Killing Eve’s Jodie Cromer tested out Villanelle’s poker face on her family
She's the Liverpool lass who won massive acclaim playing a serial killer in BBC smash hit Killing Eve .
Now Jodie Comer, 26, is starring in her first Hollywood film with American A-lister Ryan Reynolds and is tipped to win an award at the Baftas tonight.
Millions of young wannabes would love to know the secret of her acting success.
And Jodie has a top tip for all of them – practise keeping a straight face while making up stories to your family.
She said of her Killing Eve character Villanelle: “One of the most intriguing things about her is her famous poker face.
“I tested it out on my family to see how credible I was as a liar.
“I would invent all these absurd stories and tell them about these strange incidents, and they all fell for it. At least almost always.
“I’ve always been pretty good at keeping secrets and not letting on what I’m thinking and of course Villanelle is a master at suppressing her thoughts and feelings.”
Jodie also credits her dad Jimmy for helping her get to the top.
He urged her to not be distracted by boys and parties but to focus on her dreams.
She said: “Through my teens I was doing the odd job here and there. But when I was 13 someone said to me, ‘you can do this for a living,’ and I was like, ‘What?’
“And they said, ‘you could get an agent. You can get headshots,’ and I was like, ‘OK.’
“My dad used to be really good at football and he’s very honest in saying that when he got to his teens he then got interested in going out and drinking and being with his friends.
“And he said to me, ‘If you’re going to do it, do it. Don’t do it half-heartedly.’ So that’s what I’m trying to do.”
Jodie shot to fame starring in Channel 4’s My Mad Fat Diary, as well as BBC1’s Doctor Foster.
But her big break came with Killing Eve, which has enjoyed transatlantic acclaim and has six nominations at tonight’s Baftas.
She is up for Best Actress, beside her co-star Sandra Oh, who plays Eve, as well as Keeley Hawes for Bodyguard and Ruth Wilson for Mrs Wilson.
Jodie says her chemistry with Sandra was instant, right from the audition.
She recalled: “I remember I was on holiday in Barcelona. I had been to a music festival.
“And I thought, ‘Right, I’ve got this 13-hour flight to LA. I’ve got to do it. I’ve just got to deliver. I don’t want to get a 13-hour flight back to Liverpool and be kicking myself.’
“So I just knew my lines. It sounds basic but I just knew what I needed to do.
“And then it was being in the room with Sandra where it all kind of came together.
“Within five minutes of us meeting each other it was just like we trusted each other and she gave me so much of her time and energy.
“When I left the room I thought if I don’t get it I’ll be devastated and I will not be watching Killing Eve.
“But also I couldn’t have done any more and I was happiest with that because I felt like we’d done a day’s filming.”
Jodie also thinks it helped that she could fathom what her character Villanelle was all about.
She said: “I do relate to her. That’s what I loved about when I read the script. There were moments where I was like, ‘I see why she did this.’
“Even in episode one of series two there was something that happens which is kind of huge and kind of awful, but there is a moment where you see why she did it.
“What I’ve kind of taken from her and learned from her is that she’s very honest, sometimes too brutally honest.
“That’s something I’ve taken into my own life. I think I’m a lot more honest with myself and my relationships and with how I am.
“I also eat as much as she does. That’s one thing everyone was so surprised by.
“There was this scene on series two where I had to eat pasta and I ate pasta from 9am till about 6pm.”
Killing Eve has already been commissioned by BBC America for two more seasons. And Jodie is ready to have a say in storylines.
She said: “They always ask me but what I enjoy is that’s not my expertise. I’m not a writer. The stuff that they bring up always amazes me.
“So I like to leave it to them. Now, for a third season I’ve got some feelings. I’ve got one or two.
“But the joy about working with writers is that when we finished series one, I was like, ‘I don’t know how we can come back from this. What on earth are they going to do?’
“And then lo and behold you get episode one and you’re like, ‘That’s what we’re going to do.’
“It’s always nerve-racking, especially now, because the great thing about season one is everything was a surprise.
“No one was expecting anything and now everyone is expecting everything.
“You start getting a little bit anxious. You just want people to enjoy it as much as they had. But these women, these characters, all of the characters are in a different place.”
Fans will see Mighty Boosh star Julian Barratt enter the frame in the early part of the second series.
Jodie said: “He is the greatest guy ever. I hadn’t seen The Mighty Boosh but the whole crew were going crazy. I was like, ‘I really need to see this.’
“I had met him for rehearsals and it was like the best week of filming, especially with Damon Thomas, who directed the last two episodes of series one.
“Damon really encourages you to take risks and be silly and then everyone just starts getting silly just trying out things and then that’s when we have fun.
“And when I feel like we have fun, it shows so much on camera.
“I remember all the crew was just in fits of giggles. That’s when I realised I’m so lucky to do what I do.”
Now Jodie is preparing for her first taste of Hollywood appearing opposite Ryan Reynolds, 42, in Free Guy.
In a web interview for BUILD in New York, she said: “Ryan Reynolds plays the part of this guy who seemingly lives in the real world, but he finds out he is in fact a background character within a video game and we meet within the game.”
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