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Dais Johnston

'Black Mirror' Season 6's Best Episode Couldn't Have Happened Without Annie Murphy

Annie Murphy was offered the role of a lifetime — quite literally — in Black Mirror Season 6. After her breakout role in Schitt’s Creek and a tour-de-force performance in the criminally underseen Kevin Can Go F*** Himself, she brought the role of “Joan,” a normal woman who finds her life documented by a streaming service, to life.

However, that role isn’t at all what it seemed. (Spoiler alert!) Her version of “Joan” was actually Annie Murphy herself portraying the true Joan in a TV series.

It’s a strange episode to watch, but it was an even stranger episode to read for Murphy. “It felt like I was in Black Mirror when I was reading the script for the first time,” Murphy tells Inverse during a press day for her upcoming Freeform series Praise Petey. “There are so many twists along the way in that episode.”

But the biggest twist was the final one, where her role is revealed to not just be Joan, but Annie Murphy as Joan. According to Murphy, the version of the script she was given actually had her name (and the next level’s “Joan” Salma Hayek’s name) already filled in — seemingly meaning creator Charlie Brooker had her in mind for the role all along.

“Seeing my name in the script, I felt like I was being punked or something. It just felt very, very surreal,” she said. “I got to the end of the script and I had to immediately go back to the first page and start reading to try to start wrapping my brain around exactly what was going on.”

The episode cause a stir not just for its ultra-meta twist, but because of how it skewered Netflix, the very platform that produced it.

“I had so much fun doing that episode and I'm really proud of it,” Murphy said. “And just the fact I got to work with Charlie Brooker, who I think is one of the most incredible brains on earth, I'm so happy that it's getting the attention that it deserves, because so many very good people put a lot of work into it.”

After taking on such a complex role, Murphy is planning next on stepping behind the mic for a bit with both Praise Petey and the new film Ruby Gillman: Teenage Kraken, which is now playing in theaters. “It's such a fun, sweet, beautiful movie. The animation is absolutely incredible. The cast is amazing. Who knew that I would have an ocean battle with Jane Fonda?” Murphy says.

Whether she’s playing herself, “Joan,” or a literal mermaid, Annie Murphy has more than proven up to the task. While her Black-Mirror-self may be under house arrest, she’s only just getting started.

Praise Petey premieres July 21, 2023 on Freeform.

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