Fleabag actress and creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge certainly had her hands stuffed with Emmy statuettes on Sunday night. At the 71st annual Primetime Emmy Awards, the rising star earned three trophies for her work on the British comedy-drama. She won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series, and Outstanding Comedy Series. Yes, she impressively wrote, executive produced, and starred in the wild and irreverent show. 

While the first series of Fleabag did not receive any attention from the Emmys in previous years, this second series raked in a whopping 11 Emmy nominations, winning six in all. Eight-time acting winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who won the lead comedic actress category each year since 2012 for her performance in Veep, was predicted to win this time around yet again; however, English actress Waller-Bridge defied those predictions. (The remaining three Fleabag awards went to director Harry Bradbeer, casting director Olivia Scott-Webb, and editor Gary Dollner.)

Starring in the title role, Waller-Bridge portrays an angry, disillusioned, young woman with impeccable manners and an intensely hedonistic side. She often breaks the proverbial fourth wall, speaking directly to the camera. Despite the character coming apart at the seams, many viewers describe laughing hysterically at the black humor throughout the series.

Accepting her awards, the 34-year-old actress said, “It’s just really wonderful to know and reassuring that a dirty, pervy, angry, messed-up woman can make it to the Emmys,” referring to her Fleabag character.

Waller-Bridge originally came up with the idea of the emotionally unfiltered, self-obsessed character of Fleabag after being challenged by a friend to create a sketch for a 10-minute routine in a stand-up storytelling night. Then, Waller-Bridge took that material and created an outrageously funny one-woman show first performed in 2013 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, winning the Fringe First Award. 

Between 2013 and 2019, Waller-Bridge has performed the play in Underbelly, Cowgate, Salisbury Playhouse, SoHo Playhouse, and Wyndham’s Theatre—proving Fleabag to be a hit in New York City and London.

“My original inspiration was to say the things that I feel like women normally only say in the shadows,” she shared in an interview with Broadway World just before a run of sold-out shows of the Fleabag play in New York. “We sort of pretend that we’re innocent and adorable and like these perfect little creatures, but actually we have many, many other layers.”

From there, Fleabag was adapted into the Emmy-winning Amazon series. Waller-Bridge is determined to have the Fleabag storyline stop with the second series, as she believes the show has arrived at its “natural end.” However, she admitted she dreams about bringing Fleabag back in about 16 years, when she’s 50 years old.

Still, this is not the end of the line for Fleabag. Indeed, National Theatre Live, which routinely live broadcasts notable productions from the London stage, and sometimes from Broadway, plans to bring the original one-woman play to the silver screen. So, stay tuned.

Waller-Bridge is proving herself to be quite a creative force in the entertainment industry. Her snowballing credits include creating, writing, and starring in a British sitcom Crashing (2016); she was the showrunner, writer, and producer for the first season of the BBC America spy thriller series Killing Eve based on the novels of Luke Jennings; she lent her voice to the droid L3-37 in Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018); in March 2019, Waller-Bridge co-created and will have a recurring role in the upcoming comedy series Run which HBO ordered in March 2019; and her writing skills were recently called upon to add some humor to the screenplay for the 25th James Bond film No Time to Die (2020).

Congratulations, Phoebe!

 

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