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28 October 2014

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Crime and Punishment

Rodya Raskolnikov (John Simm)

John Simm stars in this adaptation of Dostoyevsky's tragic masterpiece - a profound drama of redemption and a thrilling detective story of the soul.

Rodya Raskolnikov (John Simm)

Crime and Punishment is one of the most highly regarded works of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, a Russian novelist born in 1821. He was no stranger to the law, having spent four years in a labour camp after being involved in a radical socialist group.

The book is considered to be the world's first psychological thriller. It's a gripping detective story, a fantastic piece of storytelling with a fascinatingly complex central character.

To kill for an idea ... that is why this story is so pertinent today.

John Simm

John 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.

"Raskolnikov is a timeless, rootless, disillusioned angry young man and his own existential problems are especially relevant today."

Rodya Raskolnikov (John Simm)

John had more than just a complex character to deal with whilst filming Crime 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."


John Simm
Rodya Raskolnikov
Ian McDiarmid
Kate Ashfield
Geraldine James
Shaun Dingwall
Katrin Cartlidge
Katerina Ivanovna
Philip Jackson
David Haig

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