'Fleabag' Creator: We Can Be "Utterly Monstrous and Filthy" With a British Accent

Phoebe Waller-Bridge TCA Getty H 2016
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Phoebe Waller-Bridge TCA Getty H 2016

Can you be raunchier with a British accent? Phoebe Waller-Bridge suspects the answer is yes.

The creator and star of Fleabag follows’ Waller-Bridge’s London singleton — nicknamed Fleabag — as she endures the judgment of her parents and perfect sister (played by Sian Clifford) while navigating the confounding mores of modern love.

“There’s something very polite about the British accents, it’s sort of sanitizing,” said Waller-Bridge, addressing journalists gathered for summer press tour on Sunday, Aug. 7. “You can be as naughty and filthy as you like and [Americans] still think you’re very charming."

Fleabag’s sexual conquests — many of which go south quickly — are a major plot point on the show. The half-hour series is based on Waller-Bridge’s award-winning one-woman play. The overriding conceit of the show is that Fleabag addresses her internal monologue directly to camera.

Waller-Bridge explained that the device is designed to make the audience complicit with the character's often self-destructive impulses. But as the show goes on, the conceit will evolve, explained series director Harry Bradbeer. “If you watch the whole season, you’ll see that those looks to camera have very subtle changes and very different impacts. She starts to not want the camera see her at all. As the drama escalates, then that particular conceit is used in a very different way.”

Fleabag premiered in July in the U.K. on BBC Three and will bow on Amazon on Sept. 16. It is part of a fall comedy slate on Amazon that includes One Mississippi (Sept. 9), the third season of Transparent (Sept. 23) and Woody Allen’s Crisis in Six Scenes (Sept. 30). Transparent and Allen’s comedy will stream against the first two weeks of the broadcast season.