Did Jodie Comer Learn Russian? What’s Villanelle’s Accent in Killing Eve?

In ‘Killing Eve,’ Villanelle — murderous shortcomings and all — remains a favorite among the fans, with Jodie Comer’s stellar embodiment of the character even earning the actress widespread critical acclaim. Over its four seasons, the show revolves around a Russian assassin, Villanelle, and an MI6 operative, Eve Polastri — two women who remain suspended in each other’s orbit through damning obsession and infatuation. The series follows the duo across several misadventures, with the manipulative strings of MI6 and The Twelve, an elusive organization, looming over them.

Through it all, Villanelle’s character presents a fascinating exploration of a psychopathic killer, delving into her intriguing desires. As such, the distinct accent that Jodie Comer dons for the Russian assassin only serves to add more intrigue to her. For the same reason, viewers must be interested in learning more about her linguistic background and how it evolved for her performance in ‘Killing Eve.’

Jodie Comer and Villanelle’s Linguistic Diversity

Even though Villanelle’s international assassin disposition demands a certain multilingual flair from the actress portraying the character, Jodie Comer, a native English speaker, is not actually multilingual herself. In fact, as shared by the actress in a humorous anecdote during a conversation with Grazia Magazine, she initially may or may not have lied about her multilingual abilities while auditioning for ‘Killing Eve.’ Comer joked about the same and said, “You always get told if, in an audition, you get asked if you can ride a horse, you say yes, even when you can’t— so that’s what I did with the languages.”

Consequently, most of the languages Comer speaks as Villanelle in the English crime drama show, including the occasional Russian, are the results of extensive rehearsals and practices. Considering Irina Kara, a Russian actress— who even has a small appearance in the show— worked as the Russian Dialogue Coach on set, it’s safe to assume she must have aided Comer in her venture into the Russian language as needed. Likewise, depending on the narrative, the actress worked on other languages — German, French, and Italian (to name a few) — to bring the role of worldly Villanelle to the screen with authenticity.

“[But] That was equally terrifying but the exciting part of playing her [Villanelle],” Comer stated, affirming her appreciation for even the challenging aspects of her character. However, as consistent as Villanelle’s equipment of multiple languages remains throughout the show— her thick Russian accent remains even more prominent and perpetual. Nevertheless, Comer, a Liverpool native who sports a noticeable Scouse accent, effortlessly carries her character’s Russian accent — to the point that people are often confused to learn she isn’t actually Russian herself!

According to the Liverpudlian Actress, her knack for picking up accents stems from her and her physical therapist father, Jimmy’s long-held habit of imitation. “It comes from growing up,” she said. “Me and my dad— if there was an advert with a silly voice on, we’d always impersonate it around the house just joking around.” Furthermore, rather than being a hindrance, the Russian accent actually helped the actress portray Villanelle better by offering a distance from the latter’s wicked ways. Comer spoke about the same and said, “When I’m doing my own accent, I find it harder to separate myself from the character. I don’t know why.” She further highlighted the lack of a Scouse accent in media as a possible reason and said, “You also don’t see many Scousers on the telly, so maybe we need to change that up a bit!”

Read More: Killing Eve: Is Hotel Atlasov a Real Russian Hotel?