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“I think it takes a while to eventually get to a point in your career where you can actually make a choice and after a decade of my life on a show, I had enough economic power to be able to say no,” Sandra Oh told The Hollywood Reporter’s Drama Actress Roundtable of what made her sign on as the lead role in BBC America’s Killing Eve after her time on Grey’s Anatomy, which earned her a Golden Globe for best performance by an actress in a supporting role in 2006. “Those four years were like active waiting. I was not not working really in here [motions to gut] to be able to figure out what the right thing is and what it is to say no and what it is to say yes.
“It’s like falling in love. Now, what I realize is I have a bit more awareness, a little more consciousness, I want this out of a relationship and I’m just going to wait until they show up because I feel like they’ll show up.”
For Oh, while she had to make “a lot of shifts” in her mind about taking on the role of Eve Polastri, what ultimately made her say “yes” was Killing Eve’s showrunner and executive producer, Phoebe Waller-Bridge. “It was the character and Phoebe’s voice that I thought, ‘This is the right thing for me. This feels right to say yes.’”
She explained the differences between the choices an actor gets in the beginning of their career and after years in the industry.
“I think we’ve all had to, along the way, make our decisions of, ‘Well this is crappy but I got to eat’ to then the point of going, ‘OK, how do I want to influence the storyline and how do I, let’s say regarding other people who do not have as much power, how do I influence the casting on the show? How do I influence the people behind the camera on the show because now after all this time, I’m able to say something?’
“If you still want to work as an actor and be creative and empowered as an actor, I swear you can still do it.”
Killing Eve premiered in April on BBC America. The full Emmy Roundtables air every Sunday on SundanceTV beginning June 24 and on THR.com the following Monday. The full Drama Actress Roundtable starring Oh, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Thandie Newton, Elisabeth Moss, Angela Bassett and Claire Foy airs Sunday, July 15, on Sundance TV. Tune in to THR.com/roundtables for more roundtables featuring talent from the year’s top shows.
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