‘Fleabag’ Hot Priest Was Inspired By This Surprising Jennifer Lopez Song

The award-winning show Fleabag may have said goodbye just as fans were truly getting to appreciate its hilarious writing and surprising depth. But we’re left with the promise of new material from the show’s creator, Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Even though Waller-Bridge has made it clear that Fleabag is unlikely to continue into a third season, she is currently working on another project: a movie she plans to write and direct. 

In just 12 episodes, Waller-Bridge was able to create amazingly flawed characters who inspired and entertained fans. Where does that kind of writing get its inspiration? Well, according to Waller-Bridge, character development can be sparked by some unusual influences. Take the origin story of the “Hot Priest,” for instance. 

‘Fleabag’ has captured audiences and awards

Phoebe Waller-Bridge arrives at the Amazon Prime Video Post Emmy Awards Party.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge | Amanda Edwards/WireImage

Fleabag is an Amazon original series that premiered in 2016. Waller-Bridge is truly the star of the show in every sense of the word.

The show itself is adapted from her one-woman play of the same name. In addition to writing the screen adaptation for the Amazon series, she also stars as the titular character, Fleabag. 

The show is irreverent and honest, praised for his dry wit and dark humor. Writing for The New Yorker, Emily Nussbaum called the main character “at once a mischief-maker and a figure of pathos.” She praises the show for its originality and for its playfulness, pointing to the tendency to break the fourth wall and draw viewers into the jokes. 

That critical acclaim has resulted in some serious awards for the series. In the 2019 Primetime Emmy Awards, Fleabag cleaned house, taking home the coveted Outstanding Comedy Series award alongside many other honors including Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, and Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series.

The 2020 Golden Globes brought on even more accolades as the show won Best Television Series-Musical or Comedy and Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series-Musical or Comedy. 

Andrew Scott’s ‘Hot Priest’ quickly became a fan favorite

One of the main plot points of the series is that the lead character is constantly dating the wrong men. In fact, her tendency to choose ill-suited suitors coined its own dating term. “Fleabagging” is the act of consistently choosing the wrong person to date. 

One of the characters that Fleabag can’t quite seem to leave alone even though he’s strictly off-limits (for obvious reasons) is the Hot Priest. Played by Andrew Scott, this character is a fan favorite as his long-running chemistry with Fleabag leads to lots of charged anticipatory moments.

Scott, who is more accustomed to playing in dramas, fills his role admirably and makes for an excellent addition to this gritty show. He also played a key part in the series finale — although it almost didn’t happen.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge revealed her inspiration for the Hot Priest

Waller-Bridge recently opened up about her inspiration for the Hot Priest—and revealed a little about her creative process at the same time. Winning yet another award for her work, Waller-Bridge thanked Jennifer Lopez for inspiring the creation of the Hot Priest’s character. 

Lopez, who was in the audience after being nominated for her performance in Hustlers, got to hear Waller-Bridge’s thanks in person. Waller-Bridge first talked about how you never know who will be inspired by your work.

Then she said: “And someone inspired this show and that’s J. Lo. I decided that the priest’s favorite song was ‘Jenny from the Block’ and it opened the whole character up for me.”

It seems that Waller-Bridge develops backstory and tiny details about her characters as a way to bring them to life. If Lopez’s famous song had never been written, who knows what the Hot Priest would have been like?