Where are they going? Where have they been? – Jodie Comer
Lisette Reed examines the career of Jodie Comer so far, starting from her breakout role in My Mad Fat Diary to acclaimed performances in Killing Eve and Free Guy
Born in Liverpool, Jodie Comer is renowned as one of the top actresses in the New Wave of British Cinema and Hollywood, best known for her role as Villanelle in Killing Eve, as well as Millie Rusk in Free Guy. Her abundance of work in a variety of genres highlights her natural talents, as well as her intense attention to intricate details of a script but where did she begin? And where will she go next?
Comer first appeared on screen in 2008, in an episode of The Royal Today and from there emerged into the spotlight with a range of one-episode roles in TV Shows, such as Waterloo Road and Casualty. However, her first breakthrough role was that of Chloe in Channel 4’s My Mad Fat Diary. Playing Rae’s best friend, Jodie Comer’s performance highlighted the struggles of the teenage years and wanting to feel as mature and grown-up as possible. She appeared in 16 episodes, with her character arc covering subjects such as relationships with older people, teenage pregnancy and abortion. Overall, the show tackled very serious topics, for example eating disorders, mental health in young people and relationships, but its ability to depict the lightness of teen years, through its Britpop soundtrack, is what made this show one of the most impactful teenage dramas of the 2010s. Comer’s performance is dramatic and intense and it’s clear why this role shot her into the spotlight and landed her a BAFTA nomination.
After working on My Mad Fat Diary, Jodie Comer continued working on many mini-series including BBC Three’s drama Thirteen, which got her nominated for Leading Actress at the BAFTA TV Awards. The show focused on a 26-year-old woman, Ivy Moxam (Jodie Comer), who escapes a cellar after being imprisoned there for 13 years. The show was immediately a hit, however though audiences demanded another series, creator Marnie Dickens stated that it was intended to be a “one-off”. After this role, she took on the title role in The White Princess, as well as many others, until she landed Kate Parks in Doctor Foster. In her 9 episodes, she played Kate Parks, taking on the part of ‘the other woman’. Her performance was gripping, emotional and incredibly detailed.
Comer’s performance as the eccentric killer defies traditional ideas of femininity and explores the lesbian relationship between Villanelle and Eve, giving the LGBTQAI+ community a new form of representation.
Above this, Jodie Comer’s most famous performance was her lead role as assassin Villanelle in BBC America’s Killing Eve. The show follows the cat and mouse relationship between Villanelle and Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh), a British Intelligence Investigator. Comer’s performance as the eccentric killer defies traditional ideas of femininity and explores the lesbian relationship between Villanelle and Eve, giving the LGBTQAI+ community a new form of representation. With an LGBTQ+ show dominating the BBC, Comer’s work encouraged the creation of many TV shows centered around queer relationships, including Gentleman Jack. Though the show has now ended with an arguably disappointing ending, Comer’s impressive performance and her ability to morph into multiple characters landed her an abundance of awards.
Many memorable roles of hers since have included Free Guy, The Last Duel and her memorable and exceptional performance in Channel 4’s Help, as care home worker Sarah. As well as her on-screen work, Comer recently performed on stage at the Harold Pinter Theatre in the one-woman show Prima Facie.
In the future, Jodie Comer is set to star in The End We Start From, an upcoming survival film with Benedict Cumberbatch – the movie hasn’t set a release date yet, but is likely to come out in the later part of the year or early 2024. Her past performances, and future ones, have impacted the future of British Cinema and Hollywood and she has proved time and time again that she will be a household name in years to come.