The Serpent was released on Netflix on April 2, 2021, and quickly got the attention of viewers from all over the world. The television show remained within the streaming platform’s Top 10 all week and was ranked at the top of the chart for many countries, including the United States, Australia, Canada, Denmark, and Belgium.
The eight-episode series was originally released on BBC in January 2021 and instantly broke viewing records in the United Kingdom. The show was created by Mammoth Screen and commissioned by the BBC. It’s based on the crimes of serial killer Charles Sobhraj and stars French actor Tahar Rahim in the lead role.
Talented Actors, Great Script, and Superb Directing
Rahim is joined by other highly talented actors such as Billy Howle, Jenna Coleman, and Ellie Bamber among others to form an amazing cast that flawlessly brings to life a nail-biting script about one of France’s most infamous serial killers, fraudsters, and thieves.
The Serpent takes place in the mid-1970s on the South East Asian “hippie trail”. At the time, the notorious Frenchman posed as a gem dealer and carried out a series of crimes targeting mainly hikers and backpackers, conning and eventually murdering them for their money. Sobhraj was aided by his accomplices, Ajay Chowdhury and Marie-Andrée Leclerc, portrayed respectively by Amesh Edireweera and Jenna Coleman.
His crimes are quickly noticed by a young Dutch diplomat Herman Knippenberg and his wife Angela, portrayed by Billy Howle and Ellie Bamber, who make it their mission to bring Sobhraj and his partners.
The Serpent Takes Its Viewers Through Different Emotions
While the back-and-forth storytelling can be confusing at times, The Serpent doesn’t glorify the serial murderer, and that makes it different from many true-crime series. It depicts Sobhraj’s charisma perfectly but also has the viewer rooting for Knippenberg to succeed in capturing his rival.
Although starting as a slow-burning thriller, the show does become an interesting and intense cat-and-mouse pursuit between two highly motivated individuals, which makes it perfect for weekend binge-watching.
Matt Damon Prepared for Stillwater By Meeting Oklahoma Oil Workers
In preparation to play his role in the thriller Stillwater, written and directed by Tom McCarthy, Matt Damon met several Oklahoma oil workers. McCarthy and Damon traveled to Oklahoma after the presidential elections in 2016. They describe this and similar research trips as valuable experiences and opportunities to connect with people from different walks of life.
Damon’s Role in Stillwater
The drama-thriller Stillwater was just released in the USA on July 30th. Matt Damon plays the role of an American oil rig worker, Bill Baker. He travels to France, where he attempts to overcome language and cultural barriers to exonerate his estranged daughter from prison. To prepare for this role, Damon spent time with actual oil rig workers in Oklahoma, learning about their lives and understanding the character he’s meant to embody in the movie.
Connecting With People From Different Backgrounds
The movie star Matt Damon stated that every research trip of this type reaffirms his beliefs that what binds people together is stronger than what divides them. Damon told The Hollywood Reporter that, even though their trip took place at the height of political division in the country, they still had a fun and meaningful experience connecting with the people. McCarthy concurred that it was a great chance to understand how similar people are and that it’s a shame how much politics and the media can cause a division.
Embodying the Character
Besides being happy to have made friends among the welcoming and warm people they met, Damon and McCarthy claim that the trip was a crucial experience that helped Damon truly embody his role. Damon explains that all the aspects of the character came from spending time with the people they met and that it helped him understand his character’s thoughts and decision-making process much better. At the same time, Abigail Breslin who is portraying Bill Baker’s daughter spent time visiting the prison and talking to guards, understanding what her day-to-day life would be like and studying similar cases to that of her character in Stillwater.