Floppy hair. Cheeky smile. An accent that falls somewhere between teasing and suggestive. It’s a trio of qualities you’re going to see everywhere on TV this year, because all three belong to British actor Edward Bluemel. You may recognize Bluemel from Netflix’s breakout winter hit Sex Education, where he plays Maeve Whitley’s (Emma Mackey) devil-may-care big brother Sean. Or you spotted him in the saucier trailers for Killing Eve season 2, premiering April 7 on BBC America and sister network AMC. And then there’s his vampiric turn as Marcus in modern fantasy drama A Discovery Of Witches, which already premiered in the U.K. and certain AMC-owned streaming services. Discovery will now follow Killing Eve on linear American TV.
That means back-to-back Bluemel supporting roles every Sunday night this spring. We told you he’s everywhere.
So, it only made sense to call up the British up-and-comer to chat about his biggest year yet and quietly winning, chicken-heavy Instagram feed. Keep reading for juicy Killing Eve season 2 details (get ready to meet Bluemel's posh MI6 agent Hugo), a full explanation on what’s going on in the supernatural, sexy Discovery Of Witches, and, yes, an update about whether Sean will ever return to Maeve’s trailer in season 2 of Sex Education.
Edward Bluemel: “It was amazing and quite daunting at first. I’ve obviously been aware of her for years. But she’s so experienced and confident in what she does that when I walk on set as a relatively inexperienced, new actor, it’s really nice to be able to have somebody who is so assured. Instantly, that rubs off on me and the other younger actors. You feel really comfortable.”
What did you know about your character Hugo when you joined Killing Eve?
“I was told when I joined that I was going to play this young intern who comes from a very privileged background. He comes in right at the bottom of MI6, and he is determined by any means necessary to get to the top. He is sort of manipulative, he’s clever, he’s quick, and he’s quite cutthroat as well.”
“Hugo is working with a character named Jess (Nina Sosanya), in a different department of MI6, on a different investigation [from the one we saw in season 1]. They’ve been working on it for a little bit of time before you meet them.
“Eve comes in as sort of an expert because they think they’re dealing with another powerful female assassin who is completely opposite to Villanelle. She’s discrete and professional and never makes a meal of [killing]. It brings the opportunity for Villanelle to meet her match.”
Hugo is immediately cheeky. Sex Ed's Sean and Discovery's Marcus are also cheeky. Were they all written cheeky as cheeky characters, or is it you?
“I still haven’t gotten to the bottom of this. I think it’s a combination of those. They’re definitely all cheeky characters. Quite a lot of it’s on the script page. But I think I’ve been lucky enough to get the parts because I feel I’m suited for them. I find it much easier to play these roles who are just generally quite annoying. But they’re a lot of fun.”
Hugo asks Eve and Kenny (Sean Delany) a really inappropriate question almost immediately. Could everyone keep a straight on set for that or did they half to edit out some giggles?
“It got a good laugh at the absurdity of the situation. Because Hugo knows exactly what he’s doing in the scene. It’s a great intro to his character, someone who’s very sexually open, very confident.”
How does Hugo view Eve’s very blatant obsession with Villanelle?
“He sees it as a sort of chink in Eve’s armor, since Eve is normally so unflappable and very good at her job. Hugo sees this as a way to weasel his way in and get inside her head. And, at the end of the day, he just finds it fun. There’s a line further down [in the season] where he says he’s in this business for the same reason as Eve: He doesn’t want to get bored.”
Switching gears, what do you think American audiences need to know about Killing Eve’s follow-out show, A Discovery Of Witches?
“It’s a fantasy drama that’s a little bit different from what people have seen before ... Here, you’re seeing vampires and witches in a way that you’ve never seen them — completely blended into our reality. They could be among us right now, that sort of thing. It’s really fun, romantic, and exciting.”
The vampires often talk about consent when turning someone. Were you surprised how much consent comes up in a show about supernatural creatures?
“Yeah, I’ve never really thought about this. But it’s good the creatures practice that as well. That’s a good message to send.”
Yeah, if possibly murderous vampires can do it, so can everyone else.
“Exactly. And I think that’s a good way to live your life — with that motto in the back of your head.”
You’re also in Netflix’s Sex Education. Are you coming back for season 2?
“It’s all very up in the air. It’s being written, and I have no idea. I would love to, but it would be strange if Sean did [return]. Because the whole point is that he comes and goes. So he can’t come back too often. But I would happy for the writers to make him come back.”
And, how would you describe your Instagram aesthetic?
“I have a lot of fun being silly and posting ridiculous stuff that sometimes annoys my mum. I think that’s good. If you’re not annoying your mom, then you’re doing a bit wrong.”
Do you have a favorite Instagram post?
“I was filming Discovery Of Witches in South Wales, and near there is this iconic small seaside town called Barry Island that's famed for being a holiday destination in the '60s. It’s now sort of rundown. But it’s strangely bleak and beautiful.
“On a day off, I went there on my own, in February, in horrendous weather, to see what it’s like. It was completely, actually dead. I did a tour of it and got strangers to take photos of me. There’s a compilation of photos of me in Barry Island looking as uncomfortable as you would expect being photographed in February by strangers. But it was a lovely day and good memories, and I think people quite enjoyed the content.”
This interview has been edited and condensed.