How To Write A Villain Like Villanelle from Killing Eve (And read the Pilot)

Wednesday 19 September 2018

Killing Eve boldly landed on our screens recently, and quickly gathered a significant fan base. It truly isn't like anything else I've ever seen on TV, which is why I think there are more than few important writing lessons we could all learn from this very modern drama & HOW to write such an interesting villain.

Not Your Typical Villain

Villanelle is not your walking cliche expectation - she is not portrayed to be mentally unhinged nor does she fill the usual status of femme fatale. 

It's unusual for the viewer to be introduced to the protagonist as a villain - we start the journey with Villanelle and see the world through her eyes. 

  • Villanelle is very much aware of the murders she commits, and openly seems to enjoy the bloodlust. She is also very aware of her femininity and sexual power, but does not exploit these traits. She is a ruthless assassin that happens to like looking good while doing it!
  • As a viewer, you might even say (in some scenes) she comes across as quite sweet and unassuming - when she tells the young boy to hide - before delivering a swift cold warning and reminder to the audience -  to stay quiet or she'll kill him too! DON'T MESS!
  • Villanelle portrays likeable character traits but mixed with her dark sense of humour (pretending to overdose) AND the fact she's a cunning assassin makes for an uneasy  and INTRIGUING watch. 
You just NEVER know what she's going to do! 

Equal Opponent/Not So Different

 Villanelle and Eve are two opposing forces - however it's insinuated they could have more in common than we realise. 

  • They are total opposites - Villanelle lives a thrilling and dangerous existence, she likes the finer things in life and calls the shots. Eve on the other hand is timid in comparison, almost given up/ into her existence in her job and in her marriage. She is content, but could there be more to life?
  • With the arrival of Villanelle, it causes Eve to shake up her life and how she sees herself and the role she is currently 'playing' in her own life.

Loveable Persona/ Deadly Skills

Villanelle is relatable to the audience because she represents what we all wish we could have a bit more of or be - both materialistic and literally. 

She isn't afraid to do whatever the hell she wants to do! 

  • Villanelle is charismatic which makes her journey all the more exciting, we shouldn't really like her as much as we do because she is deadly, manic and psychotic. YET we're entranced by her! 
  • A great villain is one that entices the audience to battle with their own conscience.

HOW can we like a character than can be so evil? HOW do we relate to somebody so ruthless? 

Because they are unapologetic about being bad! 

Fancy reading the pilot script over at Script Slug?

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