dark secret | 

Olivia Colman believes 'anyone could be a murderer' after playing devious killer

A love story and a double murder collide in Landscapers, starring Olivia Colman and David Thewlis as a killer couple on the run.

Olivia Colman (Ian West/PA)

Kevin Palmer

IT would have been awkward if the Oscar-winning actress Oliver Colman said no to portraying double murderer Susan Edwards.

After all, her husband Ed Sinclair wrote the role specifically for her, as the couple worked together for the first time on a project that serves up a compelling story for Sky Atlantic and NOW viewers.

Landscapers tells a chilling and curiously endearing love story of seemingly ordinary couple Christoper and Susan Edwards, who become the focus of an extraordinary investigation when a couple of dead bodies are discovered in the back garden of a house in Nottingham.

In reality, the couple had committed a brutal crime and then emptied their victims’ bank accounts of £300K, splurging thousands on celebrity autographs and other Hollywood memorabilia.

And as Colman suggests, shedding light on the tale of double murderers from an alternative perspective is makes this an unusual true crime drama.

Olivia Colman and David Thewlis as Susan and Christopher Edwards in Landscapers

“Trying to tell this story in an empathetic light is not easy, but I know the writer pretty well so I could hardly say no!” begins Colman with a smile.

“Ed was looking to write something for me a long time ago, so this has been in the works for a long time and even though I got very lucky in between, it was something we wanted to do together.

“I remember reading the first draft and realising that Ed, knowing me, had put in parts that I would want to play, scenes that I loved, the sort of stuff I want to do.

“So for me I was excited about the screenplay, rather than the actual people – the Edwards - that he had been so involved with.

“I think we both admire what the other one does – I love Ed’s writing but I wouldn’t dare to get into his writing process. And God help him if he tried to tell me how to do what I do.”

At the age of 47, Colman’s career has taken a remarkable turn in recent years, with her success exploding to levels that has exceeded all of her expectations.

Her Best Actress Oscar triumph for her role in the 2019 movie The Favourite has propelled her into a new stratosphere. Her role portraying Queen Elizabeth in the Netflix smash-hit The Crown taking her global fame to a whole new level.

Yet this was a role she felt she had to take on, with the true crime narrative told from a very different perspective as it tries to offer a positive light to a couple that has committed the ultimate crime.

“It’s a total love story,” she continues. “He was her knight in shining armour. He took her away from this place that she was so unhappy about, and he has done nothing but stand by her side. They’ve really got each other’s backs.

“This is tough story to tell. They have committed a double murder, they bury her parents in the garden and get away with it for 15 years.

“In this programme, they have had a long time to construct their story and the police have to unpick it.

“It’s sumptuous; there’s so much in it, so much imaginative stuff at play. It’s not your average true crime drama. I haven’t seen anything like it before.

“I think anybody could be a murderer if really pushed. Almost anybody. That’s why it was so awful that Susan’s sexual abuse as a child was deemed inadmissible and historical.

“Humans can put up with enormous amounts of torture, but at some point they can be pushed to do something you never would have imagined that you’d do.

“Susan is that quiet person who has absolutely been pushed. Now none of us will ever know what happened that night when her parents were killed.

“But we do know that there were historical issues of abuse. And God knows what that does to someone.”

  • All episodes of Landscapers are available on Sky Atlantic and NOW

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