Playing a once-rumored dead man bent on revenge after returning home to a country at war, Tom Hardy is taking the lead in FX’s newest period drama, Taboo. With Season 1 underway, executive producer Steven Knight sat down with Deadline and discussed teaming up with Hardy and what’s to come this season.
Taboo marks the first time Knight and Hardy have worked on an American series together, but this isn’t the first time they have collaborated. The two teamed up on the 1920s gangster BBC/Netflix series Peaky Blinders in which Hardy plays barber Alfie Solomons. They also worked together on the 2014 film Locke.
When asked about working with Hardy, Knight admitted that they are becoming quite the team. Their relationship, however, doesn’t extend beyond work.
“I think what helps is that we don’t socialize, we don’t really know each other, we purely work together. And I think that helps because there has been no formality of friendship, the politeness of friendship, so we can just work directly on the work that’s ahead of us. I am someone who thinks that if you’ve got an actor like that who wants to perform your work, then you should do it, and hopefully Tom likes to do the work that I do, so long may it continue.”
Hardy’s character in the series, James Delaney, focuses a lot of his frustrations on the East India Company. Delaney fights with the all-powerful company over the Nootka Sound Land that his father purchased, a destination Knight eventually wants to go.
“The plan is that there would be three seasons, and, as with Peaky Blinders, I have had a destination in mind from the beginning, because I think it helps as a writer,” Knight explained. “The destination in mind is that James Keziah Delaney sets foot on Nootka Sound. But that’s a long way off.”
According to the Daily Beast, Delaney’s desire for vengeance lands him in the crosshairs of the East India Company and Sir Stuart Strange (Jonathan Pryce). But the East India Company isn’t the only thing in Delaney’s past he’s fighting against on the premiere season of Taboo.
“As we start to unravel who he is and where he comes from, he’s had a long history of being let down by fathers – from his genuine father, to father figures, to country and civilization as a whole,” Hardy revealed. “There are some mythological elements there where he bears similarities to Bane.”
Hardy says that Delaney is based on the character Marlow in Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad — only he’s the complete opposite. Not only is he hell-bent on getting revenge on the East India Company, but he was also employed by them in Africa, where he witnessed and did terrible things.
“You find out why, but he was a very wayward child who his father felt needed to be straightened out by the East India Company’s militia, so he put him in there at a very young age. The experience gave him a lot of tools and skills, but progressively put him in a really horrible situation whereby he went from the frying pan into the fire, and was lost in Africa—where he witnessed a lot of stuff and participated in a lot of stuff, which I won’t go into. His father issues get progressively worse, and he doesn’t have a mom.”
While Hardy is leading the charge in the new series, Vanity Fair is reporting that a few Game of Thrones stars had cameos in the premiere. This includes Oona Chaplin (who played Robb Stark’s wife), Talisa Stark, and Jonathan Pryce (who played the High Sparrow).
Fans can catch new episodes of Taboo on FX. Check out a sneak peek from the next all-new episode below.
[Featured Image by FX]