Tom Hardy is reuniting with his Locke director and screenwriter Steven Knight, and his Child 44 producer Ridley Scott for eight-part period series Taboo. Knight created the drama based on an original story by Hardy and his father, Chips Hardy. Tom Hardy will star as an early 19th century adventurer battling the East India Company during a time in British history “when the rising power of the Empire seeped into every dark corner,” says exec producer Scott. This is the actor’s latest foray into British television after recently coming on board the second season of BBC Two drama Peaky Blinders, which Knight also created. Scott Free London and Hardy Son & Baker are producing Taboo for BBC One and Sonar Entertainment. Shooting will start in the UK in January 2015.
Set in 1813, Taboo follows Hardy’s James Keziah Delaney who returns from Africa with 14 ill-gotten diamonds and seeking to avenge his father’s death. 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.
Tom Hardy calls it a “flagship British drama for this generation.” It’s a “hybrid of orthodox and unconventional storytelling, packed with darkness and spirited characters.” Knight adds that the lead character is “a deeply flawed and deeply troubled human being. His greatest struggle will be against the East India Company which, throughout the nineteenth century, was the equivalent of the CIA, the NSA and the biggest, baddest multi-national corporation on Earth, all rolled into one self-righteous, religiously motivated monolith.”
Sonar is distributing outside the UK. Executive producers are Scott, Liza Marshall and Kate Crowe for Scott Free, Tom Hardy and Dean Baker for Hardy Baker, and Knight. Chips Hardy is serving as consulting producer. Tom Hardy is repped by Jack Whigham and Mick Sullivan at CAA and Lindy King at United Agents.
Actor Tom Hardy is joining forces with Sir Ridley Scott for a BBC One period drama about the East India Company.
The eight-part series, Taboo, will star Hardy as a rogue adventurer who sets out to build a shipping empire, pitting him against the East India Company.
Inception star Hardy, who wrote the original story with his father Chips, called it “a flagship British drama for this generation”.
Gladiator director Sir Ridley said Hardy’s character “will become iconic”.
“This is a period in British history where the rising power of the Empire seeped into every dark corner,” said Sir Ridley, best known for cult films such as Alien and Blade Runner, who will produce the drama.
Sir Ridley’s previous film The Counsellor failed to excite the critics
The drama, set in 1813, will reunite Hardy with screenwriter Steven Knight, with whom he worked on the forthcoming film Locke.
Knight is also the writer of BBC gangster drama Peaky Blinders, which Hardy is joining for its second series this autumn.
Knight described the lead character, James Delaney, as “a deeply flawed and deeply troubled human being”.
“His greatest struggle will be against the East India Company which, throughout the 19th Century, was the equivalent of the CIA, the NSA and the biggest, baddest multinational corporation on earth, all rolled into one self-righteous, religiously motivated monolith.”
Ben Stephenson, controller of BBC drama commissioning, said he was “thrilled” to see Hardy and Knight reunited on the series.
“This is a major and ambitious undertaking for the BBC, reinforcing our commitment to be the best home for creative talent.”
Tom Hardy’s company, Hardy Son & Baker, will co-produce the series with Scott’s Scott Free London. Shooting will begin in early 2015.
Hardy, who became a well-known name following his villainous turn as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, can shortly be seen in James Gandolfini’s final film The Drop.
He is also lined up to play the lead in the forthcoming Mad Max reboot, as well as playing Elton John in the Rocketman biopic.
The actor is reported to be starring in the National Theatre’s film adaptation of London Road, alongside Broadchurch star Olivia Colman.
London Road was inspired by the murders committed by Ipswich serial killer Steve Wright, who was found guilty in February 2008 of murdering five women working as prostitutes.
Shooting starts January 2015