‘Taboo:’ Steven Knight Talks Tom Hardy, Finished Scripts, and Having One Director

     August 24, 2015

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Stephen Knight and Tom Hardy are teaming up again; the two collaborated on the feature film Locke, which was released last April, as well as the second season of Knight’s series Peaky Blinders. Now, they will be heading back to the small screen for the BBC/FX series Taboo. Taboo takes place in 1813, where “James Keziah Delaney (Hardy), a rogue adventurer, returns from Africa with 14 ill-gotten diamonds to seek vengeance after the death of his father. Refusing to sell the family business to the East India Company, he sets out to build his own trade and shipping empire and finds himself playing a dangerous game with two warring nations, Britain and America.”

Steve recently sat down for an interview with Knight, and was able to talk a little more about Taboo, a story developed by Hardy and his father Chips  — check it out here:


Knight was drawn to the project mainly because of Tom Hardy’s involvement (naturally), but also because it takes place during a “very underwritten” period of history in the early 1800s, when Britain was at war with both the United States and France, and “there was a lot of spying and espionage.” Plus, Knight is looking to portray the American resolve against the vast East India Company, when it was,

… The biggest multinational conglomerate ever known in history. It ran whole countries, had its own military academies, schools […] it was this gigantic, ruthless, capitalist engine, that operated out of the UK, and America took it on.

Taboo was also described by Knight as “a drama show with action,” because above all it’s a character study of a man who has come back to London from Africa, and just takes on everybody. “The story, obviously, is about how he either succeeds or fails.”

Knight will not be directing the series, but he will have one director handling all 8 episodes (which he is working out now). Further, though he is writing the first two episodes, he has other writers composing the rest of the season. Knight notes that the series is going into production very soon (late November), and that the scripts “are basically done,” a pretty standard thing in UK television prior to filming. He also confirmed that the series will be 8 episodes to start, but it’s not a miniseries — it is built to continue.


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