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Meet The Australian Director Behind ‘Killing Eve’

From the Venice Film Festival to shooting in London, Shannon Murphy is set on world domination.

Worldwide, viewers have been captivated by one of the most thrilling – and fashionable – TV series to hit our screens, of course we are talking about Killing Eve. The show has garnered a cult-following, not just for its high-fashion wardrobe or the global game of high-stakes cat-and-mouse, but for the infamous seductive tension oozing from the leading ladies Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh.

Deep into its third season, the award-winning series has watchers delving deeply into the psychology of its dynamic and complex female characters, and who do we have to thank for that? Just a selection of hand-picked directors who’ve created a distinctive and sophisticated series that has fans begging for another 50-minute episode. One director in particular is our very own Shannon Murphy, who was at the helm of directing episodes five and six of the new season.

No stranger to the industry, Murphy began her career directing plays such as The Age Of Consent, My Name Is Rachel Corrie and Bliss. These titles put her on the map, and cemented a love for experimental theatre and new Australian writing. “I was always given those kinds of projects rather than your big classics that have been tried and tested a million times, they are guaranteed success in many ways, but majority of them are written by men so I am not bothered by them to be honest. I will be happy to die not watching another fucking Hamlet,” laughs Murphy, who disagrees with the notion that to be an intellectual creative one must admire the classics. And after watching her work we agree.

With an impressive list of iconic television credits behind her – home-grown dramas such as Love Child, Offspring, On The Ropes and Sisters just to name a few – and featuring in Variety’s Top 10 Directors to Watch in 2020, it was no wonder the Killing Eve producers watched her debut film Babyteeth and loved it. “They contacted me soon after watching the movie and offered me the job, which for me was a complete coup. I was so excited, not only because it’s such a tantalising story, but for how popular it is in Australia.”

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Shannon Murphy with ‘Babyteeth’ actors Eliza Scanlen and Toby Wallace

Suddenly, fresh off the red carpet premiere for her film in Venice, she found herself flying straight to London to start work on the series. “It is daunting when you go to another country to work with a team of people you’ve never met, but the vibe on set is really family orientated and the creative community was so embracing and supportive,” describes Murphy, who slid into the team of big-shot actors. “They are both [Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer] extraordinary and in very different ways,” she says. “Jodie is an amazing chameleon and the world has not seen anywhere near as much as what she’s capable of which is exciting. She is going to be on our screens for a very long time.”

In episode five fans are exposed to a unique viewpoint of the eccentric and enigmatic female assassin, played by Comer. “Without spoiling it, we will see a deviation from the norm that will give you a personal insight into Villanelle’s longing to feel connected with her family,” explains Murphy, who uses Villanelle’s costumes to reflect the character mood and disguise her in many ways. “I was a little disappointed that her outfits are not as couture in my episode, because she is trying to camouflaged and blend it. But there is an apron that she wears that when put on is quite childish and creepy. I have a feeling it will be a bit of a Halloween costume this year.”

Villanelle’s wardrobe is not the only trend we are yet to see Shannon Murphy is a name we will continue to hear, especially with her next project, directing the forthcoming series adaption of Naomi Alderman’s bestselling novel The Power, which like most things, is currently on hold, but once up and running we will most definitely be taking a closer look at it. Stay tuned.

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