- Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal Media, LLC via Getty Images)
- Phoebe Waller-Bridge took home the Golden Globe for best actress in a comedy or musical TV series at the awards show in Beverly Hills on Sunday for her role in Amazon’s “Fleabag,” adding to a bevy of awards for the series she also created.
- Waller-Bridge has written, produced, or starred in (and sometimes all three) critically acclaimed projects including “Fleabag,” the limited comedy-drama series “Crashing,” and BBC America spy thriller “Killing Eve.”
- She wrote for the upcoming James Bond film “No Time To Die” and even had a role in a recent “Star Wars” film.
- The 34-year-old grew up in London, where she attended a prestigious drama school.
- She recently signed an exclusive deal with Amazon Studios that sources have said is worth around $20 million per year.
- A representative for Waller Bridge declined to offer any details on the deal but told Business Insider that “any reports of the Amazon deal [have] been purely speculative.”
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
You probably didn’t know her name a year ago, but Phoebe Waller-Bridge is now one of the most sought-after creatives in Hollywood.
At the 2020 Golden Globes on Sunday night, Waller-Bridge took home the award for best actress in a comedy or musical series for “Fleabag,” the Amazon comedic drama she created, wrote, and starred in. “Fleabag” also won the Golden Globe for best comedy or musical series, and Andrew Scott was nominated for best supporting actor for his role as the “Hot Priest.”
These Golden Globes trophies joined an already hefty awards collection for the “Fleabag” creator that includes three Emmys. And just two days after the 2019 Emmy Awards, news broke that the 34-year-old actress and writer had signed a reported $20-million-a-year deal with Amazon Studios, though a representative for Waller-Bridge told Business Insider that any news regarding the Amazon deal was “purely speculative.”
Here’s a look at the rise of Waller-Bridge, from struggling to find work in her 20s to sweeping up some of the biggest awards in Hollywood.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a writer, producer, and actor best known for TV shows including “Fleabag,” “Crashing,” and “Killing Eve.”
She created, wrote, and starred in the comedy-drama “Fleabag,” whose first season aired on BBC Three. The series is known for its main character, played by Waller-Bridge, breaking the fourth wall by looking into the camera and speaking directly to the audience.
According to IMDb, Waller-Bridge is known for her “irreverent, mordant, and politically-incorrect humor.”
Waller-Bridge grew up in an upper-middle-class family in London, England, where she attended a prestigious drama school.
- Dave M. Benett/Getty Image
Her father founded an e-trading platform and her mother worked for a livery company, Waller-Bridge told The Guardian in 2019. She went to boarding school for a year at age 11 and later attended the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (Rada), which she’s said dealt a blow to her self-esteem.
“I went to Rada thinking I was quite a good actor and came out thinking I was appalling,” Waller-Bridge told The Guardian in 2018.
After graduating in 2006, she struggled to find work throughout most of her 20s, she told The New York Times in a 2019 interview. So she started writing her own short plays, including an early version of “Fleabag.”
She once auditioned for “Downton Abbey,” but she didn’t get the role.
She had been auditioning for comedy for a couple of years, but the “Downton Abbey” part was a serious role, Waller-Bridge told The Hollywood Reporter in 2017.
“I went in thinking, ‘I’m going to give my best, sincere, heartbreaking performance,'” she said. “… And I went in and I gave this really heartfelt audition, and when I finished, they were like, ‘We had no idea she was so f–ing hilarious!’ I had really given myself, and they’re like, ‘Oh, yeah, you’re not right.'”
In 2012, she was described as a “rising star” on London’s theater scene, appearing in the play “Hay Fever” in London alongside Olivia Colman, who later played the main character’s godmother in “Fleabag.”
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Waller-Bridge was praised for her performance in the play.
Colman and Waller-Bridge had met before the play on the set of the 2011 film “The Iron Lady,” where Colman had told Waller-Bridge, “If you ever write anything, please tell me. I’d love to be in it,” a “Fleabag” producer told Radio Times.
“Fleabag” started as a one-woman show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, an arts festival in Scotland, in 2013.
It follows a woman in her 20s, known only as Fleabag, who lives in London and runs a café. The stage version was directed by Vicky Jones, Waller-Bridge’s longtime friend and collaborator.
After the release of the show’s second season, which also starred Andrew Scott as the “Hot Priest,” it became a hit and propelled Waller-Bridge to stardom.
- Amazon Studios
Amazon Studios doesn’t share viewership data, but both the first and second seasons of “Fleabag,” which The New York Times described as “a sex comedy that is secretly a tragedy,” have a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
“Fleabag” even attracted the attention of former president Barack Obama, who listed the show’s second season in his annual list of his favorite movies and TV shows.
His choice caused a flurry on the internet for those who remembered that the first five minutes of the pilot episode of “Fleabag” include a scene where the main character, portrayed by Waller-Bridge, masturbates to footage of Obama giving a political speech.
While Waller-Bridge has said the second season of “Fleabag” was its final season, Amazon has said it would be interested in another season.
“Fleabag” dominated the 2019 Emmy Awards, taking home six Emmys, including best comedy and best directing for a comedy series.
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Waller-Bridge also beat out the likes of Rachel Brosnahan in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and Julia Louis-Dreyfus in “Veep” for the best actress in a comedy series Emmy.
But although “Fleabag” may have been what made Waller-Bridge a household name in the US, it’s not her first or only successful project.
- Channel 4
Before that, she produced, wrote, and starred in “Crashing,” a six-part comedy-drama series for Britain’s Channel 4.
She’s also a writer and showrunner on spy thriller “Killing Eve.”
- BBC America
She was head writer for season one of “Killing Eve,” which won two Golden Globes and an Emmy, among other awards, and she stayed on as producer for season two.
Waller-Bridge played a droid called L3-37 in 2018’s “Solo: a Star Wars Story.”
- Walt Disney Studios
She said that when she auditioned, she didn’t know what a droid was and she’d never seen a “Star Wars” movie.
In April 2019, Waller-Bridge was tapped to be a writer on the upcoming James Bond film, “No Time To Die.”
Bond himself, actor Daniel Craig, suggested that Waller-Bridge be brought in to “liven up the script,” The Guardian reported.
Craig later forcefully shut down the idea that Waller-Bridge was a “diversity hire” for the movie.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, interviewer Jonathan Dean said that some cynics might suggest Waller-Bridge had been hired increase female representation on the Bond writing team, which has historically lacked female writers, an idea that Craig called “f–king ridiculous.”
“She’s a great writer,” Craig said. “Why shouldn’t we get Phoebe onto Bond? That’s the answer to that.”
Possibly the biggest moment in her career so far came in September 2019, when Waller-Bridge signed a reportedly massive deal with Amazon Studios.
- Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Amazon Studios
Under the deal, new content she produces and creates will premiere exclusively on Amazon Prime Video, Insider’s Alyssa Meyers reported.
A representative for Waller-Bridge declined to offer any details on the deal but told Business Insider that “any reports of the Amazon deal [have] been purely speculative.”
“I’m insanely excited to be continuing my relationship with Amazon,” Waller-Bridge told Variety in September. “Working with the team on ‘Fleabag’ was the creative partnership dreams are made of.”
At the Golden Globes on January 5, 2020, Waller-Bridge added to her collection of “Fleabag” awards by taking home the award for best actress in a musical or comedy series.
- Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal Media, LLC via Getty Images)
“Fleabag” also won the Golden Globe for best comedy or musical series, and Andrew Scott won best supporting actor in a series for his role as the “Hot Priest.”
In her Golden Globes acceptance speech, Waller-Bridge thanked former President Obama for counting “Fleabag” season two among his favorite shows of 2019.
“Personally, I’d like to also thank Obama,” Waller-Bridge said. “For putting us on his list. As some of you may know, he’s always been on mine.”
Waller-Bridge has reportedly been living in a Victorian townhouse in the Kensal Rise area of northwest London, but she may have recently moved to New York City, according to The Daily Mail.
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The Mail reported that Waller-Bridge moved into a New York apartment with her boyfriend “to immerse herself in the Big Apple while working on a new project.”
A representative for Waller-Bridge declined Business Insider’s request for comment on her current city of residence, citing privacy reasons.
Waller-Bridge is reportedly in a relationship with British-Irish film director and playwright Martin McDonagh.
- Christopher Polk/Getty Images
The 49-year-old is the director of the 2017 drama “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” which was nominated for seven Oscars and won two: best leading actress for Frances McDormand and best supporting actor for Sam Rockwell.
Waller-Bridge was previously married to Conor Woodman, a 45-year-old director and producer from Ireland. They married in 2014 and Waller-Bridge confirmed they had separated and were planning to file for divorce in December 2017.
Waller-Bridge’s next project is an HBO comedy series called “Run.”
- Paul Archuleta/WireImage
It’s created by Vicky Jones, Waller-Bridge’s frequent collaborator, and Waller-Bridge will executive produce and appear in the series, according to IMDb.
The show, which stars Merritt Wever and Domhnall Gleeson, is about “Ruby, a woman living a humdrum existence,” who goes on a journey with an old flame, according to HBO’s plot description.
Waller-Bridge’s role in the series was announced before she inked her deal with Amazon.