Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Making a Murderer ; Following Success with the Missing, Brothers Harry and Jack Williams' New Thriller Asks What Everyday People Are Capable of When Pushed to the Limit. the Writers, and Some of the Ensemble Cast, Tell SUSAN GRIFFIN about New Drama, One of Us

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Making a Murderer ; Following Success with the Missing, Brothers Harry and Jack Williams' New Thriller Asks What Everyday People Are Capable of When Pushed to the Limit. the Writers, and Some of the Ensemble Cast, Tell SUSAN GRIFFIN about New Drama, One of Us

Article excerpt

Juliet Stevenson, Joanna Vanderham, Julie Graham, Georgina Campbell, Joe Dempsie, John Lynch and Gary Lewis are members of two families who must decide whether to take revenge for the WHILE the phenomenally successful series The Missing, starring James Nesbitt, was being shot in Belgium, writing brothers Harry and Jack Williams were already busy working on their next thriller.

"We talk about it for as long as it takes, a really, really long time," says Harry of their creative process. "We talk about what the themes are, and the characters, and where it could go. It's 90% talking and plotting and figuring out how it might work."

The result this time is One Of Us, a dramatic four-part tale set against the brooding backdrop of the Scottish Highlands.

"After doing eight hours of The Missing, it was exciting to do something with a different pace and feel," notes Jack. "As you'll see from the first episode, it's quite intense and a lot happens."

SIDESTEPPING THE UNEXPECTED THE story begins with the brutal murder of Adam and Grace, childhood sweethearts who've just returned from honeymoon.

Where many dramas focus on the investigation, the action revolves around their two devastated families, neighbours in a remote part of Scotland, and what happens when the murderer crashes his car on their doorstep the night after the killing, leaving him at their mercy.

"As a viewer, you're conditioned to expect certain things," notes Jack. "Making grief an important and palpable part of it, and getting inside the perspective of these families puts a new spin on it."

Harry adds: "We wanted to explore some different themes, and we were talking about retribution and the law, and trying to put the audience into the heads of these characters who are pushed to a really unimaginable place, and what people are capable of."

STORMY TIMES JOANNA Vanderham, who made her name in The Paradise, plays Adam's sister Claire. "She's very much the moral one, and is constantly surprised and shocked by how the people she's closest to react to what's happened," says the Scottish actress.

Recalling reading the script for the first time, she adds: "I was never at one point ahead of the plot. I was chasing the story as I read it."

Joanna reveals she felt she was "blagging" her audition, however. "I was not wholly confident I could do it. Then I got the job, and every day you think you've not to let this wonderful company down," she continues. "And grief, especially, is a very specific form of sadness. You never want to play a scene with a generic sadness."

But despite the challenging subject matter, there was "a lot of time [spent] messing around" on set. Not least when shooting the storm scenes: "We had these very sexy waterproofs under our clothes to try and protect us. They didn't work... As soon as you bent down, the rain went down your back, so you were in a balloon of water. …

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