‘Fleabag’: Phoebe Waller-Bridge Says This is The Real Reason Her Character Talks Into Camera
Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s television series Fleabag, an Amazon Studios/BBC Three production, first aired in July 2016. Waller-Bridge wrote and produced the series and stars as the title character of Fleabag. The critically-acclaimed comedy-drama finally returned in March 2019 for a second season, which gave us a precious gift in the form of actor Andrew Scott: the hot priest. Fleabag won several Emmys in 2019, including Outstanding Comedy Series. Waller-Bridge won for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.
One of the most distinct and comedic aspects of the show is Waller-Bridge’s use of talking straight into the camera. Her character Fleabag breaks the fourth wall and performs to the audience in between conversations with her friends and family members. Waller-Bridge explained in a recent interview why she chose this acting technique.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge revealed why her character Fleabag speaks into the camera
In November, Waller-Bridge did an interview for The Guardian in which actors, directors, writers, and other professionals wrote the Fleabag creator questions, and she wrote in her replies. The result was a fascinating look inside the mind of Fleabag the character, and of Waller-Bridge as a writer and performer.
“I enjoy Fleabag, but worry that it’s largely because I over-identify with the victim stance,” Philippa Perry, a psychotherapist and author wrote Waller-Bridge.
“Was this the plan? To exasperate the victim/blame culture?”
Waller-Bridge denied she even had an agenda.
“No, I didn’t really have a plan,” she replied to Perry. “I like stories where you can see the fight in someone.” The writer went on to explain exactly why it is her title character is constantly breaking the fourth wall and speaking directly to the audience.
“Fleabag was always performing for the camera to distract both herself and the audience from her misery,” Waller-Bridge wrote. The performance comes from a darker place than the comedy of it seems to imply.
“Her drive was to entertain you, so she could never allow herself to be a victim for fear of boring you,” she explained.
Waller-Bridge also dished on the season 2 cast, including the hot priest
“Did you ever consider an ending where the Priest – I refuse to call him Hot Priest – said yes?” playwright Jack Thorne asked Waller-Bridge.
“May I clarify that I never scripted him as Hot Priest!” she explained in her answer about Andrew Scott’s now-infamous character.
In Fleabag Season 2, the priest whom Fleabag’s father and step-mother hire to officiate their wedding becomes Fleabag’s morally-tricky sexual interest. Despite the scandalous nature of the relationship, the internet completely swooned over the fictional man of the cloth. The secret behind the allure?
“That was the good work of the internet meeting Andrew Scott’s impossibly intense charisma,” Waller-Bridge wrote. She also admitted she almost wrote the season 2 finale with a different conclusion.
“There was an idea for an alternative ending, but I’ll never say what it was,” she wrote. We’ll have to live out that ending in our dreams.
Will ‘Fleabag’ get a season 3 on Amazon?
Tragically, Waller-Bridge told reporters after the 2019 Emmys that neither the hot priest nor Fleabag will ever grace our television screens again.
“To be honest, this just feels like the most beautiful, beautiful way to say goodbye to it, actually,” she said of the second season. “It does feel like the story is complete … It does feel right.” Waller-Bridge seemed to imply she simply couldn’t top the last season.
“Go out on a high. You can’t get higher than this,” Waller-Bridge told the press. The writer and actress is off to bigger and better things, although she’s welcome to talk into the camera–and dive straight into our hearts–again anytime she wants.