BBC4’s recent French whodunit, The Disappearance (or Disparue in its native France), really hit hard emotionally with viewers. The 10-parter told the story of missing teen Leá Morel, the search for her body and killer, and the emotional fall-out experienced by her family. It’s now out to buy on DVD, so we managed to grab a quick chat with Maxime Taffanel, who played the conflicted brother and eldest child of the Morels, Thomas. The words that he spoke are after the jump.
The Killing Times: What kind of character was Thomas?
Maxime Taffanel: Thomas is an unfathomable and discrete boy, militant and protective with his sisters. He is very close to his parents.
TKT: How did he change throughout the series?
MT: Gradually. He’s overcome by guilt and it isolates him more and more from his parents. But when he decides to talk about it, he grows up, he asserts himself.
TKT: His relationship with his mother was also very interesting – she blamed her for Léa’s disappearance and death…
MT: It’s a relationship that is evolving through pain. Lea’s disappearance strengthens this relationship.
TKT: We often hear about the cast in a whodunit show are the last to hear who the killer is. Did you and your colleagues know who the killer was from the start, or were you kept in the dark?
MT: We knew from the beginning!
TKT: What was the atmosphere like on the set? It was a heavy, tragic story and there was some amazing ensemble acting… was it a heavy atmosphere on the set?
MT: At the beginning, the atmosphere was heavy. We were shooting in the Morel’s house, which is the place where there is a birthday, a family lunch without Lea… It was hard to break away, but after a while the atmosphere softened and we started having fun with each other.
TKT: What kind of response did Disparue have in France?
MT: Disparue had a huge impact in France. This kind of theme resonates because family bonds are still very precious.
TKT: Often crime dramas try to say something about the world. What kind of things did Disparue say about family and other themes?
MT: Disparue is about the sacrifice of a father to protect his daughter until the end even though he knows she’s guilty. Disparue reveals the strength of family and the power of secret.
Interview: Paul Hirons (@Son_Of_Ray)
For all our news and reviews on The Disappearance, go here
The Disappearance is available on DVD and Blu-Ray now