From "Bullshit" to the new James Bond: how Phoebe Waller Bridge conquered Hollywood and why she is so cool



Phoebe Waller Bridge

The 34-year-old British actress Phoebe Waller Bridge is far from a newcomer to the cinema environment, but the general public has known her name relatively recently, after the series “Fleabag” was released on the screens in 2016. However, perhaps she would not have gained such popularity if the show had not been so successful, and largely thanks to her. Film critics praised the series, for which he has already received several prestigious awards. Last year, Waller Bridge itself won an Emmy Award in the nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy Series, and it received two awards in the same nominations at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and Golden Globe. With her talent, she conquered not only British, but also Hollywood cinema, so much so that she was invited to work on the latest James Bond film "No Time to Die". We tell how she came to success, why her name is now on everyone’s lips in Hollywood and why she was afraid that she would be called the “wrong feminist”.

Phoebe Waller Bridge in the series
Phoebe Waller Bridge in the series "Rubbish"

Biography and Education

Phoebe Mary Waller Bridge was born July 14, 1985 in West London in the family of Michael and Theresa Waller Bridge. Her mother worked for a company that manufactured furniture fittings, and her father founded the online trading platform Tradepoint. Phoebe has an older sister, Isabelle, who is the composer and wrote the music for the TV series "Rubbish", and her younger brother Jasper is the music manager. Phoebe's parents divorced when she was a teenager.

Together with her sister, Phoebe studied at the Catholic School for Girls at the St. Augustine Monastery, and then continued her studies at DLD College London in Marylebone.

Phoebe Waller Bridge

Phoebe has always been attracted to acting. Remembering her childhood, she speaks of herself as a "noisy and loud joker and sociable child." She loved to make people laugh, although she was rather shy.

I remember my mother invited her friends. I can't remember why we all talked about Superman that day, but I came up with a joke about him. I was then six or seven years old, and I thought that I needed to tell her mom right now. I told her: "Mom, I came up with a joke." Everyone must have been silent. But it was not at all funny. Honestly, I don’t really remember what it was about,

She said.

Phoebe Waller Bridge

After graduating from college, Phoebe decided to enter the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Dreaming of becoming an actress and playwright, she expected that from the first day she would begin to study this, but the first two courses of training had nothing to do with her idea about it. Her inner voice literally shouted: "Give me the script, give me the script!" But instead, the girl had to do “stupid”, according to her, acting exercises: for example, somehow she had to pair up and pretend to be animals for several months. Phoebe wanted to be a bat, but couldn’t find anyone to pair her, so she was forced to join a pair of “panthers”.

When Phoebe graduated from the academy in 2006, she believed that just being a chic girl with curly hair was enough to make a successful acting career, but in reality she had been trying to get at least some work for two years.

Phoebe Waller Bridge

But then she found her partner – the very “bat” she was looking for at the theater academy. Vicki Jones was the director of the play, in which the then boyfriend of Phoebe was involved. After one of the performances, Jones went to Waller Bridge and said that she was amazed by her beauty. So they began to work together. However, Jones was soon fired, and Waller Bridge in protest followed her colleague, who became her real friend. We can say that with this acquaintance, the acting career of Phoebe Waller Bridge began.

Phoebe Waller Bridge, Vicki Jones and Tuppence Middleton
Phoebe Waller Bridge, Vicki Jones and Tuppence Middleton


Together with Jones, she created the theater company DryWrite, in which novice playwrights wrote scripts on various topics, often of a provocative nature. It was necessary to do so in order to bring the audience to emotions: to make the audience fall in love with the performances or to rebel.

In 2009, at the age of 24, Phoebe made her debut on the stage of the London Soho Theater, playing in the play Roaring Trade. In 2011, she starred in a minor role in the movie "The Iron Lady" (The Iron Lady) with Meryl Streep starring, and then worked on TV shows such as Bad Education, Broadchurch, and others.

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The series "Cohabitants" (Crashing) she conceived, even when she was 20 years old. But he came out on screens only after she turned 30. It was a wonderful television debut: Phoebe acted as the screenwriter of the series and played a major role in it. The series tells about a group of teenagers who live in an abandoned hospital. The heroine Phoebe Lilu is largely reminiscent of her character in the series "Rubbish": she has no complexes, she is relaxed and not devoid of self-irony.

<img height = "425" width = "640" src = "” alt=”Phoebe Waller Bridge in the series "Roommates"” title=”Phoebe Waller Bridge in the series "Roommates"”/>
Phoebe Waller Bridge in the series "Roommates"

Her other successful project is the Killing Eve series, which she worked on with Vicki Jones. Waller Bridge did not appear in the frame, but wrote a script for it. In the series, starring Sandra O and Jodie Comer, the story is about a detective and a psycho killer who eventually become obsessed with each other.

Waller Bridge herself did not want to appear in the series – she explained that she felt that she did not see herself in the show. But Sandra O and Jody Comer roles in it brought victory at the prestigious film awards: the first won the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awardsand the second at the Emmy Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series.

<img height = "425" width = "640" src = "” alt=”Sandra O and Jodie Comer in the series "Killing Eve"” title=”Sandra O and Jodie Comer in the series "Killing Eve"”/>
Sandra O and Jodie Comer in the series "Killing Eve"

The series "Rubbish"

But the real success and recognition brought her the series "Rubbish", in which she played the main role and for whom she wrote the script. The show was based on the Waller Bridge play of the same name, which she wrote in 2013. The director of the production was then Vicki Jones, and Phoebe played the main and only role in it. After Phoebe showed the solo performance at the Edinburgh Festival, she was invited to the BBC to create the series.

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"Bullshit" is a comedy that is actually full of tragedies. The main character, the owner of the cafe, that same Rubbish, is trying to find her place in the world. The ironic and funny scenes of family gatherings and uncontrolled sex for one night are replaced by the Waller Bridge character's memories of drama and loneliness about her best friend, who committed suicide through her fault. The main character constantly provokes the narcissistic new wife of her father (Olivia Coleman), as well as her brother-in-law Martin (Brett Gelman). Her only close person is her own sister (Sian Clifford), who herself is rather unhappy in her personal life.

I spent most of my adult life using sex to distract from the screaming emptiness inside my empty heart,

– reflects the main character.

<img height = "269" width = "640″ title=”Phoebe Waller Bridge in the series "Rubbish"” alt=”Phoebe Waller Bridge in the series "Rubbish" "src ="”/>
Phoebe Waller Bridge in the series "Rubbish"

Phoebe Waller Bridge not only changed the idea that women in comedy should talk and how they should behave, she did a series with absurd humor about women. When watching a show, laughter replaces amazement, and then complete devastation sets in, and this can happen with the audience in just one minute.

It is also important that the characters she creates seem real, in many respects spoiled, but still attractive to the audience. They are emotionally honest and liberated sexually, while they do not feel the need to apologize for this, and this is rarely seen in female characters.

<img height = "425" width = "640" src = "” alt=”Sian Clifford and Phoebe Waller Bridge in the series “Дрянь”” title=”Sian Clifford and Phoebe Waller Bridge in the series “Дрянь””/>
Sian Clifford and Phoebe Waller Bridge in the series "Rubbish"

"Rubbish" is like a challenge to society. This is not a story about a thirty-year-old woman having to settle down, give birth to children and build a family, but about finding a way to please herself and stop sleeping with idiots. It is not surprising that Phoebe became the main subject of the feminine agenda in British and Hollywood cinema. At the same time, according to her confession, she was afraid that she would be considered a "bad feminist." When asked her character if she would have exchanged five years of her life for an “ideal body,” she answered in agreement.

<img height = "280" width = "640″ title=”Phoebe Waller Bridge in the series "Rubbish"” alt=”Phoebe Waller Bridge in the series "Rubbish" "src ="”/>

It seemed to me the most honest and frightening thing that I embodied in the show. I thought whether I was doing the right thing, that she was more likely to sacrifice the years of her life in order to have a hot body and so on, which you kind of should not talk about. But this is exactly what I felt at that moment, I considered it right. But at the same time, I had bad thoughts that I’m doing some things that go against the general idea,

She said.

This is one of the many reasons why Waller Bridge is so popular. All of Hollywood has a strange fear of portraying women in the light of their imperfection. The actress is actively trying to change the mindset of the industry, showing how spectacular the image of women in their daily lives can be. And the huge success of "Rubbish" and "Killing Eve" is proof of this.

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Waller Bridge herself admitted that she would like to adopt something from her character, for example, say what she thinks at the moment, as her heroine does.

I am angry with myself for letting things go their own way, because I prefer to be nice than to stand up for myself in an uncomfortable situation. There are fearlessness features in my characters. I really like to create such heroines who do not care what you think. Perhaps to help me become the same

She says.

The series, which had two seasons (three years passed between the first and second), won two Emmy and Golden Globe awards and one award from the Screen Actors Guild. Waller Bridge said the second season was the last. However, his finale remained open, so who knows, perhaps fans of the show will also see its continuation.

<img height = "425" width = "640" src = "” alt=”Phoebe Waller Bridge in the series “Дрянь”” title=”Phoebe Waller Bridge in the series “Дрянь””/>

Personal life and hobbies

In 2014, Phoebe Waller Bridge married director Conor Woodman, but in 2017 the couple broke up.

For more than a year now, Waller Bridge has been dating playwright, screenwriter and film director Martin MacDona, who has shot such famous films as Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Seven Psychopaths, and "To sink to the bottom in Bruges" (In Bruges).

<img height = "640" width = "425″ title=”Martin McDon and Phoebe Waller Bridge” alt=”Martin McDon and Phoebe Waller Bridge "src ="”/>
Martin McDon and Phoebe Waller Bridge

<img height = "640" width = "425″ title=”Phoebe Waller Bridge and Martin MacDon” alt=”Phoebe Waller Bridge and Martin MacDona "src ="”/>

The actress does not advertise her personal life and rarely comes out with a 49-year-old lover. Avoids questions about personal matters in interviews.

I am much bolder in my writing life,

– she answered somehow to a question about her past and current relations. They were first spotted together at the screening of his film “Three Billboards on the Ebbing, Missouri Border” a few months after Waller Bridge split up with her husband.

<img height = "425" width = "640″ title=”Phoebe Waller Bridge and Martin MacDon” alt=”Phoebe Waller Bridge and Martin MacDon "src ="”/>

Once Phoebe said that she was really delighted with McDona’s play “The Pillowman” – then the couple was not yet in a relationship.

This was the first play, after which I realized that the theater can be really exciting. Sometimes you need to see something like this, a work that will wake you up and allow your imagination to go to 17 million different places. I felt something like this after this work,

She admitted. Apparently, then Phoebe first paid attention to Martin.

<img height = "425" width = "640″ title=”Phoebe Waller Bridge and Martin MacDon” alt=”Phoebe Waller Bridge and Martin MacDona "src ="”/>

In a play that has gained worldwide popularity (production staged Kirill Serebrennikov can be seen in the Moscow Art Theater named after A.P. Chekhov), tells about a science fiction writer. He is being questioned about the eerie content of his stories and their resemblance to a series of monstrous murders of children taking place in his city. In 2004, the play won the Laurence Olivier Award as the best new play, the New York City Drama Critics Award as the best new foreign play and two Tony Awards.

MacDon, like his lover, was noted by a large number of film awards. In 2006, he received the Academy Award for Best Short Feature Film for the film Six Shooter, and also won the British Academy of Film and Television Arts more than once, won at the San Sebastian and Venice Film Festivals and on the Golden Globe.

In the movie environment, the couple are considered incredibly talented and very influential, and various companies, from Netflix to larger studios, literally haunt both of them. They say that when they arrived at the Amazon party after the Emmy Award, they were greeted with loud applause.

<img height = "425" width = "640″ title=”Martin McDon and Phoebe Waller Bridge” alt=”Martin McDon and Phoebe Waller Bridge "src ="”/>

Interesting Facts

1. Phoebe Waller Bridge comes from a fairly noble family. Her maternal grandfather, Sir John Edward Longville Clerk, held the title of Baronet and was the 12th Hicham Baronet. On the paternal side, she is a descendant of Sir Egerton Lee, who for several years was a member of parliament in Mid Cheshire during the Victorian era.

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2. She auditioned for a role in the TV series Downtown Abbey, but did not receive it.

I remember that this was a very serious role, and for several years I only auditioned for comedies. I was very excited and put my heart and soul into it. It was a beautiful scene in the church. I went in and made a very sincere audition. When I finished, they told me: "And we did not suspect that she was so damn funny!". I tried so hard, but in the end they told me that I didn’t fit,

She said.

<img height = "465" width = "640″ title=”Phoebe Waller Bridge” alt=”Phoebe Waller Bridge "src ="”/>

3. Olivia Colman gave her a real slap during the filming of one of the scenes of the series "Rubbish".

She really hit me pretty hard. This happened only once, but the blush on my cheek was beautiful. Even if you expect this to happen, it’s still shocking when an actress of the national treasure spanks you,

– admitted Waller Bridge.
<img height = "640" width = "425″ title=”Olivia Coleman and Phoebe Waller Bridge” alt=”Olivia Colman and Phoebe Waller Bridge "src ="”/>Olivia Coleman and Phoebe Waller Bridge

4. She did not know what a droid was until she auditioned for the role of a droid in the movie "Solo: Star Wars. Stories" (Solo: A Star Wars Story). In fact, she also did not see a single movie about star wars.

5. The actress does not have accounts on social networks, in any case public. Explaining the reason for his absence in social networks, Phoebe says that she would constantly feel pressure due to the fact that she always needs to make someone laugh. In addition, she admitted that she did not feel confident enough not to take to heart her entire flow of negativity from netizens.

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6.She is familiar with the Duchess of Cornwall Camille. They met at a public event, and the actress then told the Duchess, who had no idea who Waller Bridge was, about working on the series “Killing Eve,” with all, in her words, “dirty” details about the relationship of the two girls. She got a little excited until the duchess returned to her with the words "We all like this a bit, don't we?"

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7.Daniel Craig является большим поклонником Уоллер-Бридж, поэтому актер настоял на том, чтобы она приняла участие в написании сценария к последнему фильму о Джеймсе Бонде "Не время умирать" (No Time To Die), в котором он снялся в главной роли. Таким образом, британская звезда стала второй женщиной за 57-летнюю историю франшизы, которая приложила руку к сценарию фильма.

Впрочем, в картину она пришла не только из-за желания Дэниела Крейга: продюсеры фильма не скрывают того, что решили "феминизировать" знаменитую франшизу (ходили даже слухи, что знаменитого агента может сыграть женщина), а Уоллер-Бридж с ее фем-повесткой как раз должна с этим прекрасно справиться. Сама Уоллер-Бридж настаивает на том, что ее пригласили в картину не из-за ее взглядов или того, что она женщина.

Мне позвонили Барбара (Барбара Брокколи — продюсер фильма. – Note ed.) и Дэниел и сказали, что им нравится моя работа. Они спросили, смогу ли я им помочь. Но никакого разговора, чтобы помочь именно с женскими персонажами, никогда не было, — говорит Фиби.

<img height="269" width="640″ title=”Фиби Уоллер-Бридж” alt=”Фиби Уоллер-Бридж" src="”/>

8.Компания Amazon заключила с Фиби Уоллер-Бридж контракт на производство телевизионного контента. Согласно договору, годовой оклад актрисы составит 20 миллионов долларов.

<img height="267" width="640″ title=”Фиби Уоллер-Бридж” alt=”Фиби Уоллер-Бридж" src="”/>

9.По признанию Уоллер-Бридж, на написание роли персонажа Эндрю Скотта в сериале "Дрянь" ее вдохновила Дженнифер Лопес и ее песня Jenny From The Block. Фиби и Дженнифер познакомились на премии Гильдии киноактеров в этом году и явно поладили.

<img height="425" width="640" class="noclass” title=”Дженнифер Лопес и Фиби Уоллер-Бридж” alt=”Дженнифер Лопес и Фиби Уоллер-Бридж" src="”/>

10.Сейчас Фиби вместе с Вики Джонс работает над новым проектом — сериалом "Беги" (Run), который снимает канал HBO. В нем Уоллер-Бридж задействована и как актриса, и как исполнительный продюсер. Его выход намечен на этот год.


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