Danish actor Kim Bodnia has played characters who you’d never want to meet in a dark (or light) alley, but his uproarious laugh over the phone communicates otherwise. Fortunately, on Killing Eve, he’s able to let several sides of the same assassin-handler character fly. With Konstantin, viewers often don’t know exactly where his loyalties lie first and foremost, and that’s how Bodnia likes it. When it comes to being Villanelle’s primary handler, though, their surrogate father-daughter relationship somehow remains steadfast, as unlikely as that seems when she does things like, you know, shoot him. Now, Konstantin’s third-season arc is leading to more cunning maneuverings as his professional and personal lives threaten to collide, and his showy phone juggling is only the beginning of dealing with The Twelve’s whims.
We’re not sure whether Konstantin can keep managing his delicate balancing act, but if anyone can survive this series, it’s probably him. Similarly, Bodnia’s adept in the art of longevity. He’s been rolling around on film and TV screens for over two decades after breaking out in Nicolas Winding Refn’s 1996 directorial debut, Pusher, and he’s best known for his four-season stint on Scandinavian noir series The Bridge. He’ll also soon appear in The Witcher‘s sophomore season as Geralt of Rivia’s mentor, Vesemir, a different kind of father figure that fans can’t wait to see. For now, though, Bodnia was kind enough to talk with us about Konstantin’s third-season reunion with Villanelle and how they just can’t quit each other.
Your character in the book did not survive very long. Somehow, he’s still kicking, despite a few close calls, which is nice.
I’m so happy for that, too! It was a lovely surprise in the first season that they continued rewriting — so Konstantin was going through the season — because I was hired in to do five episodes. Thank god that everybody loved the relationship between Konstantin and Villanelle, and that paid off, so everybody wanted to see more of that relationship. And it seemed like it happened again in Season 2, and that’s why I’m in Season 3, isn’t that great?
Villanelle shot Konstantin and Eve, yet they both live. It feels like when she shoots someone that she loves, she can’t get it right. Does that seem accurate?
Yeahhhh, it does. But I was nervous when she pointed at me the first time because she was pointing at my head, and that’s against the rules. And the second time, thank god, she was pointing down, and I had a bulletproof vest on, and I was very fond of that. The second time when we reconnected, and she ran against me, and I could see that she had a knife, I tell you that I got scared! And thank god she didn’t stab me. You’re probably right, it seems like she’s not a good killer when it’s people that she loves, and I can only be happy for that. So, I can’t complain.
They also seem like the most stable relationship in each other’s lives.
Yes, I agree. I think, from the beginning, it was very more important for me to react to Villanelle as if she was my daughter. And it has always been the case that Konstantin that really lives Villanelle somehow and really wants to take care of her, and [that comes through in] the idea we had in Season 1 — that Konstantin was training assassins in how to react through senses and feelings so that they can survive any kind of situation when they are on the job and dressing as another person. And through this kind of work, I think they have a special relationship. But it’s definitely not like a daughter because I can’t be safe with her. I mean, Konstantin can’t.
There’s a wonderful scene this week where she surprises him in his bed.
Oh yes, that was scary! [Laughs]
And he’s got some actual family stuff going on, too. Where does his work-life balance stand now?
It was a balance to find out what direction they wanted to go within Season 3, and how to deliver the work through the eight episodes, but the world is crumbling down around Konstantin. When he has those personal issues around his family, they’re not fun. But as an actor, it’s wonderful to work with, and it gives a lot of positivity to show a lot of sides of the character that, normally, I can’t do. When they put me in these different and difficult situations, I had a lot of fun.
Can you tell me what his intent is with Villanelle right now?
Well, of course not! [Laughs] He’s kind of a double spy, so it’s difficult to say something about his plan. It’s also difficult because where at a point where, with every episode, new things are coming in, and in the first episodes of Season 3, he doesn’t know where he’s going, and Konstantin doesn’t know what way all of the departments are going to react to what’s going on right now. And what’s going on with personal stuff, so we can say that [he has knowledge about a case] that he knows that Villanelle will find out. So he conveys the information to her because Konstantin has work that he wants her to do, and that’s the case that he uses to get her back on track with that knowledge, to get her back into working with him.
Do you find out where Konstantin’s going week-by-week?
We have a wonderful meeting before we start shooting where we have an opportunity to meet with the writers and producers to talk about the way that Konstantin could move, and they are telling me what way they’re looking at it. And before we’re shooting, they tell me how to work as an actor through the season in accordance with the way the show should run. So I know what direction it’s going, but you never know! It can change, like whether I’m alive, so I’m always open for suggestions and a new way of going, and it’s always exciting. I like that kind-of movement that we have together in this type of business. That’s very funny to work with.
The head writer changes each season on this show. Do you ever sense any type of difference in the flow of language?
I often have a concern about the whole idea of the show and how it’s going to run out. How new writers are coming in, how they are putting their new ideas and their own lives into the story? For me, I just join that type of co-creation.
Going back almost 25 years though, we’re almost at the anniversary of Pusher, which is a really great action-crime, street-level movie.
Ahh, that was kind of a one-shot. It was perfect timing, and we all had great energy. We all wanted to work with the new system of video cameras that was coming into the distance. We could move around with that kind of camera and make it more natural, integrated on the street level. That was perfect for how we were wanted to work in the future. So for us, at the time, it was fantastic. The equipment that we have now is developing all the time, and I really love it every time we have possibilities to change the way we are doing things and keep on doing that. And I’m just happy that when you have success at the right time, the right moment, it can still go on. It can still be a show that people can watch and enjoy. That’s fantastic.
And decades later, the technology now sees YouTubed clips of you blazing down a street and landing in water.
Yeah, it was perfect. At the time, I was a really fast runner, and the cameraman had to be behind on a motorbike to get the right speed, and it was fantastic. You can only do that when you have that type of camera, so that’s an example of what we could do at that time, and jumping in the sea was very fun.
BBC America’s ‘Killing Eve’ airs on Sundays at 9:00 PM EST with simulcasting on AMC.