'Killing Eve's Sean Delaney on Playing Kenny: 'When I Got the Role, I Wasn’t Carolyn’s Son at All'
Sean Delaney has become known in the U.S. through playing the quirky, fan favorite role of Kenny in the breakout series Killing Eve. We first met Kenny in season one, when he was brought in to work with Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) as a MI6 tech whiz.
As the season progressed, it was revealed that he's also the son of Carolyn Martens (Fiona Shaw), the head of MI6 and he and Eve's similarly eccentric boss.
Neither Eve nor the audience had any idea that the two were related. And as it turns out, their characters weren't even originally written that way.
Our sister blog AMC Talk had a chance to chat with Delaney, and he delivered some surprising news. Apparently, he was signed on to play Kenny the computer hacker. No more, no less. He explains how his character's backstory evolved, noting that, "When I got the role, I wasn’t Carolyn’s son at all. I was just Kenny the hacker who stayed in the office and didn’t have any personal relationships with anyone."
Wait, what? Come again? He goes on to explain, "So this is why Phoebe Waller-Bridge has won all the awards: It was my first or second day filming with Fiona, and I had made the choice of having Kenny be very emotionally restrained and a bit emotionally inarticulate."
And, it turns out Shaw was doing the same, with him going on to say, "And Fiona was doing that cool, steel-edged acting that she’s brilliant at, and I remember Sandra had a little giggle after one of the takes and joked about how we looked like mother and son."
Apparently a light bulb went off, with Delaney recapping what transpired from there, "Phoebe was listening on her headset, and ran over, I mean ran onto set, and asked Sandra to say what she’d said again. Then Phoebe went off and about an hour later, after a couple of phone calls, came back and was like, 'You’re mother and son, but don’t change anything.' Because the idea was that they could be mother and son without giving anything away emotionally."
The two were really dedicated to maintaining a disconnect on-screen, paying attention to how far apart they were from one another and how often they even made eye contact.
In season two, Kenny continued to work with Eve, holding down the fort in London. And, how does his character fare in season three? At the start of it, good. He has a new job out from under his mother's thumb as an investigative reporter, and he's still looking into The Twelve. But, by the end, things take a shocking turn...
In the full-length AMC Talk interview, Delaney elaborates on his character's storyline, working with the cast of Killing Eve, and some of his favorite Kenny moments.
Like, this one:
We don't want to spoil anything, but if you're keen to learn more about that Kenny scene we're hinting at, you can check out our play-by-play of the first episode here. Or, watch the full episode over at BBC America.
Killing Eve airs Sunday nights at 9pm EST on BBC America.
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