Tom Hardy Strips Down In New Trailer For Ridley Scott’s FX Series ‘Taboo’

In a trailer released this morning, FX gives us a sneak peek into the new Tom Hardy and Ridley Scott collaboration, an eight-episode series produced in partnership with BBC One. Little is known about the series, but the trailer shows us a show set in 1814 replete with lavish production with film-quality costume and set design. Tom Hardy stars as James Keziah Delaney, heir to a crumbling shipping business, competing with the notorious East India Company, which was once the world’s largest and most influential multinational corporation.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Taboo’s James Delaney returns to London 10 years after disappearing in Africa in order to attend his father’s funeral and inherit a crumbling business. While sparse on details, the trailer illustrates the tension between Tom Hardy’s Delaney and the powers of the time, namely the East India Company, and its quest to navigate the troubled waters between the United States and the British Empire.

“Oh the Leviathan of the sea, the beast with a million eyes and a million ears. Conquest, rape and plunder, I know the evil that you do because I was once a part of it,” says Tom Hardy as James Delaney in the trailer released this morning.

Taboo’s cast features Michael Kelly (who plays Doug Stamper in Netflix’s House of Cards) and period drama mainstay Jonathan Pryce, who plays Sir Stuart Strange, head of the East India Company. Reportedly, the story for Taboo comes from an idea developed by Tom Hardy and his father, Chips Hardy, who serves as a consulting producer on the show.

The FX series will be a landmark for the network, whose previous shows have been critically acclaimed but not quite up to the level of production value found on premium cable networks like HBO or even Netflix. Taboo is set to change all of that. With the eight-episode miniseries, the U.S. cable network hopes to illustrate that it can produce and develop top-flight TV series with film-quality production. Even as one of the network’s riskier shows, The Bastard Executioner, gets the axe due to poor ratings and poor critical reception.

FX has long been a network that has tried and sometimes failed to push the boundaries of TV entertainment, with hard gritty shows like The Shield and Sons of Anarchy, both of which found critical acclaim at their inception and less over time as the shows seemed to drag on and on.

With Taboo, FX hopes to change all of that, showing that the cable network can produce shows on par with the most expensive, flashy period dramas to come out of rivals HBO and Showtime. Taboo is set to be produced by Peaky Blinders series creator Steven Knight (who will also star in the eight-episode miniseries).

It should come as no surprise then that the show’s cast draws primarily on film actors and actors featured in premium cable shows like Game of Thrones. Oona Chaplin, formerly Talissa on HBO’s Game of Thrones, is slated to play Tom Hardy’s half-sister Zilpha, and Nicholas Woodeson of HBO’s Rome plays Hardy’s family lawyer. The talent behind the camera is similarly impressive, with Danish director Kristoffer Nyholm (who helmed the original Scandinavian version of FX’s The Killing) who will direct the first four episodes of Taboo.

“This is a wonderful, character-driven talen, and is very much the kind of dark multifaceted world of drama and intrigue that I’m drawn to. For me, it feels like a natural follow on from The Killing and The Enfield Haunting. We have a fantastic team on board to help bring it to life, and I look forward to that process,” said Nyholm in an interview with Deadline Hollywood.

Taboo is described as a mystery-drama, fitting since details about the show remain scarce, such as its release date. The Hollywood Reporter estimates the show is likely to debut sometime in 2017, so don’t get too excited about the trailer. Okay, maybe a little.

[Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images]