Some artists creep onto your radar, and some emerge suddenly and take over your entire screen all at once. It’s the inverse of the old adage – now you don’t see them, now you do.
This has been the case for actress and writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who within two years’ time has risen from obscurity, to a hit Amazon series, to the largest movie franchise in history.
…she’s making damn good stuff…
You should know about Waller-Bridge (henceforth referred to as PWB) not only because of her mad-dash up the television and cinema ladder, but because she’s making damn good stuff while she’s at it. She’s adept at balancing the smart and funny with the thrilling and tragic – not an easy set of tones to juggle.
With this in mind, let’s dig in to PWB’s three most prominent works to date.
Fleabag: An Amazon Original Series
Fleabag began streaming on Amazon with little fanfare in 2016. At the time, PWB had a number of credits to her name, but she was still flying under the radar. This show changed all that.
Originally produced for the stage before being moved to the streaming-screen, the six-part first season of Fleabag instantly established PWB as a razor-sharp writer and talented actor.
It tells the story of a young, sexually frustrated woman who is coping with the recent loss of her best friend. As she attempts to keep her café (for guinea pigs—you’ll just have to watch for yourself) afloat, she grapples with the misadventures of dating, the agonies of impending financial ruin, an over-achieving sister, a complicated relationship with her doting but doltish father and sexually prolific step-mother, severe depression, and important questions pertaining to the size and accessibility of her asshole.
The show is arguably flawless. It is somehow hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time, and it never misses a beat.
And I’m not the only one who thinks so. Fleabag has a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes, and it has been picked up by the BBC for a second season. Check out the first season now to get caught up, and look forward to the next sometime in 2019.
Killing Eve: BBC America
Speaking of the BBC, PWB’s involvement with what is perhaps the most-watched network in the world goes a step further as she is also writing for Killing Eve, the first season of which is airing on BBC America now.
This sort of thriller seems to come far out of left field after the dark comedy of Fleabag, but you can see PWB’s touch. The writing is concise and talented and funny as hell.
Killing Eve is a spy-assassin story that is genuinely both thrilling and funny at the same time. A quick synopsis: Eve (played by Sandra Oh of Grey’s Anatomy repute) of the British intelligence service MI6 is recruited to help take down an international assassin of unimaginable talent and brutality. This assassin is a young woman who is plagued by a series of complicated issues (besides her obvious psychopathy), and as she and Eve play what begins as a rather typical cat-and-mouse game, her motivations become increasingly difficult to comprehend as the two form a growing bond.
As for things coming out of left field…
Solo: A Star Wars Story
PWB jumps the rails again by starring in the Han Solo origin story as a droid called L3-37.
After I discovered Fleabag I couldn’t wait to see what she’d do next. I never saw this coming, but as a devoted, lifelong Star Wars nerd, I couldn’t be happier.
Her sense of comedic timing is perfect for the increasingly tongue-in-cheek tone of the renowned series. And as her most high-profile work to date, it’s likely to help propel her on to great things.
Her sense of comedic timing is perfect for the increasingly tongue-in-cheek tone of the renowned series.
In two years, Phoebe Waller-Bridge has spanned Amazon, BBC, and Star Wars – three of the largest platforms in the history of media. It’s not hard to see why, as the quality of her work speaks for itself.
So check out Fleabag (six episodes is an easily digested binge), start in on Killing Eve, and I probably don’t have to remind you to see Solo. It’s worth getting caught up on PWB’s career now, because with hits like these, we’re going to see a lot more of her.
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