“We’re all flawed, but perfectly human, and nothing captures that like this show,” says Sian Clifford about “Fleabag,” for which she earned an Emmy nomination for Best Comedy Supporting Actress. The series explores the life of the title character (played by writer, producer and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge) and her family as they navigate their messy relationships. While Clifford seems to have her life together as Fleabag’s sister Claire, we learn in season two that she has her own insecurities to work through. Watch our exclusive video interview with Clifford above.
For starters, Claire is married to Martin (Brett Gelman), a spiteful alcoholic. “Her and Martin have reached the point of no return where they’re just sort of in their own way tearing into each other,” Clifford explains. She doesn’t think their relationship started that way, but their marriage eventually curdled into resentment “because it’s been failing for a long time … We all have blind spots. We are all guilty of remaining in situations that do not serve us for far too long.”
There’s also a new man in her life — named Klare (Christian Hillborg), coincidentally enough — so Claire is also starting to open up to the possibility of falling in love again. At the end of the season we’re left wondering what exactly the future holds for Claire and her love life. This was probably the last season of “Fleabag,” so there may never be a definitive answer to that question, but what matters to Clifford “is that Claire is willing to start making choices for herself … That she chooses herself I think is a really important message to be sending women at this moment in time.”
We first meet Klare in the third episode of season two, which is the episode Clifford has submitted for Emmy consideration, but it’s Claire’s relationship with Fleabag that most appealed to the actress about that installment. “That was my favorite stuff to film,” she says. “I felt in my element, as Claire was in hers” while the character struggled to make arrangements for a ceremony honoring an influential businesswoman (Best Comedy Guest Actress nominee Kristin Scott Thomas). But “the reason I chose it is that I love that opening. It’s like 10 minutes of Claire and Fleabag … Claire is thriving in that environment, and it was so funny to film,” she says.
There’s also an impactful moment near the end of the episode when Claire tells Fleabag, “We’re not friends, we’re sisters.” We don’t get to choose who we’re related to, and sometimes we love our family members more than we like them. “It’s a theme that runs through it,” says Clifford. “That’s something we can all relate to.”
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