It’s hard to find any entertainer with a more impressive resumé than Phoebe Waller-Bridge — especially in the past few years.
The actor, writer, producer, comedian, philanthropist and show-runner has earned more than a few accolades since season one of her award-winning series, “Fleabag,” debuted in 2016.
Since then, she’s has won three Primetime Emmy Awards and two Golden Globes. She’s appeared in a “Star Wars” film, and even helped write the latest entry in the”James Bond” franchise. In 2019, the Guardian ranked two of her series on its list of the greatest TV shows of the 2010s.
There are plenty of reasons to be obsessed with Waller-Bridge (the fact that she doesn’t have any social media accounts only makes that intrigue stronger). To help feed that impulse, here are five things you may not know about the “Killing Eve” creator.
1. She auditioned for a major role on ‘Downton Abbey’
“Downton Abbey” was a who’s who of British celebrity. The critically acclaimed period drama, which aired from 2010 to 2015, featured several of the U.K.’s most beloved actors.
Waller-Bridge is decidedly not part of that list — and apparently for a hilariously unfortunate reason. In a 2017 interview with the Hollywood Reporter, the writer revealed she tried out for “quite a serious part” on the show, only to completely blow the audition.
“I was really thrilled to come in for this part, so I put my heart and soul into it. I went in thinking, ‘I’m going to give my best, sincere, heartbreaking performance,'” she recalled. “When I finished, they were like, ‘We had no idea she was so f****** hilarious!” I had really given myself, and they’re like, ‘Oh, yeah, you’re not right.'”
2. She descends from British nobility
Waller-Bridge has gone on record calling Queen Elizabeth II a “badass,” and it turns out the actor has a few ties to nobility herself. She’s the descendent of at least two landowning, title-bearing politicians: Sir John Edward Longueville Clerke and Sir Egerton Leigh.
Leigh was a member of the U.K. parliament in the 19th century, while Clerke, who held the noble title of baronet, was a military captain who fought in World War II.
3. She didn’t know what a ‘droid’ was
Waller-Bridge literally had no idea what she was getting into when she auditioned for a part in “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”
The 34-year-old revealed in an interview on “The Graham Norton Show” that she’d never seen a “Star Wars” film, and had no clue what it meant that she was reading for the part of a droid.
Apparently, she spent her taxi ride to the audition googling the word “droid,” which only confused her further. She ultimately just read for the part as if she were a human.
The casting directors were perplexed, Waller-Bridge said, but they must have also been impressed — because they ultimately gave her the part of L3-37, a revolutionary-minded droid who works with Donald’s Glover’s Lando Calrissian.
4. She got a major endorsement before writing the new ‘Bond’ film
The new “James Bond” movie, “No Time To Die,” will hit theaters in November — along with a writing credit from Waller-Bridge.
As it turns out, Waller-Bridge’s role in the project came after Daniel Craig (aka 007 himself) requested her help. According to the Guardian, Craig was a massive fan of “Fleabag,” so when the new “Bond” movie ran into some production issues, he asked specifically if Waller-Bridge could come in and help fix the script.
5. She let Olivia Colman slap her in the face
There’s a now-famous scene in “Fleabag’s” first season where Waller-Bridge is slapped in the face by Olivia Colman, who plays her father’s girlfriend in the show.
To drag a bit of hyper-realism out of the scene, Waller-Bridge apparently let Colman hit her for real so she could get an authentic “flush of red.” The two women reportedly became pals after working on a play together, and as Waller-Bridge told the New Statesman in 2017, Colman basically got the part specifically so she could hit her friend in the face.
“That part basically came about because I wanted Olivia Colman to slap me,” Waller-Bridge told the magazine. “[Coleman] said if I ever thought of anything she could do, to ask her. And I thought [she] might relish this naughty role.”
If you liked this story, check out In The Know’s article on the extremely strange birthday present Kate Middleton once bought her brother.
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