Interview with Edward Bluemel who plays Hugo in Killing Eve
Season 2 of the multi award-winning cat-and-mouse thriller 'Killing Eve' aired in the US in April and returns to the UK on June 8
What can you tell us about Hugo?
Hugo is a young, new member of the MI6 team who has walked (or blagged) his way into the job through family connections. He’s almost an intern, the whipping boy, doing all the dogsbody work. He comes from a very wealthy background with the ultimate education, having been to Eton and Oxford. He’s very intelligent and incredibly ambitious. He’s not afraid to step over people to get what he wants.
Despite being the lowest member of the team, he’s got his eyes on bigger things. His upbringing and background made it quite easy for him and he hasn’t had to work as hard as the other members of the team. People like him and find him affable, but under the surface there’s something quite dark there. He’s an interesting character as we haven’t really met anyone like him before in this show - basically a privileged posh male! He’s the epitome of what the show isn’t about, but brings a different perspective to season two.
Can you describe the relationship between Hugo and Eve?
Eve is a woman on the edge, on a knife edge. In season two you don’t know which way she’s going to go: is she going to stick with the people and life that she knows or is she going to abandon that completely for a life of excitement and drama with Villanelle?
When Hugo and Eve first meet they spend a while sussing each other out. Hugo would quite like a job like Eve’s. He respects her and sees her as an inspiration, but his way of handling things is to undermine, manipulate and charm. They are stand-offish with each other to start with and don’t give each other much time, but as they get to know each other they find similarities in their characters and establish a strange kind of connection. It’s a slow burner throughout the series as they dig deeper into each other’s personalities.
What is it like working with Sandra Oh?
She’s amazing! Sandra is brilliant, awesome and experienced. She brings a great energy to set that’s so much fun to work with. When you’re on set with her it’s almost as if you go straight into acting with Eve. It comes so naturally to her. It helps me up my game and relax into it like she does. She makes it look so easy, which is in equal measures amazing and depressing to watch! She’s inspirational to be around on set.
What is the difference between his relationship with Eve and his relationship with Carolyn?
Carolyn is on the opposite end of the spectrum to Eve. Eve’s decision-making is impulsive and emotional, but Carolyn is the ultimate professional, even to a cold and robotic degree. She’s super-efficient, incredibly detached and completely impenetrable. It means that Hugo’s relationship with her is very different. He can spot a chink in the armour with Eve, a way in, but that’s not there at all with Carolyn. He knows to respect her professionally and just do what he’s told, keeping a low profile. To Carolyn Hugo is just a clever intern, but to Eve he’s a potential threat to her position.
Why do you think Killing Eve has been so successful?
The show in general is doing something that’s never been done before which is why it’s captured everyone’s imagination. It’s taken the classic espionage, serial killer, assassin narrative, which has been done loads of times, and completely subverted it by portraying it on such a human level. It surprised everyone with that and also how hilarious it is. The main drama isn’t about big action sequences, car chases or guns, but it’s about human connection and normal conversation. That’s where the humour is.
It’s also rare to see two female leads, particularly in this genre. But it’s more than just the fact that they are female. It would cheapen it to say that is why the show is so successful. It’s that the characters are so interesting - they’re flawed and neither of them is the good or bad guy. In a strange way they’re both as bad as each other, even though on paper it may appear to be more black and white. The whole show is made up of imperfect characters. Nobody gets it right all the way through and no-one is held up to a gold standard. So often female characters in spy dramas are just there for aesthetic [appeal], to be the beautiful femme fatale, but Villanelle has so much more to her than that. She’s way more dangerous than that and way more relatable.
What would you like an audience to take away from Killing Eve?
For a genre that is sometimes considered tired or overdone, this is nothing like anything you’ve seen before. There is still something recognisable about it though. It flips everything on its head completely and it’s full of amazing characters that you can relate to. You’ll always be left wanting more, you’ll never know where it’s going to go next or what direction it’s going to take. It’s completely unpredictable.
How would you describe Killing Eve in three words?
Killing Eve is a genre-defying rollercoaster.
May 29, 2019 3:39pm ET by BBC One