Continuing with the same innovative and unique format, with three new standalone films, Murder uses personal confessions to revisit the missing moments leading up to a death, in search of the truth.
Intercut with CCTV footage, live action and forensic evidence, the protagonists speak direct to camera giving their version of events. But where does the truth lie when the different versions don’t add up?
Jessica Barden (represented by Curtis Brown) stars in in the third instalment Murder: The Big Bang, directed by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard.
Ten years ago, an off-duty policeman was killed in cold blood in a swimming-pool car park. That much is not in dispute. What has never been ascertained is precisely which one of the three armed robbers serving life for PC Prescott’s murder actually pulled the trigger.
Jess is on the final day of a sentence in a youth offender institution herself. She’s been talking with a therapist there in an attempt to resolve her issues. The therapist has promised to contact the convicted trio and ask them to consider providing Jess with the precious gift of truth. Jess is hoping against hope that she’ll find out before she leaves the institution in the morning.
The killers, brothers Whitmore and Clyde Harris, and their accomplice Curtis Kodro, each give their accounts of what happened on that fateful day. Contradictory, self-serving or warped by the passage of time, the accounts clash as often as they overlap.
Time hangs heavy on all three, as it has done for the past ten years, but slowly the sense that this night is a night of change gathers pace. Can all four find a new beginning by confronting head-on what actually took place all those years ago? Or will that terrible event demand one more life before its power can be dissipated?
Check out this interview where Jessica discusses taking on the role of Jess:
What attracted you to the role?
The idea of learning hilarious amounts of lines and sitting down in front of the camera and acting to the lens. I had never done anything like that before and I’ve not read a script for anything that’s filmed like it since. It seems like the ultimate daunting experience and it seemed that I could learn such an incredible amount from it. I thought it seemed very powerful to have a performance that depended on my face. It seemed so scary but exciting at the same time.
Had you seen the first film?
Yes, it’s just the most removed way of writing with just a face to the camera. It’s almost like doing a play where you can’t add anything to it. You can’t have a cinematographer doing something incredible and you’re not dependent on other actors and what they might do. I wasn’t going to turn up in the morning and rehearse something with another person to be prepared. It was totally reliant on how I decided to do things along with the directors, Iain and Jane, as well. It was brilliant, I absolutely loved it.
Who is Jess?
Jess is a teenager and she lost her Dad when she was a small child which she feels entirely responsible for. She’s now found herself in the Young Offenders’, torturing herself for the past ten years, thinking it’s all her fault. Her father was shot dead and there’s no justice for Jess or her family which totally turned her life around. She has all this anger inside of her and through the course of the show, with the help of a therapist in the Young Offenders’, she comes to realise that she’s allowing the people to kill her life as well.
How did you find the filming process?
Iain and Jane are brilliant. It was really daunting and I was scared before I started it. I finished filming The Outcast and I only had two weeks to learn it all. And then you go onto the set and you’re suddenly aware that all the crew are there and it’s just you remembering your lines. You feel a real responsibility. But Iain and Jane were so relaxed. We worked together to tell the story and it was brilliant. They allow each other to be wrong and to be corrected by the other person which quite a lot of other directors don’t allow. When you have directors and writers and producers working close together you can always have a clash, but they both have different ideas, and know that you have an idea as well, and are so open to trying things.
How do you think viewers will react to such a different format?
There’s nothing else like it on the television at the moment. It’s not a format that film has taken on either. People want to have entertainment and story-telling in the purest form and I think that audiences do want something different. In the past few years, television especially has gone into its own and audiences are expecting far more imaginative programmes. I hope people will find it a really interesting way of watching a story.
Jessica's episode of Murder will be shown on Thursday 17 March 9.00-10.00pm on BBC TWO.