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'Killing Eve' star Fiona Shaw: Opportunities improving for women

By
Karen Butler
Fiona Shaw (L) and Sandra Oh in a scene from Killing Eve. Season 2 of the show is to begin Sunday. Photo courtesy of BBC America
Fiona Shaw (L) and Sandra Oh in a scene from "Killing Eve." Season 2 of the show is to begin Sunday. Photo courtesy of BBC America

April 7 (UPI) -- Harry Potter alum and Killing Eve star Fiona Shaw said a media spotlight on diversity and more platforms for content are translating into better opportunities for women artists.

"It is happening. I would also say, 'Why hasn't it happened before now?' It's taken a hell of a long time," the 60-year-old Irish actress told UPI in a phone interview Thursday.

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While plenty of other stories, particularly about minority women, haven't been properly told yet, there has been an increase in projects created by and starring women.

"People have discovered that you can float a season or a show or a film or a story on women characters. You do not need a superhero or an anti-hero to be the centrifugal force of a narrative," she said.

Shaw's comedy thriller, Killing Eve, which begins its second season on BBC America on Sunday, is an example of a female-led enterprise that is wildly popular with critics and viewers.

The show follows Sandra Oh as Eve, a former MI5 analyst whose boring life in London is turned upside-down when she becomes obsessed by Villanelle, the psychopathic, but adorable, globe-trotting assassin played by Jodie Comer.

Shaw portrays Eve's boss, Carolyn, a woman with her own delicious secrets.

Season 1 ended with a jaw-dropping finale even Shaw isn't sure the show can top.

She won't give away many details about the second season other than to confirm it picks up shortly after Eve and Villanelle confess their mutual affection, and Eve stabs Villanelle in the abdomen.

"More things will happen and you'll understand the people more and you'll be more deeply involved with them, we hope," Shaw teased.

The show's shifting tones and quirky characters reflect the reality that nobody is any one thing.

"That is the joy of playing it and, I hope, the joy of watching it," Shaw said. "The plot holds you, but actually the celebration of human variation is endless."

The actress wasn't acquainted with Luke Jennings' Codename Villanelle novellas -- published between 2014 and 2016 -- before she signed on to the series.

Reading the books before the cameras started rolling probably wouldn't have helped, anyway, since writer-producer Phoebe Waller-Bridge retells the stories using her uniquely authentic, hilarious and female voice.

Shaw equates Waller-Bridge's adaptation of the tales to smashing "into them like a meteorite."

"She has just added this contemporary stave of music to the whole thing -- the music of her voice and her wit and her immediacy and her glamor," Shaw said. "It's a transubstantiation into something else."

The actress enjoyed speaking Waller-Bridge's words so much on Killing Eve that she agreed to do a guest spot on her Amazon sitcom, Fleabag.

However, despite their successful working relationship, Waller-Bridge is so busy with her various endeavors Shaw hasn't gotten to know her well.

"I totally love being her friend, but she is hardly around," Shaw laughed.

Waller-Bridge can be seen starring in the stage version of Fleabag in New York. She also plays the lead in the TV version of the show.

Shaw's other credits include True Blood, Lizzie and Mrs. Wilson.

Killing Eve airs Sunday at 8 p.m. on BBC America.

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