, it was also announced that ​Tom Hiddleston will be reprising his role as "Loki, the god of mischief" for the live-action series.

It was back in September that Variety first reported that both Loki and Scarlet Witch would be getting their own TV series for Disney+, with Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen reprising their respective roles. It was also rumored these series would only be around six to eight episodes apiece, allowing the stars maintain their otherwise busy schedules.

In the same release, Disney ​announced a Rogue One: A Star Wars Story live-action prequel series, starring Diego Luna, who will reprise his role of Cassian Andor.

“Going back to the Star Wars universe is very special for me," Luna said. "I have so many memories of the great work we did together and the relationships I made throughout the journey."

With its slate of A-list properties, Disney+ is already shaking up the small-screen with its announced original series. The service is not expected to debut until at least late 2019.

40 Educational Facts About Sesame Street

Getty Images
Getty Images

On November 10, 1969, television audiences were introduced to Sesame Street. In the near-50 years since, the series has become one of television's most iconic programs—and it's not just for kids. We're big fans of the Street, and to prove it, here are some of our favorite Sesame Street facts.

1. Oscar the Grouch used to be orange. Jim Henson decided to make him green before season two.

2. How did Oscar explain the color change? He said he went on vacation to the very damp Swamp Mushy Muddy and turned green overnight.

3. During a 2004 episode, Cookie Monster said that before he started eating cookies, his name was Sid.

4. In 1980, C-3PO and R2-D2 visited Sesame Street. They played games, sang songs, and R2-D2 fell in love with a fire hydrant.

5. Mr. Snuffleupagus has a first name—Aloysius.

6. Ralph Nader stopped by in 1988 and sang "a consumer advocate is a person in your neighborhood."

7. Caroll Spinney said he based Oscar's voice on a cab driver from the Bronx who brought him to the audition.

8. In 1970, Ernie reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 with the timeless hit "Rubber Duckie."

9. One of Count von Count's lady friends is Countess von Backwards, who's also obsessed with counting but likes to do it backwards.

10. Sesame Street made its Afghanistan debut in 2011 with Baghch-e-Simsim (Sesame Garden). Big Bird, Grover and Elmo are involved.

11. According to Muppet Wiki, Oscar the Grouch and Count von Count were minimized on Baghch-e-Simsim "due to cultural taboos against trash and vampirism."

12. Before Giancarlo Esposito was Breaking Bad's super intense Gus Fring, he played Big Bird's camp counselor Mickey in 1982.

13. Thankfully, those episodes are available on YouTube.

14. How big is Big Bird? 8'2".

15. In 2002, the South African version (Takalani Sesame) added an HIV-positive Muppet named Kami.

16. Six Republicans on the House Commerce Committee wrote a letter to PBS president Pat Mitchell warning that Kami was not appropriate for American children, and reminded Mitchell that their committee controlled PBS's funding.

17. Sesame Street's resident game show host Guy Smiley was using a pseudonym. His real name was Bernie Liederkrantz.

18. Bert and Ernie have been getting questioned about their sexuality for years. Ernie himself, as performed by Steve Whitmire, has weighed in: “All that stuff about me and Bert? It’s not true. We’re both very happy, but we’re not gay,”

19. A few years later, Bert (as performed by Eric Jacobson) answered the same question by saying, “No, no. In fact, sometimes we are not even friends; he can be a pain in the neck.”

20. In the first season, both Superman and Batman appeared in short cartoons produced by Filmation. In one clip, Batman told Bert and Ernie to stop arguing and take turns choosing what’s on TV.

21. In another segment, Superman battled a giant chimp.

22. Telly was originally "Television Monster," a TV-obsessed Muppet whose eyes whirled around as he watched.

23. According to Sesame Workshop, Elmo is the only non-human to testify before Congress.

Photo of Elmo from 'Sesame Street'
iStock

24. He lobbied for more funding for music education, so that "when Elmo goes to school, there will be the instruments to play."

25. In the early 1990s, soon after Jim Henson’s passing, a rumor circulated that Ernie would be killed off in order to teach children about death, as they'd done with Mr. Hooper.

26. According to Snopes, the rumor may have spread thanks to New Hampshire college student Michael Tabor, who convinced his graduating class to wear “Save Ernie” beanies and sign a petition to persuade Sesame Workshop to let Ernie live.

27. By the time Tabor was corrected, the newspapers had already picked up the story.

28. Sesame Street’s executive producer Carol-Lynn Parente joined Sesame Workshop as a production assistant and has worked her way to the top.

29. Originally, Count von Count was more sinister. He could hypnotize and stun people.

30. According to Sesame Workshop, all Sesame Street's main Muppets have four fingers except Cookie Monster, who has five.

31. The episode with Mr. Hooper's funeral aired on Thanksgiving Day in 1983. That date was chosen because families were more likely to be together at that time, in case kids had questions or needed emotional support.

32. Mr. Hooper’s first name was Harold.

33. Big Bird sang "Bein' Green" at Jim Henson's memorial service.

34. As Mental Floss's Chris Higgins put it, the performance was "devastating."

35. Oscar's Israeli counterpart is Moishe Oofnik, whose last name means “grouch” in Hebrew.

36. Nigeria's version of Cookie Monster eats yams. His catchphrase: "ME WANT YAM!"

37. Sesame Street's Roosevelt Franklin ran a school, where he spoke in scat and taught about Africa. Some parents hated him, so in 1975 he got the boot, only to inspire Gob Bluth’s racist puppet Franklin on Arrested Development 28 years later.

38. Our good friend and contributor Eddie Deezen was the voice of Donnie Dodo in the 1985 classic Follow That Bird.

39. Cookie Monster evolved from The Wheel-Stealer—a snack-pilfering puppet Jim Henson created to promote Wheels, Crowns and Flutes in the 1960s.

40. This puppet later was seen eating a computer in an IBM training film and on The Ed Sullivan Show.

An earlier version of this article appeared in 2012.

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