As telly assassin Villanelle, Jodie Comer is cunning, ruthless, attractive and seductive.
Her methods are chilling and Jodie’s performance – with a maturity way beyond her 25 years – has won global plaudits.
But it could all have been so different.
For Jodie wanted a career in music and was in a girl band with school pals – until they dumped her for missing rehearsals.
Thank God it was Jodie and not Villanelle – otherwise the first “hit” might not have been of the chart variety!
The actress reveals: “I was elbowed out of the girl band! That’s when I first got the buzz for performing in front of other people.
“We were doing a talent show in school. Me and my three friends were doing a dance from Chicago.
“We were doing the Cell Block Tango at the age of 12 – probably a little inappropriate, looking back!
She found fame playing the part of assassin Villanelle
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“So I was planning on doing the talent show and midway through rehearsals I went away on holiday with my family.
“When I was away I was spending all my time on the computer and the girls had been in touch to say I couldn’t be in the dance any more because I wasn’t there to rehearse.
“You know when you’re a kid and you’re so upset you lose your breath? I remember going up to my mum and being so distraught.
“She was like, ‘Why don’t you go back and ask your drama teacher if you can do your monologue? Do your own thing’.”
It was wise advice. Jodie won a competition at the Liverpool Drama Festival – reciting a speech about the Hillsborough soccer disaster.
A couple of months later she auditioned to play a young girl in a Radio 4 drama.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Jodie adds: “An actress kindly introduced me to her agent and now I am here!
Jodie celebrated after co-star Sandra Oh won a Golden Globe as best TV actress
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“So I’m always like, ‘Mum, imagine if they didn’t leave me out of the group. What would I be doing’?”
Jodie is now known around the globe off the success of Killing Eve.
Last weekend she joined celebrations in Los Angeles as her co-star Sandra Oh, 47, won a Golden Globe as best TV actress.
Jodie is nominated for the same gong at the upcoming National Television Awards.
Her rivals include another Jodie – Whittaker, the new Doctor Who – and Michelle Keegan, star of Our Girl.
Jodie Comer, speaking on podcast Two Shot, admits that she has been taken aback at the international success of Killing Eve.
She goes on: “If someone said to me last year that people would be dressing as Villanelle for Halloween I would have said, ‘Shut up!’
“It’s been so amazing to be a part of something that has resonated with people and people have enjoyed.
“People always ask me what the message is with Killing Eve.
“There isn’t one, you just have fun with it. I think that’s what people have enjoyed so much. I’ve never been part of a show which has had such a huge response.
“It went out in America first and went down really well, then the pessimist in me was like, ‘Oh the Brits are going to hate it!’ But it was the exact same.
As a youngster Jodie was passionate about music and dance
“My whole family are obsessed with it, it’s lovely.”
The actress may now be receiving top marks for her acting but she admits to failing her drama exam at school.
She adds: “This is really embarrassing. For my drama GCSE I got an A* in my practical and I got a U [ungraded] in my written! I would have liked to have been more disciplined, maybe.
“I’m disciplined now but in a different way.”
Jodie spends half of her life in London but loves going back home to Merseyside.
She says: “I feel lucky in the sense I can come for six months, experience it, then go back to normality, back to my mum’s.
“I can imagine it’s quite easy to fall out of love with London, it’s quite intense.
“I also think it can be quite lonely. I do love my own company, but I get a sense that if you haven’t got your tribe of people here it’s easy to slip under the radar and probably spend too much time on your own.”
Jodie admits it has been tough living with the fame Killing Eve brought her – and that the first big photoshoot had left her “rigid with fear”.
She could not have known exactly which way her passion for the stage would take her
But co-star Sandra Oh and show creator, Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge, have given her good advice.
She explains: “We went to a TV festival in Cannes, we were all having a little drink and they were like, ‘Just so you know, when this goes out it might get a bit crazy’. I’m around Sandra a lot, she gets recognised everywhere and I can see how intense that can be.
“I’m in no way in that kind of bracket but they were like, ‘This is something you need to be more aware of’. They gave me a heads up.”
Series two of Killing Eve – set to be on the BBC in late spring – has Sandra’s character Eve Polastri still hunting wounded killer Villanelle.
But Jodie insists yet more fame won’t be going to her head, adding: “If I ever did get too big for my boots my mum and dad would tell me straight away… and my brother!”
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