Fleabag actor Phoebe Waller-Bridge: The character comes from a very deep place within me


I can’t take credit for the script or characters. They feed into each other. Its like being on a train that’s moving too fast. The moment that audience feels safe and comfortable, you have to disrupt it. The morning can start out with us being a chaste princess, and by the afternoon we can be the Gremlin whore. It was really hard. Many directors, they care about what you see, he cares about what you feel. Popular Photos

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You breaking the fourth wall is the one salient features of the show. The ending of Fleabag was quite unusual. We can be celebrated and at the same time do things that are potentially unforgivable. That will be the final part of the triptych. She also was not liked much initially. It was critical, as I wanted to create something I hadn’t seen before, especially that interplay between the audience and the creator. Advertising

I helped polish the script. Then we let the audience decide. It felt like the biggest relationship to me. It’s been an amazing experience to help with a film like this, and to see first hand how this kind of a movie is made, with the sheer passion involved. Though there are times, when I am not acting, I am like ‘God I wanna act’, and when I am acting, I am like ‘give me a little room where I can write’. 0
Comment(s) But oddly, that ending where she doesn’t end up with him, seems the best one, as she could now survive without the need to perform any more. I wanted the audience to be drawn in, so I could share with them how personal it all was. My best friend helped develop the play, and then we got Harry Bradbeer as the director. A friend had asked me to do a 10-minute thing, and I had been thinking a lot that I haven’t played a dark character that sort of wheels me, a woman in her mid-20s. In the second season, she is almost caught in that act. Because then you are in the character and looking at it at the same time. It’s been pouring out of me, this need to project multi-dimensional women as we are. More Explained

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You are also a screenwriter and have developed the critically acclaimed series, Killing Eve. You have also worked on the script of the upcoming unnamed James Bond film. I feel, weirdly, that it felt less brave to not do that now. I have my directors to thank massively. Fleabag was first staged at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe. The one that is left now, is to direct, and that feels like a good mix of it all. It’s also great as you get to accost the whole thing. We are all very different things in the same day, and at the same time. Be it talking to other actors for Killing Eve, talking to designers or acting in Fleabag. It’s always the same focus, all a bit unifying. Is it autobiographical? How was the transition from the stage to the screen? It was very specific to the one-woman show that we did. One always asks the story how it needs to end. That idea that I might be caught in the act — it gave me goosebumps — had cropped up even before we knew that we would have a priest in the mix. I wanted the audience to be lured in, to come with me and enjoy this time, I promised that it will be fun. And aren’t we all a bit of everything? Advertising

A fellow from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), Waller-Bridge, in a telephone conversation from London, explains why her character kept breaking the fourth wall, and why women can be everything they want to be. But I think, now, especially women, are so relieved to have this new template. Excerpts:
Fleabag, the protagonist, is tragically whimsical and apologetically staunch. How do you switch gears, from an actor to a writer? And she became this model of that cynicism for me. All because of their relationship with her. Advertising

There’s a certain bravado to Fleabag. With Fleabag, we thought that was the right one. He really cared about the heart. We wanted to get the same vibe and sense to the screen. And at the end of the play, when there was this big reveal, they are looking in the eyes of the character, and the audience is feeling betrayed and conflicted. I think they keep moulding into the same thing, making sure that the most truthful and surprising version of the story is presented. I feel people have been scared to write characters like these. It’s not autobiographical, but it’s very personal, and the character comes from a very deep place within me. There were many fantasy endings in my mind. You don’t have time to think about it. I had to put my money — there was no money at point actually — on this instinct, which is quite cynical.