Skip to main contentSkip to footer

The Serpent's Jenna Coleman talks challenges of her role in dark BBC drama

Jenna plays Marie-Andrée Leclerc in the crime thriller

jenna coleman serpent
Francesca Shillcock
Francesca ShillcockSenior TV & Film Writer
Share this:

The Serpent has caused quite a stir among BBC audiences thanks to its gripping and suspenseful plot.

One of its leading stars is Jenna Coleman, who takes on the role of Marie-Andrée Leclerc, a sidekick and love interest of Charles Sobhraj, and now she has opened up about the challenges she faced while playing the murderer's accomplice.

MORE: The shocking true story behind BBC's The Serpent

Speaking to the Radio Times ahead of the show's launch earlier this month, the Victoria star revealed she found the part difficult due to Marie-Andrée's psychopathic tendencies.

WATCH: The Serpent on BBC - watch the official trailer

"It was not an easy piece to play because how can you portray someone who has no empathy?" she said. "I don't know what it is [to be that way] and I think it is impossible for people like us to know."

Explaining her character's personality further, she added: "The way she lived was completely delusional. It was all about squashing all of it away and not letting the truth in.

"She had an obsessive nature and was incredibly emotional. I think she was depressive and certainly unstable at times. She lived in this conflicted state, not acknowledging the murders that were going on."

MORE: Fans saying same thing about BBC's 'dark' new drama The Serpent

MORE: Meet the cast of new BBC crime drama The Serpent

MORE: Viewers are saying the same thing about BBC's Traces

jenna coleman marie andree leclerc© Photo: BBC

Jenna as Marie-Andrée Leclerc

The BBC drama is a depiction of the horrific crimes undertaken by Charles Sobhraj, a French-Canadian serial killer who carried out a number of heinous murders in Thailand, India and Nepal throughout the 1970s. The criminal was nicknamed 'The Serpent' due to his ability to consistently evade authorities and the police.

After the string of crimes committed against innocent people along what was named 'The Hippie Trail', Charles was Interpol's most wanted criminal for a period of time in the 70s, and was being hunted down by Dutch diplomat Herman Knippenberg - the storyline that is portrayed throughout the drama's eight episodes.

Charles was arrested in India in July 1976 and was sentenced to life imprisonment where he remained until 1997. After a suspicious return to Paris, where he courted his infamous notoriety, he was reprimanded again and the now 76-year-old is still serving his sentence in prison to this day. 

Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.

More TV and Film

See more