THEIR sexually charged scenes have made Killing Eve one of the BBC’s most successful dramas.
And Sandra Oh says the secret of her on-screen chemistry with co-star Jodie Comer is maintaining mystery to their characters’ relationship.
As MI5 agent Eve Polastri, Sandra, 48, is on the tail of Villanelle, played by Jodie, 27 — who has previously said that she suspects the Russian assassin is secretly attracted to her nemesis.
Sandra reveals: “We really dive into the relationship. We both understand there’s a lot of mystery between Eve and Villanelle and we play it as such.
“Usually what happens is, story-wise, Eve and Villanelle are kept apart and at a certain point they crash into each other then have their storyline together.
“Jodie and I have a profound relationship. At this point, having done three seasons, we trust each other when the magic is happening. That’s how we work it.”
Describing the intensity of the scenes she shares with Jodie, Sandra adds: “If you’ve been in a bad, obsessive relationship, or if you’ve struggled with addiction, you’ll relate. I have and . . . let’s leave it at that!”
Killing Eve, which has attracted eight million viewers, returns for a third series tonight.
Some eager fans have already seen the opening episode after it appeared on iPlayer on Monday.
The last series ended with a jaw-dropping scene which left viewers wondering if Eve survived — but the cat-and-mouse game between her and Villanelle is set to continue.
For Canadian actress Sandra, playing alongside Liverpudlian Jodie has been a highlight of her career. She is amazed by her co-star, who speaks with a Scouse accent in real life, for her ability to switch into the different languages her character speaks.
Sandra, 48, said: “Jodie has a remarkable ear. She is so talented.
“When you hear what she really sounds like you’re blown away.”
Jodie’s ability to mimic Russian, French and American isn’t the only thing Sandra loves. She also admires her on-screen wardrobe.
Sandra said: “Oh the clothes, it pains me. I was on set watching Jodie on the monitor and I was like, ‘Are those wool Gucci trousers? I just got those trousers’.
“I got them for a press event. Oh my God, Villanelle has my taste in clothes. My life is complete.”
Thanks to the success of Killing Eve and long-running US medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, Sandra is now worth around £20million.
But just like many people around the globe, her career has been stopped by coronavirus. And the fourth series of Killing Eve may be another victim.
Sandra reveals: “I had the most amount of work set up for this year. I had a film and two television series.
“We are scheduled to go back to Killing Eve in September, but we don’t know. Our show is international. You can’t shoot Africa in Scotland, for example. And we don’t know what is going on with Scotland. I have found it quite challenging to stay creative, actually.”
Jodie and I trust each other when the magic is happening. That’s how we work it
For now, Sandra is locked down at home in the US, relying on virtual cocktail hours with pals and meditation to keep her sane.
She says: “I am in Los Angeles. We are at that point where beaches and trails are closed. I am so grateful I am here at my house. I have a meditation practice which I have been leaning heavily into. The anxiety is so high that my need to sit, practice and meditate is very strong.”
But even though the lockdown has made Sandra anxious, it has also led to her reconnecting with old friends.
She explains: “That’s one way I’ve been dealing with the Covid-19. I have been in communication with mostly groups of people from my past. Recently, a bunch of us were texting and now we have a cocktail every Friday. In our first Zoom many of us had not seen each other in almost 27 years. So it was great to say ‘hi’ to people. That is one of the best things.
“During this time, our need to connect and making the effort to do so, and relationships and health, are what it’s all about.
“One of the things we are learning in this crisis is that being with each other is better.
“Hopefully we will be able to learn the value of truly connecting because everyone I have spoken to now, it’s just deeper.”
Sandra hopes the new series of Killing Eve is a welcome distraction during the challenging times people are facing. She said: “For us, globally, this month is very tense. And the fact that the show is coming earlier and hopefully providing a little respite, a positive distraction and energy for people while they are sheltering inside, I’m really grateful for.”
Before Killing Eve she had not worked in four years as she waited for the right role after leaving Grey’s Anatomy.
Sandra said: “It takes a while to get to a point in your career where you can actually make a choice, and after a decade of my life on a show I had enough economic power to say no.
“Those four years, it was like active waiting. I was not not working. I was figuring out what it is to say no and what it is to say yes.
“It is like falling in love. It’s like, ‘OK, now I realise I have a little bit more awareness, a little more consciousness. I want this out of a relationship and I am just going to wait until they show up, because I feel like they will’. So when Killing Eve came by, I thought ‘this is the right thing for me. This feels right to say yes to’.”
Her instincts proved to be correct. The show has been a ratings success and also earned Sandra a Golden Globe in 2018 for Best Actress. But it has not always been plain sailing. Her two-year marriage to 59-year-old US filmmaker Alexander Payne, who directed Jack Nicholson in comedy drama About Schmidt, ended in 2006.
For the past 15 months Sandra has been dating Russian artist Lev Rukhin — and as she approaches 50, she says she has never been happier. Sandra explains: “Ageing is the greatest. It really gives you more space to be that person in the mirrored dress who has always been inside.
“Forties are great. Things start making sense. You start to understand power — like, actually really understand it.
“Honestly, I can’t wait for 50. I’m going to be still working on my core but I just really think, knowing a lot of women in my life who are in their 50s, it’s going to be great.”
“I’m happy right now. I feel good all around, man.”
- Killing Eve is on BBC1 on Sunday night at 9.15pm.
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