Leeds actress Gemma Whelan "star-struck" to join cast of Killing Eve
Leeds actress Gemma Whelan has said that she was "star-struck" to join the cast of Killing Eve.
The Game of Thrones actress, 38, makes her debut in the third series of the BBC America spy thriller as Geraldine, daughter of Carolyn Martens, the enigmatic MI6 chief played by Fiona Shaw.
Whelan described her character as "emotionally fluid" and "a bit of a drifter".
She told Radio Times: "I'd had a few near-misses with a few jobs, and I was feeling a bit despondent.
"I was saying: 'Oh God, please let this be one that lands.' I was completely thrilled when they called me and said it had gone my way.
"This is the acme. There is nothing like Killing Eve. And whoever I worked with on the show - which I don't dare speak about - I was really a bit star-struck by."
Asked whether there were any twists in the third series, she said: "Yes. Massively.
"When we did it at the read-through, there were audible gasps. It's quite shocking. I can't wait for people to see it."
Whelan, best known as Yara Greyjoy in Game Of Thrones, said the HBO fantasy drama had changed how women were represented on screen, for the better.
She said: "When I started out, I wasn't really woke to the idea of female roles being big, small or whatever.
"I was just grateful to get work. Game Of Thrones really did change things in terms of how women are written and represented.
"Obviously, it was a fantasy, but the women were painted very realistically nonetheless.
"Maybe not the murdering side of things, but they were independent and capable of running the show.
"But nowadays, a huge part of the writing process is making women front and centre.
"But that's not to say that we should forget there are some brilliant male-led things out there, like Succession. There's space for all of us."