Taboo, a major eight-episode drama series created by Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders, Locke) and directed by Kristoffer Nyholm (Danish TV series The Killing, The Enfield Haunting) for BBC One and FX, is to start filming in London this week starring Tom Hardy in the lead role alongside a major international cast.
Taboo will star Hardy as James Keziah Delaney who returns to 1814 London after 10 years in Africa to discover that he has been left a mysterious legacy by his father. Driven to wage war on those who have wronged him, Delaney finds himself in a face-off against the East India Company, while playing a dangerous game between two warring nations – Britain and America.
Alongside Hardy’s protagonist James Keziah Delaney is Michael Kelly (House of Cards, Everest), who plays American doctor Dumbarton, Jonathan Pryce (Pirates Of The Caribbean, Brazil) as Sir Stuart Strange, the head of the East India Company and Delaney’s nemesis, Oona Chaplin (The Crimson Field, The Hour) as Zilpha Geary James’s half-sister, and David Hayman (Macbeth, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas) as Brace, Delaney’s trusted man-servant.
Jessie Buckley (Shades of Love, Trevor Nunn’s A Little Light Music) plays Lorna Bow who lays claim to James’s father’s will. Ashley Walters (Get Rich or Die Tryin’, Bullet Boy) is a dangerous face from James’s years in Africa. Jefferson Hall (Vikings, Our World War) plays Thorne Geary, Zilpha’s husband; Ed Hogg (White Lightnin’, Anonymous) is Godfrey, Delaney’s cross-dressing spy inside the East India Company, Leo Bill (Alice in Wonderland, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) is Wilton, Strange’s fashionable, amoral accomplice; Christopher Fairbank (Guardians of the Galaxy, Hercules) as Ibbotson, a man to whom James is indebted; Richard Dixon (The King’s Speech, Mr Turner) is Pettifer, Strange’s right-hand man; Jason Watkins (The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, Nativity) is Solomon Coop, the Prince Regent’s right-hand man and Spy Master; and Nicholas Woodeson (Rome, The Living and the Dead) is lawyer Thoyt, the Delaney family’s former lawyer.
Polly Hill, Controller BBC Drama commissioning says: “The talent on- and off-screen is incredible and I am so excited to see Steve’s captivating scripts come to life. Tom Hardy and the rest of the cast are set to bring this original and spectacular story to life in a unique and epic way.”
Talent behind the camera includes Director of Photography Mark Patten whose work includes upcoming sci-fi thriller Morgan for 20th Century Fox, Production Designer Sonja Klaus (Mr Selfridge, Babylon AD), Costume Designer Joanna Eatwell (Wolf Hall, Eric & Ernie) and Casting Director Nina Gold (Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens, The Martian).
Ridley Scott’s Scott Free London and Tom Hardy’s Hardy Son & Baker are producing for BBC One and FX, with Sonar Entertainment distributing worldwide outside the UK. Executive producers are Ridley Scott and Kate Crowe for Scott Free, Tom Hardy and Dean Baker for Hardy Son & Baker, and Steven Knight, with Timothy Bricknell (The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, The Fear) producing. Taboo is based on an original story by Tom Hardy and his father, Chips Hardy, who is also the show’s consulting producer. The series was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, Controller of BBC One.
Tom Hardy’s credits include The Dark Knight Rises, Inception, and Warrior. He most recently played the lead role in Mad Max: Fury Road, in Brian Helgeland’s Legend playing both Kray Twins, and opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant.