As the final season of Killing Eve unfolds, we had the chance to touch base with the show’s beloved cast. Camille Cottin was introduced to viewers as Hélène, an integral part of the Twelve’s higher management, but this season we learn a lot more about what propels her. In this interview, Cottin talks about Hélène’s attraction to Eve, her rivalry with Villanelle, and why her ultimate demise was inevitable.
Q: In this final season we get to spend a lot more time with Hélène and we learn so much more about her life. She obviously takes her job with the Twelve very seriously, but motherhood is a priority for her as well. What was it like really filling in those blanks for Hélène? Did any details about her life surprise you when you first read them in the scripts?
A: I remember in Season 3 I discovered that she had a daughter. I was told that might be her storyline and I had a discussion with Sally about it. I loved how it was brought to the story. Just when I had a meeting with Villanelle to tell her that she'd been promoted, I had to try to deal with my daughter falling from her scooter. So I thought, "This is brilliant" because it's transposing real issues into this world, which makes her deeper.
Q: The back and forth between Hélène and Eve this season is so fascinating.
A: Yes. Definitely. I think Hélène has developed something, I don't know what exactly. It's like love and death creating desire. I think that’s what their relationship is about. Hélène, she trains assassins, and Eve, she wants to become an assassin… well sort of. She’s really trying to explore her dark side but for good. The objective is to do good and to kill the Twelve. But it's true, Hélène is enjoying Eve's attempt to become someone else. And since she's a professional assassin trainer, she's enjoying that game.
There's something about Eve that's different though. It seems like Hélène keeps dealing with women who've been broken, who've endured pain, who've endured humiliation, and she helps build them up again. She gives them confidence. But the price they have to pay is expensive because then she owns them. But there's something about Eve. She's more balanced than all these women, and nevertheless there's also a dark side. Eve keeps fighting her attraction to Villanelle and Hélène has fun with that until she gets really jealous of it, I think. Hélène doesn't have a bond with anyone except her daughter, and then suddenly this woman comes into her life. At the beginning she's just having fun with her, but then there's the fantasy of a relationship.
Q: Yeah, that comes across and there's a sense that perhaps this is the first time Hélène has been face to face with somebody who's almost her equal?
A: Yeah, yeah! She's challenged by Eve and she likes it. That's what she says when we see her dating a girl in a bar, she's like, "Nobody ever challenged me."
Q: Hélène’s sense of style is definitely a topic of discussion — especially during this final season. We see everything from Western influences (her beige Western coat with studs, denim shirt, and neckerchief in Episode 3) and power suits, to designer athleisure track pants paired with stilettos (in Episode 4). Did you have any favorite looks this season that helped you ease into character?
A: Honestly, I loved them all. I loved them all. I could have left with all of them. I loved the beige coat with the studs and the jean shirt was really, really cute. I also had this gray jacket with large oversized shoulders that I loved too. Those items were offered to me by Sally and the production, under Sam’s [Perry, the show’s costume designer] recommendation. I was really happy. That was my gift when I wrapped!
Sam's amazing. She did such great work, and it was fantastic working with her because she's really working with you. She has proposals, but then she's always listening, like, "Do you feel comfortable? Is it all right?" She always had options and you could choose whatever felt right.
Q: For most of this season it’s Hélène vs Eve, but then Villanelle pops back in for her ultimate revenge. Can you talk a bit about the relationship between Hélène and Villanelle from Season 3 through this final season—it seems like a rivalry that’s deeply competitive.
A: Well, I love the saying, "raise ravens and they'll just peck your eyes out." I don't know if you know that expression. I think it's like Hélène as a toxic mother getting her final judgment. I mean, the minute Hélène talks to Villanelle like an employee, you can have a guess at where it goes, you know? In the end Villanelle will never disappoint us.
Q: How do you feel about the way that Hélène's story ends? She was such a deliciously villainous character. What will you miss the most about playing her?
A: Well, I enjoyed that she was always ahead, until she got it wrong. That's also what made it so enjoyable to play. I love when a character is being unpredictable. So you can guess from the start that her ending will not be so great… but let's see what her daughter does now. [Laughs]
New episodes of Killing Eve Season 4 air Sundays at 8/7c on BBC America, and Mondays at 9/8c on AMC. Each episode will be available to stream one week early on AMC+. Full episodes are available to stream now on amc.com, the AMC apps for mobile and devices, and a week early on AMC+. Sign up for AMC+, which is available through several providers, including AppleTV, Prime Video Channels, DirectTV, Dish, Roku Channel, Sling, and Xfinity.
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