A Leighton Buzzard teenager has prepared for her lead role as a murderer in a new independent feature film by watching episodes of Jeremy Kyle.
‘Like’ tells the story of the killing of a vulnerable Hartlepool woman by two young girls – with first-time actor Brodie Young, from the Billington Grove area, playing ‘Kelsey’ opposite fellow debutant Rebecca McDiarmid in the role of ‘Polly’.
Two 15-year-old girls are currently serving life prison sentences with a minimum of 15 years for the murder of 39-year-old Angela Wrightson in 2014. The case shocked the country for its brutality by the schoolgirls who were aged just 13 and 14 at the time.
During the attack at Miss Wrightson’s home, the pair – who cannot be legally named – took selfies of themselves and posted images of the crime on Snapchat and social media.
Now the crime has been used as the inspiration for the film. Director Michael Frank says it is a fictional exploration of the real case which raises questions about the influence of social media on teenagers’ behaviour.
Scenes in the film were completely improvised and were shot entirely by the teenage actors themselves using mobile phones.
Brodie , a member of StarNow, said: “To prepare for the role I watched Jeremy Kyle to copy mannerisms of some of the people on the show. I had to become a lot more foul mouthed, so I actually just swore more often.
“The most challenging part was not letting ‘Brodie’ peep through when playing as Kelsey. It was such a memorable experience. It was fun and I genuinely got along with Rebecca [McDiarmid, co-star]. I learnt there’s different ways of filming, not just a big camera following you around.”
Brodie managed to land an audition after responding to an open casting call for which over 300 budding teenage actresses applied.
“I wanted to become an actress because I liked the idea of pretending to be someone else; In a way, live as someone else. It’s like when you’re younger and playing make believe games with your friends but with cameras and lines.”
Brodie was eventually cast in the film after director Michael Frank viewed an online video of her discussing her views and observations of social media and bullying.
He said: “During the casting process I asked Brodie to perform several improvisation scenes with a number of other actresses including her eventual co-star Rebecca McDiarmid. Their scenes together were incredibly dynamic and exciting to watch. It became apparent that although a first timer, Brodie’s had remarkable instincts.”
‘Like’ is currently being made available to international film festivals and is planned for release in 2019.