Phoebe Waller-Bridge makes her Saturday Night Live debut this weekend, coming off the heels of her shocking victories at the 2019 Primetime Emmys for Fleabag last month. The performance guest for this week is Taylor Swift, someone who is already a household name. Hopefully, Waller-Bridge becomes a household name after tonight because her work in film and television is incredible.
Waller-Bridge, 34, was the star of the Emmys in September, thanks to Fleabag's astounding six wins. The series beat out the final season of VEEP for Outstanding Comedy Series, and Waller-Bridge stopped VEEP star Julia Louis-Dreyfus from winning Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series again.
The series also won Outstanding Writing, Outstanding Directing and Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series for the Season 2 premiere. The series also won Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series.
Read on for what you need to know about the multi-talented Waller-Bridge before SNL starts at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC.
Waller-Bridge Created 'Killing Eve'
Waller-Bridge did not just create the comedy Fleabag. She is also the creator and was the first showrunner on BBC America's hugely successful drama series Killing Eve. The series is based on the Villanelle novels by Luke Jennings and stars Sandra Oh as British investigator Eve Polastri and Jodie Comer as the assassin Villanelle.
Like Fleabag, Killing Eve has been a critical success. In fact, Waller-Bridge was also nominated for Outstanding Drama Series as producer on Killing Eve. Jodie Comer won for her performance as Villanelle. Earlier this year, Sandra Oh won a Golden Globe.
Killing Eve was renewed for a third season in April. Suzanne Heathcote will take over as showrunner from Emerald Fennell.
'Fleabag' Started as a One-Woman Show
In Fleabag, Waller-Bridge plays the title character, a London resident who can never seem to make the right choices when it comes to her social life, family life, relationships or anything else. She frequently breaks the fourth wall, frequently talking to the audience. The first season debuted back in 2016, but the second season did not debut until earlier this year.
Fleabag was originally a one-woman show in 2013 and debuted at the Edinburgh fringe festival before being performed in London, New York and elsewhere, notes Chicago Tribune. Waller-Bridge revived the show stage version for a four-week run at Wyndham's Theatre in London. The performance was filmed for broadcast by National Theatre Live.
Waller-Bridge Created the 'Fleabag' Character During a Challenge for a Friend's Storytelling Night
In a 2016 interview with Vulture, Waller-Bridge explained that her Fleabag character was born during a friend's storytelling night. She had a 10-minute slot to fill.
"It started as a challenge from a friend to do a ten-minute slot in her stand-up storytelling night, which is where this whole idea came from of doing it sort of stand-up-y," Waller-Bridge explained. "I was on with a bunch of other stand-ups, actors, and playwrights. I’ve never done that before, I never really wanted to do it. It’s terrifying, but having accepted the challenge I thought, you know, I’ve never played, as an actress, I’ve never played a part that’s just shamelessly dangerous as a woman, and she’s like, I know I’m dangerous."
She continued, "I know I’m naughty. I know I’m massively broken. But she’s going to let it all hang out. I knew I wanted play something that was in that area, and somebody who was unapologetic about desperately needing sex and affirmation. Also the need to keep moving. She’s moving the whole way through — she’s not going to stop because then the tragedy will land on her. I wanted that feeling."
She Co-Founded a Theatre Company With Vicky Jones
Waller-Bridge is also the co-founder of DryWrite, a theater company she started with Vicky Jones. Jones directed the stage version of Fleabag and has worked with Waller-Bridge on Killing Eve and the TV version of Fleabag.
Waller-Bridge met Jones when she was cast in a theatrical project that went nowhere because Jones was fired by the director. Waller-Bridge quit the project out of solidarity, notes the News Statesman.
Jones also worked with Waller-Bridge on her six-episode 2016 series Crashing.
Waller-Bridge's Next Series is 'Run' for HBO
Back in March, HBO gave a straight-to-series order for Run, Waller-Bridge's next collaboration with Jones. The series will be produced by Entertainment One and stars Merritt Wever as Ruby Dixie, who feels like a fraud because of her humdrum life. Domhnall Gleeson stars as Billy Johnson, a life guru from a wealthy Irish family. Waller-Bridge will have a recurring part as Flick.
She Co-Wrote the New James Bond Movie 'No Time to Die'
Daniel Craig brought in Waller-Bridge himself to work on the new James Bond movie, No Time to Die, to help update 007 in the #MeToo era. Waller-Bridge is the first credited female writer on a Bond film since Johanna Harwood worked on Dr. No and From Russia With Love.
"It's such an exciting story and it's just been a thrill to work on," Waller-Bridge told The Hollywood Reporter. "It's mainly about making them feel like real people, which they do in the previous films. I think Daniel's films have had really fantastic Bond girls and it's about keeping that up."
'Fleabag' Is Still Ending After Only 2 Seasons
Fleabag will still be ending after only two seasons, even after the show's surprisingly successful night at the Emmys.
"To be honest, this just feels like the most beautiful, beautiful way to say goodbye to it, actually," Waller-Bridge told reporters. "It does feel like the story is complete… It does feel right. Go out on a high. You can’t get higher than this."
Fleabag only runs two six-episode seasons, with both exclusively available to stream on Amazon Prime.
Waller-Bridge signed an overall deal with Amazon Prime to develop more projects for the streamer.
Waller-Bridge Auditioned for 'Downton Abbey' and Didn't Get the Part
Waller-Bridge revealed in a Hollywood Reporter interview that she auditioned for a part on Downton Abbey, but did not get the role.
"I went in, and I remember it was quite a serious part and I had really been auditioning for comedy for a couple of years and I was really thrilled to come in for this part, so I put my heart and soul into it," she said. "I went in thinking, 'I'm going to give my best, sincere, heartbreaking performance.'"
She continued, "It was a really beautiful scene in a church; there's a little clue. And I went in and I gave this really heartfelt audition, and when I finished, they were like, 'We had no idea she was so f—ing hilarious!' (Laughter.) I had really given myself, and they're like, 'Oh, yeah, you're not right.'"