It won't be business as usual for Eve (Sandra Oh) and Villanelle (Jodie Comer) in season three of Killing Eve.
Suzanne Heathcote (Fear the Walking Dead) takes the reigns as showrunner of the BBC America/AMC drama at an explosive time for the series. The season two finale ended with all of its core characters in opposition -- and oh yeah, Villanelle actually tried to kill Eve.
As Heathcote tells ET, her vision for the season was to challenge our beloved characters and explore the consequences of all they had suffered through in season two. Following showrunners Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Emerald Fennell, the writer also challenged herself to "honor" the show as it was before she stepped in, but still embrace a new direction.
"You’re so aware of how loved the show is, that it’s such a phenomenon and that people really have the show close to their hearts. It's like you’re holding this very precious thing, and you’re like, 'Oh god,'" she jokes of helming the series.
"But then the challenge is you just have to forget that, in a way," Heathcoate continues. "I've been a playwright for many years, and they used to always say, 'You can't write for the audience. You just have to write for the story that's exciting you and that you want to tell.' So, at a certain point, you just have to let go of your certain inhibitions and really delve in and just go for it."
In an interview with ET, Heathcote opens up about her goals for season three, what's in store fore Eve and Villanelle after their dramatic split and whether Eve -- like Villanelle believes -- is a killer at heart.
ET: What was your vision for season three? What did you want to accomplish?
Suzanne Heathcote: It was so interesting going into this season, because so much has happened to the characters in seasons one and two [and] there was no time jump [between them]. It all happens within a very short period of time. So, I really felt like we needed to take a minute and just take stock, look at the consequences of what happened and honor that -- emotionally, practically and professionally. What does that mean for each of our main characters? Where does that really leave them? And, in honoring that same work, we've kind of taken this interesting and new [direction]. And also, I wanted to just bring in new characters to just create new dynamics and kind of challenge our existing characters in new ways. So, those were the things that were sort of first up initially.
This show has such a specific style. Was it easy for you, as someone who watched and enjoyed the first two seasons, to adapt to that style?
For each of us in the writers' room, we certainly think of the titles and sound effects that came with it. It's so specific, the style of the show, and that's such a great thing. It means you can visualize it as you're writing it. And the production team is so amazing that you can hand these scripts over and they're brilliant at just molding it into that style of the show. It's a combination of those two things, but it was really fun writing things, kind of visualizing that style in your head. It made it very fun to write.
The season two finale split up both Konstantin (Kim Bodnia) and Villanelle and Carolyn (Fiona Shaw) and Eve -- and then, of course, Villanelle shot Eve. So, how are we going to pick up with those relationships in season three?
I guess you'll see the consequences of season two, and what that's done to our characters in various elements of their lives. But hen at the beginning of season three, something happened early on that causes them to all get on board, something that none of them imagine, and is beyond all of their control. That's such a vague answer, but it has to be. Actually, horribly vague. (Laughs.)
Throughout seasons one and two, Eve walked this line between being fascinated by female killers without being one herself. But that changed at the end of season two, thanks to Villanelle. Villanelle seems to think Eve is a killer at heart. What do you think?
I spoke to Sandra about this in-depth -- crazy -- but the beginning of season three, I almost felt that Eve believes that the world is better off if she removed herself from it. She's sort of a dangerous person, capable of dangerous things, you know? And I think that what was so brilliant about season two is that the end of that is actually the glamour of what she'd been drawn to in that violence and the reality of it were two very different things. I think people fantasize about doing something and then actually when you do the thing that you fantasize about, it's a very different reality. And I do think that was true with Eve, and the shock of that is what really had a huge impact on her, and the knowledge that she is capable of real violence. It's something that she can't deny anymore. I think that's partly why she, at the beginning of season three, has removed herself from everyone.
How would you describe Villanelle's journey in season three?
I think Villanelle is really about her understanding more of herself and what makes her tick. So, we get to get a glimpse of that journey with her, and really go in deeper with her this season. She remains enigmatic and mysterious, but we definitely get to pick between the layers of what we see in the first two seasons.
We have so many new cast members this season: Danny Sapani, Harriet Walter and Gemma Whelan, to name just a few. What can you tell us about how these new characters are going to shake things up?
Yeah, I'm really excited about bringing the new characters, and I thought all of them in their own way challenge our existing characters and challenge them as people, and that was something that was a lot of fun. With Dasha [Walter], I was really interested in a woman that Villanelle, albeit very begrudgingly, gets as close to respect as she could. She's known Villanelle, and helped mold her, and so that past relationship is something that you could really build on.
And with Gemma [who plays] Carolyn's daughter, having a character's daughter who is so different from her, and the challenge that brings to Carolyn, especially what she has to deal with this season, we had a lot of fun playing with that, really building things up. And the same thing with Danny's character, Jamie, and Eve, someone who would just call Eve out and not let her get away with all that. He sees her brilliance but he also calls her out at the same time and kind of challenges her in the right way. So, it was really good fun just building these dynamics, and we were so lucky with our actors. It was just a joy, handing the script over to them and doing such great work.
Season three of Killing Evepremieres Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on BBC America and AMC.