Crime and Punishment


Crime and PunishmentJohn Simm was always the top choice to play the central role of Rodya Raskolnikov. Producer David Snodin explains "He is intelligent and sexy, but not in a conventional way. He can combine charm with arrogance and that is essential for Raskolnikov." This has to be the man you want desperately to get away with murder.

As he filmed the drama John had more than just a complex character to deal withCrime and Punishment. He had a throat infection and broken ribs, but insists that it only added to his performance. "I broke my ribs on the third day of filming. I was mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted - and the constant light can drive you mad. But in a twisted kind of way, it all helped me to understand Raskolnikov and why he behaves in the way that he does."

Filming Crime and Punishment in St Petersburg made a real difference to John’s performance. "The hard job for me is to make the viewer understand why Raskolnikov kills. But that is helped by seeing the place that he has to live in, it was absolutely disgusting. He is a very intelligent guy, who is slowly driven to madness by the things he sees around him."

There was a lot of pressure on John to do a good job. Raskolnikov is one of Russia’s most treasured literary characters. However John believes the story is relevant to everyone. "It’s a really good adventure story - a complex, dark thriller. We all know Dickens and they are very similar in the way their writing is rooted in people and places and with touches of comedy."

The pressure didn’t come off when John finished filming. A week after he finished, John’s wife Kate gave birth to their new baby son. "My biggest worry was that the filming would overrun and I would have to turn up at the hospital as Raskolnikov. But at the moment I’m turning down work - I just don’t want to miss any of those early days."

Crime and Punishment
Tuesday 12 February and Wednesday 13 February, 9.00pm, BBC TWO

Crime and Punishment Rodya Raskolnikov is literature’s sexiest murderer. He commits a merciless, unprovoked murder. Yet he remains an icon. This extraordinary story is set amongst the unrelenting glare of the notorious, mid-summer ‘white nights’ in St Petersburg, where dawn chases dusk almost without a break. Lack of sleep, poverty, illness and despair combine in a heady and lethal brew.

John Simm John Simm, who came to fame in The Lakes, plays Raskolnikov. As he explains, it was no easy task, "I broke my rib on the third day of filming. I was on painkillers and mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted - and the constant light can drive you mad. You don’t know what time it is - it can be broad daylight at midnight. I was dead on my feet. But, in a twisted kind of a way, it all helped."

Crime and Punishment The novel is held in extraordinarily high regard in Russia, which meant the team knew they had to do a good job. Raskolnikov is a hero to the Russian youth who look to this egotistical anti-hero as an icon for their own feelings of alienation. John believes that Raskolnikov could be as popular here, "It is a really good adventure story - a complex dark thriller. It’s not just about 19th century St Petersburg. Like Shakespeare, it’s relevant to everyone.

Rodya Raskolnikov is starving, lonely, feverish and enraged. He decides to test his courage and integrity by killing and robbing a mean old pawnbroker he is certain nobody will miss. But it all begins to go wrong when her sister walks in and he is forced to kill her too. His guilt forces him to behave strangely and he starts to arouse the suspicions of a wily investigator.

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