The Girl Before’s Emma on getting ‘jealous’ over co-star ‘Couldn’t think about it’

The Girl Before: Trailer for new BBC psychological thriller series

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The Girl Before is due to air on BBC One this evening (December 19) and the psychological thriller is based on JP Delaney’s novel of the same name. The gripping story follows Jane (played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and Emma (Jessica Plummer), who both meet architect Edward (David Oyelowo) three years apart. Actress Plummer told and other media that she could not think about her co-stars together.

The four-part drama follows Jane and Emma, who have both experienced personal trauma in the past.

Both looking for a fresh start, they come across a stunning minimalist house, built by architect Edward.

The house comes with a dark past that Edward is not willing to share with prospective tenants straight away.

The episodes tell the story of how Jane and Emma came to form relationships with him, which end in tragedy.

Actress Plummer opened up about how the series is told across two different timelines, set three years apart.

Her character, Emma, meets Edward before Jane does, and the pair did not have many filming hours together.

She said: “We only ever had two scenes together, episode one where we come into the house and another scene later on that I won’t ruin.

“But it was only in passing that we could see each other. For me, playing Emma three years before Jane, I knew the story from the read-through.

“But I purposely chose to not touch that, I didn’t want to read it and feel influenced in what I brought to Emma.

“I decided to completely leave that alone which has been a lovely surprise for me.”

She said she has since been able to piece the story together and see the parallels between Emma and Jane.

The EastEnders actress added: “I couldn’t think about it, if I thought about it then I would get really jealous and it was better to just not think about it.

“Watching and seeing all the pieces come together I feel like I’m watching it for the first time and I was like ‘hold on, you said that to me AND her?’.”

Marissa Lestrade helped write the episodes and she said the most important thing was the emotional journeys of the female leads.

She said: “It was to really track those right from the start, and try and make them as realistic as possible.

“As they are dealing with very specific traumas. To just try and pay as much attention and care and respect to what they are going through.”

Writer Delaney was an executive producer on the show and he praised Melissa’s approach to telling the story.

He said: “The timeline is obviously interwoven and the easy thing is to just write one scene after another.

“But she actually wrote all of Emma’s scenes in one episode as one continuous thing in order to make sure the emotional journey was working and I thought that was terrific.”

Expanding on how she interlinked both women’s stories, she said: “I thought the best thing to do was to just pull them out and do Jane then Emma.

“To make sure what they had to do felt real and people who have been through this in the audience hopefully have felt this could be somewhat real.

“Everybody deals with trauma differently and I just had that in mind.

“Thinking if somebody is watching this who has been through something like that I hope we have made them feel this is somewhat close to what they are feeling.”

Over the course of four episodes, viewers will come to learn how Edward manipulates both female characters in the same way.

The Girl Before airs at 9pm on BBC One.

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