17 year old Londoner Bel Powley (represented by BWH) stars in the first episode of new ITV three-part thriller Murderland, opposite Robbie Coltraine. Bel was featured as one of Screen Daily's Stars of Tomorrow 2009.
She is best known among teenagers as one of the leads in the CBBC spy series MI High, but this year Powley broadened her fanbase with her performance in Polly Stenham’s Tusk Tusk at London’s Royal Court which she starred in alongside Toby Regbo.
Playing a damaged 14-year-old, Powley wowed the critics with the power of her acting, at once hilarious and heartrending. It was, she says, emotionally and physically draining. “With TV you don’t need to think about the process too much, it’s all about instinct,” she says. “But with the play, we spent five weeks discussing the characters and how they would behave.”
"In Murderland I play Carrie Walsh. One night Carrie arrives home to discover her mother brutally raped and murdered. Carrie is only 13 years old and has no family nearby. She is quite a shy and insecure person and has a best friend called Jess who is more daring and wild. Jess drags her to a party but Carrie just follows her around. It is after the party when Carrie returns home that she finds her mother dead. She becomes obsessed with what happened to her mother. She doesn’t give herself time to grieve and throws all her emotion into her obsession. She thinks she is some sort of Miss Marple!" says Bel of her character in Murderland.
Carrie becomes obsessed with Robbie Coltrane’s character, Detective Inspector Hain., as past secrets come out.
"It was great working with Robbie. At first I was scared because he’s so well-known, but I knew that having done Harry Potter, he must be good at acting with young people. He was amazing and we got on really well. Although Murderland is quite serious, off camera we were happy and telling jokes all the time. Robbie Coltrane is hilarious!"
"It’s a dark subject matter and at first I didn’t realise how much that would affect the filming. It was intense and quite draining because I had quite a big part full of emotion; the main things Carrie does throughout are cry and run. I got very used to crying on demand!"
"'Murderland’ is the physiological term used to explain Carrie’s behaviour. Even though it might not be a real term I think it is something real, especially for someone like my character, who is just 13 when it happens."
"When I got the part in Murderland I was doing a play at the Royal Court called Tusk Tusk. I was playing a young 13 year old girl who had just lost her mother. I brought my experience of that role to Carrie’s character.
After filming Murderland I went onto film Victoria Wood’s Christmas Special. It was a nice contrast to Murderland and really good fun. I have just completed my AS levels so now I’m going to take a few months off to concentrate on my A levels!”
Also look out for Yasmin Paige, currently filming Submarine, as Carrie's best friend Jess.