“I’m just a happily married writer in London,” confessed “Fleabag” creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge during her webcam chat last fall with Matt Noble (watch above). As she explained then, “Everyone just assumes I’m rolling backwards out of nightclubs clinging onto the trouser legs of men I’ve never met. They are all surprised and slightly disappointed.”
This multi-talent was just nominated for Breakthrough Personality by the Royal Television Society. She contends against the 2015 “Great British Bake Off” champ Nadiya Hussain who revisited her native Bangladesh in the documentary “The Chronicles of Nadiya” and first-time filmmaker Phillip Wood for “Chasing Dad: A Lifelong Addiction.”
On”Fleabag,” Waller-Bridge plays the title character as someone who navigates relationships, family and raising a pet guinea pig in the wake of a personal tragedy. The actress talked candidly about how she uses sex and comedy to cope: “She manages to control her life and her sense of personal value through sex. She’s not prudish at all and she uses it as a weapon of confidence. If she knows someone wants to have sex with her or she’s having sex, in that moment in her life, she can relinquish control of everything else. This is because she feels validated and in control.”
Waller-Bridge went on to explain that “by the end of the season you’re hopefully watching the overflowing confession that that’s her weakness. It’s sort of playing with the idea that a ‘liberated’ sexually confident young woman, that is considered a ‘cool thing,’ can actually be more complicated.” In terms of delivering these ideas through comedy, she says that “audiences make themselves so vulnerable when they laugh. They forget for a moment they are there, with mouths and hearts open. I kept thinking that if I can get an audience to do that; I can punch their heart when they’re not noticing. The more I can make them laugh, the more I can make them cry. That was kind of the aim.”
As to how her real-life is like the one seen on “Fleabag,” Waller-Bridge revealed, “I found I was writing a character who used comedy to deflect a lot. And, although I’m lucky enough to not have to deflect the kind of horrible searing pain that she has, I was slightly unnerved by how easy that came to me. That I could just make a little joke and run the fuck away from a situation.”
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