Jodie Comer profile: from Holby City to Hollywood

Jodie Comer has added another prize to her growing list of achievements, scooping a Tony award for best leading actress in the Broadway play “Prima Facie”.

It was an “overwhelming” experience, the actor said, after already winning an Olivier award for the West End version of the play earlier in the year.

Comer had been forced to halt a performance of the play last week owing to breathing difficulties “as a result of New York City’s unhealthy air crisis”, The Guardian reported. But she described her win as “surreal”.

The award is the latest highlight of Comer’s short but immensely successful career – and it “continues to go from strength to strength”, said Radio Times.

Who is Jodie Comer?

Comer was born in Liverpool in 1993, the daughter of a Merseyrail employee and an Everton FC physiotherapist. 

According to Backstage, she took “weekend drama classes early on in her career”, before winning a local drama competition at the age of 15, which threw her headlong into a lead role in a BBC radio play.

But unlike many of her counterparts, she didn’t attend a drama school. Backstage said she admitted that “there are aspects of her craft that could benefit from formal training”, but Comer said: “I don’t think talent or an instinct for acting is something you can teach.” 

“She’s doing our city proud,” the Liverpool Echo said, the paper praising Comer for “never forgetting her roots” and “making her mark”. 

Although she often faced discrimination over her working-class background, her latest successes show she “was able to prove everybody wrong”, the paper added. 

Speaking to the Mirror in 2021, Comer said she has been forced “to work twice as hard as everyone else” due to her humble beginnings, but relished the opportunity, suggesting she felt “lucky to be there”.

Soon enough, Comer was landing roles in series such as “Waterloo Road”, “Holby City” and “Doctor Foster”, but Net-A-Porter said that “global fame and critical acclaim” came when she was cast as Villanelle in “Killing Eve” – a role that ultimately secured her a Bafta and an Emmy award.

‘Remarkable talent’

Comer is “Hollywood’s next greatest chameleon”, said Town and Country magazine, heralding the star’s role in “Killing Eve” as a “delicious kamikaze mission of new accents and mannerisms”. It was her “masterful portrayal of Villanelle’s masterful portrayals” that won the actor a host of glowing headlines, the magazine said. 

Many viewers were stunned that Comer was “so damn good at seemingly every accent in the book”, said Grazia, as she seamlessly switched from Russian to French to American – masking her own Scouse accent. This talent is “further proof that the young actress can do anything”, the publication added. 

But it is her latest role in “Prima Facie” that has catapulted Comer to even greater heights. The one-woman play, written by Suzie Miller, centres on a defence barrister who specialises in representing men accused of sexual assault before she herself is raped.

After screenings of the play were shown at the National Theatre, “Prima Facie” became the “highest-grossing event cinema release ever, taking in an impressive £4.47 million”, said Digital Spy. The play then transitioned to a Broadway run with Comer remaining in the role.

The “transfixing” Comer is “just plain f***ing remarkable”, Entertainment Weekly reported. “With Comer at the centre, it’s impossible to look away,” the website said.

‘Doesn’t feel like a star’

Comer “has yet to become a household name”, said The Spectator’s Sarah Rainey last year. But “she’s got all the trappings of superstardom: killer looks, a clutch of awards and £4.5 million in the bank”.

But despite being credited with “single-handedly saving the UK box office”, Comer “doesn’t really feel like a star – or act like one”, Rainey added, opting for “the local pub” over “glitzy events”. In fact, she “still lives in her childhood home with her parents”, reported Hello!.

Soho House described Comer as “a successful actor who still panics about whether she will work again”, but also highlighted her as a “music lover” and someone “who could imagine being a food critic if acting hadn’t worked out”. 

Comer told What to Watch that she leads a “very normal life”, relying on family and friends to keep her “grounded”.

Premieres and photoshoots used to terrify her, she said, but “the more you surrender to it and not take yourself too seriously, the more enjoyable it can be”.