Interview: James Nesbitt, The Secret

the_secretHas everyone recovered from Line Of Duty? No? Well tough, because the crime drama wheel still keeps spinning and tonight on ITV (Friday 29th April) there’s an intriguing-looking new three-parter starting up, which is based on a true story. James Nesbitt and Genevieve O’Reilly play Colin Howell and Hazel Buchanan – two married characters who start a destructive affair, ending in murder. We managed to get hold of an interview with James Nesbitt, which you can read after the jump.

The Killing Times: How hard a role was this for you?
James Nesbitt: It was hard in the sense that this was a love story, and a murder story. They were in love and so that had a big part of our story. Genevieve’s very compelling and brings Hazel to life. It was hard for us to play these lovers who turn into murderers, because you have to try and find what they saw in each other to make them go that far.

TKT: As you say it’s a love story at its heart. Colin and Hazel seem like almost star cross’d lovers – and yet they did part after all the horror.
JN: Had Hazel been forgiven for leaving him? I don’t think so, I think it was very clear that he wanted her. After a while the relationship stops and she begins to see another man, which probably devastated him. I think he was very much in love. For his life to be the perfect life he wanted to be a very successful dentist, a pillar of the church community, a wonderful family man”.

TKT: Colin seems like a very complicated man, to put it mildly…
JN: All I can do is try and create something that is truthful to the script, and the writing is so strong. The direction is so acute and so brilliant with Nick Murphy that hopefully we are building an honest portrayal of quite a complicated man. It would have been easier if he had been incredibly charming, with Colin it was a bit more complicated because he wasn’t. I think some people didn’t warm to him and there was a banality almost to him as well.

TKT: This true story is based in Coleraine, where you grew up. Did you ever come across any of the characters?
JN: I’ve talked to many people who will have known Colin. I’m from Coleraine. He lived opposite my sister, they had the same cleaner, my sister went to some of Lesley’s coffee mornings, which I only found out recently.

The Secret: Friday 29th April, 9pm, ITV


3 Comments Add yours

  1. PKCox says:

    James Nesbitt is a very charming person, so that is one reason I’m looking forward to seeing him play an ” almost banal” character. The fact that “The Secret” is based on a true story of two ordinary people makes it incredibly frightening . Since I live in the US, I ‘ve pre-ordered the DVD from Amazon – it comes out on May 23. Thanks for the interview!


  2. Rob Janssens says:

    I liked James Nesbit in Spooks end he’s terrific in The Secret as well. But would a question as “James, have you talked to family of the protagonists , and did you know of their objection?” not have been more relevant? Because after reading this article in the Guardian
    I really felt awkward that I enjoyed the show. I hope the biggest part of the profit went to ‘victim support groups’. And dear James, you could have been exemplary here.


    1. PKCox says:

      Good point, Rob. Thank you for the link to the article. It is heartbreaking that the real people whose lives are linked to books, movies or TV shows about crime do suffer and are victimized all over again. Even contemporary journalistic accounts incur this problem. However, if there were nothing there to tell the public, the crime itself would be swept under the carpet, which isn’t a good thing, once we go down that road. The horror of murder in most of us prompts sadness, anger, revulsion and empathy along with fascination. It makes real the awful consequence, and we really shouldn’t suppress that. Being liberal with the facts is a separate issue, and that, in the name of “entertainment” is much less defensible.


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