From Killing Eve’s assassin to Help’s broken care worker, the home-grown superstar has proved she can do anything. As she hits Hollywood, can she keep it real?

Fist bump? Quick, slappy handshake? Standoffish salute? After a brief hesitation, the actor Jodie Comer abandons 18 months of professional caution around hellos, spreads wide her arms, and gathers me in for a big, swaying bear-hug. We’ve never met or spoken before. “But I’m quite a tactile person,” says Comer, who grew up in a suburb of Liverpool and whose scouse accent, which can sharpen or soften depending on the circumstances and her level of comfort, is in full, glorious evidence this afternoon.

The 28-year-old has knocked off early from rehearsals for season four of TV drama Killing Eve, in which she plays a chameleonic assassin called Villanelle. She recently got back from an Italian film festival where her second proper Hollywood movie (an epic called The Last Duel) had its premiere. Her first proper Hollywood movie (a knockabout comedy called Free Guy) is still playing in cinemas, an ad for it plastered on the side of the bus I rode in to meet her today. By choosing a cafe quite close to her rented London flat, we’ve managed to confound her numerous competing obligations and come together for an actual tea and biscuit, instead of the video call that was originally planned by her diary-keepers.

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