How Killing Eve’s new writer Emerald Fennell took on the impossible — and won – The Sun06/23/2019
OUR favourite psychopathic fashionista assassin is well and truly back as the nation is once again collectively obsessed with the phenomenon that is Killing Eve.
But there’s one crucial difference this time around. The BAFTA-winning BBC thriller starring Jodie Comer as the sadistic Villanelle and Sandra Oh as the infatuated Eve is no longer penned by Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
Busy with a stage production of Fleabag and a Bond film script (natch!), Phoebe passed the baton to close friend Emerald Fennell.
And despite some critics noting a change of tone in the second series – some said the opening episode wasn’t quite as light on its feet – it’s proving an even bigger hit than the first, with 3.7 million tuning into the launch a fortnight ago.
Little wonder, then, that Emerald, 33, is being hailed as one of the country’s most promising talents.
Just like Phoebe, she’s a double threat – not just a writer but a fine actress, too, having bagged a part as a young Camilla in the third series of Netflix hit The Crown, which hits screens this autumn.
The daughter of jewellery designer Theo and author Louise, Emerald grew up in Chelsea, and the family also have a home in Berkshire.
She’s well-connected – close family friends include Elton John, the Beckhams and Elizabeth Hurley, while her younger sister Coco is a fashion designer whose clothes have been worn by Rihanna, Lindsay Lohan and Rita Ora.
When Emerald starred in Call The Midwife, her co-stars often attended red carpet events wearing Coco Fennell creations.
Emerald attended Marlborough College boarding school a few years after Kate Middleton, then studied English at Oxford, where she was spotted in a play and signed with an agent.
Since then she has appeared in films including The Danish Girl and Anna Karenina, while her TV work ranges from comedies Blandings and Chickens to dramas Any Human Heart and Victoria.
But it was as lesbian nurse Patsy Mount in Call The Midwife – a role she played for four years from 2013 to 2017 – that she made her name.
However, Emerald was equally passionate about writing, and would often go home to work on scripts after a 14-hour day on set.
Her first children’s novel Shiverton Hall was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize in 2014, followed by sequel The Creeper.
And her latest young adult novel Monsters has been described as a cross between Roald Dahl and Muriel Spark.
Now living in Los Angeles with director boyfriend Chris Vernon and expecting their first baby, Emerald has certainly put her taste for the dark side to excellent use with recent projects.
Her debut short film as a writer and director, last year’s Careful How You Go, tells the story of three women who indulge their taste for recreational cruelty, and stars none other than Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
Next year will see the release of her debut film Promising Young Woman, which she has co-produced with Margot Robbie, about a woman who takes revenge on predatory men.
She is also writing the lyrics for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical adaptation of Cinderella, and no doubt will draw on the darker aspects of the fairy tale.
It all makes her the perfect fit for Killing Eve. As executive producer Sally Woodward Gentle has said: “It felt like a very natural handing on.
"Emerald’s got a brilliant, dead-pan, dark sense of humour and a fearlessness like Phoebe had. When Emerald came on board she didn’t just want to do a Phoebe – she wanted to inhabit it herself – and I think she’s done that brilliantly.”
Emerald, it looks like the stage is all yours.
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