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Up and Comer

‘Killing Eve’ star Jodie Comer is going places in Hollywood.
Jodie Comer Killing Eve
BBC America
By  · Published on December 20th, 2018

‘Tis the season to feel the ire of awards nominations. The contention over who gets snubbed and honored during such ceremonies is an inescapable annual affair. This year, I — along with other Killing Eve fans — are pretty damn annoyed that one of the series’ prolific stars, Jodie Comer, has been majorly left out of the awards circuit.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge‘s stunning BBC America crime drama inspires celebration across the board. Killing Eve‘s eponymous protagonist, played to exuberant perfection by Sandra Oh, has led the show to much-deserved critical and audience acclaim.

Yet, Oh’s performance isn’t the only one that keeps Killing Eve fresh and magnetic. Comer depicts a perfect chilling counterpoint. These two come in a glorious pair. That said, the Golden Globes, SAG Awards, and the Emmys seem to believe otherwise and have not been keen to acknowledge Comer’s sheer excellence in the series.

That doesn’t mean the burgeoning actress isn’t making her mark, though. Comer’s next move in the industry puts her in cinemas opposite some formidable talent. As announced by The Hollywood Reporter, Comer will co-star with Ryan Reynolds in Shawn Levy‘s Free Guy. Also joining the cast of this sci-fi action comedy are Lil Rel Howery (Get Out) and Joe Keery (Stranger Things) in supporting roles.

Free Guy centers on a background character (Reynolds) in a video game that suddenly becomes self-aware. Together with the help of an avatar named Molotov Girl (Comer), he must keep his virtual world intact by convincing the game’s makers not to shut it down.

Alongside her in-game persona, Comer would have a real-life role to play. Molotov Girl is really a “mousy programmer” offline whose original concepts birthed the game in question. Frustratingly, these ideas were stolen from her. Maybe she has a bone to pick now.

Making her Stateside feature debut against such charismatic actors is commendably brave, but I have full confidence in Comer’s ability to steal the show. Before her laudable turn in Killing Eve, she was already making waves on British TV. Comer’s first regular small-screen appearance was in a Liverpool-set crime-drama titled Justice, which aired in 2011. A few years later came My Mad Fat Diary.

I was and still am totally enamored of My Mad Fat Diary. At just 16 episodes long, it remains a crucial show starring an unconventional female protagonist. My Mad Fat Diary discusses the mental health and body image issues of a fat heroine by humanizing her experiences.

Still, that’s not all. The show is even empathetic to its other characters. For Comer’s part, she plays the leading lady’s deeply insecure best friend who — in the hands of a lesser actress — would have been easily dismissed as a two-dimensional antagonist. However, Comer’s performance is grounded, subtle, and totally human, highlighting her frenemy character’s complexities and inner turmoil.

Since My Mad Fat Diary, Comer has only continued turning in star-making performances. Thanks to the BBC, she has memorably appeared in the series Remember Me, Doctor Foster, Thirteen, and The White Princess. In the former, Comer plainly but perfectly embodies a troubled elderly care assistant swept up in a series of supernatural happenings. In contrast, Doctor Foster brings out her calculative side as a perceptive, manipulative mistress.

Thirteen takes that sense of curious allure a step further, giving Comer space to really lead a mystery thriller of her own. In fact, she is the linchpin of the entire show, in which she portrays an abductee who finally escapes captivity. And Comer’s most recent pre-Killing Eve TV venture, The White Princess, is an impressive period drama effort, showcasing the actress come of age as Elizabeth of York, the Queen of England.

Obviously, Killing Eve constitutes a peak in Comer’s career thus far. Merely an episode in and you’re captivated by how smart the writing is, how quirky and lovable its characters are (regardless if they’re friend or foe), and how its performers wonderfully bring all of that to life.

Comer is a true chameleon as the fascinating assassin who consumes Sandra Oh’s entire reality in Killing Eve (and vice versa). Beyond her outward transformations courtesy of numerous disguises, Comer’s microexpressions, shrewd stares, and unexpected warmth keeps viewers on their toes. It’s a deadly and delightful performance.

But, fine. I am willing to concede that as Killing Eve‘s second season will eventually air, Comer has time to sweep those awards. In the interim, her feature film slate ought to complement this rise to fame, and Free Guy‘s broad comedy is a fascinating step forward. Prior to this, Comer made only one feature: her debut in the very strange and underrated Morrissey “biopic” England is Mine, wherein she once again takes a character archetype and imbues it with enough inviting naturalism for it to stick.

Free Guy undeniably serves as a big leap into Hollywood for Comer. And honestly, after breezing through as many fictional characters as she has, this is one announcement that feels like a long time coming.

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Sheryl Oh often finds herself fascinated (and let's be real, a little obsessed) with actors and their onscreen accomplishments, developing Film School Rejects' Filmographies column as a passion project. She's not very good at Twitter but find her at @sherhorowitz anyway. (She/Her)