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‘Killing Eve’ star Fiona Shaw predicts social distancing will produce ‘enormous creativity’


NEW YORK, April 12 (UPI) — Killing Eve star Fiona Shaw says she hopes social distancing practices brought on by the coronavirus pandemic ultimately will result in an explosion of art, introspection and self-improvement.

“The best of people will become better during this time,” the 61-year-old Irish actress told UPI in a recent phone interview.

“They will write that novel or memoir, or they’ll study something or they will learn a language or take drawing classes like I am doing — or Pilates,” she said. “I’m sure it will produce enormous creativity. … Being still has got to be good for us.”

But the Harry Potter, True Blood and Fleabag alum also wonders if art being created before and during the pandemic will be relevant post-isolation.

One way she suspects storytelling will change is that the focus will move from technology to biology as the new monster.

Calling the coronavirus a “slow natural disaster,” the actress noted the subsequent closure of public and cultural institutions as a means of preventing its spread will profoundly impact millions of people.

“Obviously, there have been huge natural disasters in the world, but they’ve always affected one place and one group of people,” Shaw said.

“It’s a tragedy even if we succeed with it,” she added. “That must be shivering the timbers of humanity that we are all such a danger to each other. I just hope the creativity will be answering that new world when we come out of here. We won’t be the same.”

Shaw said she is glad Season 3 of her black comedy Killing Eve is “packed and ready for you to enjoy” during this challenging and lonely time.

“It is useful now, isn’t it, to have things that are diversionary and intriguing and entertaining,” Shaw said.

The BBC America series stars Jodie Comer as globe-trotting assassin Villanelle and Sandra Oh as Eve the MI6 agent obsessed with bringing her to justice.

Shaw plays Eve’s mysterious and multitalented supervisor Carolyn.

Season 3 — which is set to debut Sunday — picks up six months after Carolyn fires Eve and then Villanelle stabs Eve, leaves her for dead and vanishes.

In the season premiere, Carolyn once again is in trouble with MI6 because a mission went sideways.

“She spends so much money and she is always trying to fix something her way, not the official way,” Shaw said. “Carolyn is a maverick, and institutions both need and hate people like that. She is never quite everything people want her to be.”

Viewers will learn more about Carolyn’s family, including her son, Kenny, this season.

“You will certainly get more domestic scenes, which I think will be exciting. Mainly, she has been in offices, and you’ll get to see her at home more,” Shaw said.

Depicting a dry-witted woman who is full of surprises and unlike herself is also delightful for the actress.

“Humor is something I’ve always loved playing, but, in this instance it is a really peculiar corkscrew humor. The audience really don’t know whether you know you are being funny,” she said. “It’s just wonderful to play this particular chord, this strange chord that keeps shifting.”

So far, for the show, she has learned to speak Russian and fence.

“I keep trying to say, ‘Please [write in] the things that I do well,'” she laughed, declaring she knows how to ride a bicycle.

Since she began social distancing, she also has learned how to realistically draw the human eye.

“If you suddenly see Carolyn draw an eye, you know it came from now,” she said.

Shaw said she thinks Season 3 showrunner Suzanne Heathcote — a British playwright who lives in Los Angeles — has brought added depth to the series and gives the characters more colors to play.

“It’s got beautiful structure and in some ways is very serious,” Shaw said of the fresh episodes. “The audience get a chance to spend more time with those people, but things do happen. So, get ready!”

Killing Eve creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge first pitched the role of Carolyn to Shaw by gushing that she had seen her play Madea on stage when Waller-Bridge was 12.

Shaw said she was surprised the writer-producer connected the two characters, but was flattered to be courted by a talented artist who was mastering her skills.

“It is beautiful to be included in that generation’s writing,” Shaw said.

Season 4 of Killing Eve had been scheduled to begin filming in late September, but it is unclear whether that will be possible in the aftermath of the pandemic.


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