How would you feel if you found out that a young female assassin is killing her way across the globe?
If you're Sandra Oh's character Eve in BBC America's upcoming drama Killing Eve, you are incredibly excited about it. The eight-hour drama series comes from Fleabag writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge and executive producer Sally Woodward Guthrie and is based on the Villanelle novellas by Luke Jennings. Oh's Eve is a journalist who picks up on Villanelle's (Jodie Comer, The White Princess) killing spree, only to wind up on a bloody collision course with her.
It's a female-driven killer-thriller brightened with Waller-Bridge's signature dark humor and it's awesome. It's also a monumental achievement that Waller-Bridge was given the opportunity to tackle the series after writing a one-hour comedy play that was then turned into a half-hour comedy series for Amazon. The jump between that and eight-hour drama is a big one that's not usually given to writers, especially female ones, in the TV landscape.
"It was before Fleabag was made into a TV show that Sally approached me about this job," Waller-Bridge informed reporters while promoting Killing Eve at the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Friday. "It's really a testament to Sally's imagination that she saw this play that I had written, basically this hour long comedy play and went, 'How about writing an eight-hour drama about an assassin?'...When someone takes a leap like that for you, of course you feel like I can do that because I'm a writer. I want to be able to write lots of genres and characters. It was such a breath of fresh air for someone to say, 'How about you do something incredibly different?' That kicked off pretty soon after Fleabag so I didn't really have a chance to be pigeonholed."
Guthrie's and BBC America's investment in Waller-Bridge is the type of female empowerment that Oh — who has been looking for a role to break her Grey's Anatomy Cristina Yang mold — is excited to see happening across the industry. Not only is it a predominantly female cast, but Oh was cast in a part that was described for a white woman in the source material.
"This is the change that we're talking about. Here is a young person who has a creative voice who writes her own play. Someone takes a big chance and says, I'm going to give you an entire show. 'Can I do it? I think I can,'" Oh said during the same panel. "It's someone stepping up. Then there's BBC America saying, 'Okay we're going to take that little thing and you can cast it how you want.' This is a little bit of the change that I think this panel represents that I am ecstatic to be a part of and that I applaud Sally for saying, 'Who is that writer?'"
Killing Eve premieres Sunday, April 8 at 8/7c on BBC America.