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My Murder: Portraying a murder victim

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John Boyega John Boyega | 11:33 UK time, Monday, 26 March 2012

Danny (Malachi Kirby), Samantha (Simona Zivkovska) and Shakilus (John Boyega)

The first day of shooting for My Murder (Monday, 9pm) was pretty cool! It was a 6.30am pick up and a long drive to East London. The base in the middle of this field, with a bus full of crew setting up for the first shot. I felt ready! I prepared for the character but it's all about letting go and living, so I could truly fill the shoes of such a wonderful boy.

Accepting this role was such a fulfilling decision. I hadn't heard of the story of Shakilus Townsend's murder but the circumstances were all too familiar, especially at a time when many young people were dying on London’s streets.

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This story was unlike any other; it has heart and gives a unique insight into the minds of young people. Shakilus’ slate wasn't clean but he was determined and thirsty to clean it! He wanted to better himself, leaving his old mentality behind him. This is a quality that can determine anyone's future, whether to make a change or see what happens. Shakilus Townsend wanted to make a change and he was such an interesting person to capture and think about while we were shooting.

All the characters in My Murder are complex. As a cast we worked closely with the director Bruce Goodison, breaking down each scene and understanding the characters’ thought processes. The rehearsals were tough but it paid off.

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One of the best things about this filming My Murder was meeting Nicola, Shakilus Townsend's mum. I have to personally thank Nicola for blessing me with this role, for giving me the thumbs up to play Shakilus and for giving me such detailed information about him which influenced my performance.  I really hope you all enjoy My Murder and I hope we have learnt a valuable lesson from this.

My Murder is on Monday 26th March at 9pm.


  • Comment number 1.

    =( This is so sad wont be able to sleep i wish i did not watch this film now its stuck with me for ever R.I.P Shakilus

  • Comment number 2.

    R. I. P. very moving and powerful drama. God bless Shakilus, his family & friends x

  • Comment number 3.

    Very moving and compelling story.....cleverly scripted and acted to target the audience....God bless the family of this young guy x

  • Comment number 4.

    I watched this yesterday and it was incredibly heartbreaking the way Shakilus was betrayed. May he Rest in peace. My Murder was a powerdul drama and inspired this review

  • Comment number 5.

    Absolutely gripped by this last night. If accurately portrayed, Shakilus came across as a good kid with plenty of heart - so young to get caught up in something like that. Feel desperately sorry for his family and other families that have had to endure similar - recall a similar case which ended with a stabbing on Oxford Street not so long ago.

  • Comment number 6.

    Such a moving story, it made me so sad just could not comprehend that someone could do that to someone else I hope people learn from it, I can not imagine the pain his family and other family's have gone through that have lost a loved one like that. R.I.P Shakilus

  • Comment number 7.

    • My Heart goes out to the Mother and family of this young man Shakilus
    as a mother myself the fear of news like this to your child makes you fearful
    the issue is the loss of life of a potential great young man for nothing ..I hope youngsters that watched last night learn something from this sad event that has affected so many and that they make the changes to prevent this from happening to themselves of those around then.. I was speaking to my younger sister about loving yourself as the girl seemed so desperate to be loved to the point that she was willing to see someone hurt who then died.. this has to be a starting point to educating our young children and letting them see the consequences of such evil actions

  • Comment number 8.

    I remember this story when the case went to court, I was disgusted then but this adaptation will stay with me forever! I was in tears and could never imagine what his poor family went through! My heart goes out to them! The film makers and actors deserve praise for this program  the press can never fully portray the pain, devastation and loss such a senseless crime can inflict on the victims family and friends! This was beautifully made and a brilliant way to highlight a crime so common we often forget it's still happening and getting worse! I only wish other children see this and think twice before using weapons on each other! Children killing children is far to common now days and so sad! This was a very touching story! My deepest sympathy for all the families out there who have gone through such devastating loss! 


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