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Phoebe Waller-Bridge: 'Fleabag' is a love letter to my sister

Updated

BBC

How much is the complex sister relationship in Fleabag based on creator-star Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s own sibling experiences? A lot, she reveals in the latest episode of EW’s What to Watch podcast. 

“Oh, my God, absolutely,” said Waller-Bridge. “The kind of nuances of that relationship and that kind of complete devotion paired with intense irritability between the two of them is completely me and my sister. And we’re so, so close, and I admire her more than anyone in the world. And yet, I also know how to irritate her more than anyone else in the world. 

“There’s those moments when I think I’m just having a gentle tease with her and then she’ll go off in tears, and I’m like, ‘Whoops.’ That happened in the scene and vice versa. Yeah, I really enjoyed writing the sister stuff. It’s kind of a love letter to my sister.” 

The dark comedy, in which Waller-Bridge plays a sex-obsessed, unapologetic twentysomething trying to put her life together, first originated as a one-woman theater show in the U.K. before making its move to the BBC, then to the States last month when it premiered on Amazon.  

Since it’s American arrival, Waller-Bridge has been on the receiving end of rave reviews for the show’s extremely funny yet dark storyline. 

“I really wanted to hide a tragedy in a comedy and I really wanted to trick people,” she said. “I love the idea of disarming an audience through comedy and making them feel safe, and in turn making them vulnerable to twists and turns that they might not be expecting from a character. It was one of the most important things I was trying to maintain in the TV show.”

EW’s What to Watch also breaks down the two latest buzzy additions to HBO’s Sunday night lineup: Divorce, featuring the three-named stars Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Hayden Church, and Insecure, starring Issa Rae of Awkward Black Girl fame. To hear more stories from the Fleabag creator, like what word had to be left on the cutting room floor in the U.K. before it’s U.S. debut, listen to the latest episode below. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes to be the first to hear a new episode each Friday.