If you've not heard of Taboo before reading this article, let me try and summarize the show in one sentence: Tom Hardy at his full-blown, psychotic (and often stark naked) best, seeking vengeance with apparent supernatural means while clashing with The High Sparrow from Game of Thrones (Jonathan Pryce) and House of Cards Frank Underwood's right-hand man Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly).
Oh, and with Robb Stark's wife Talisa Maegyr (Oona Chaplin) is a possible love interest. And Tom Hardy also co-wrote with his dad, Chips Hardy. Not to mention that Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is the showrunner, Ridley Scott is Executive Producer and The Killing director Dane Kristoffer Nyholm will direct the first four episodes. As premises go, Taboo is undeniably tantalizing.
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The first trailer promised a dark period conflict, with Hardy's James Keziah Delaney returning to 19th century London — seemingly from the dead — following his father's death. During those absent years, Delaney had endured a life-changing experience in Africa, making him "a very dangerous man to know." The latest TV teaser, seen below, shows a darker, supernatural element weaved into Delaney's backstory, who claims to "know things about the dead."
Delaney will clash with the historical East India Company, who will be portrayed as “the CIA, the NSA, and the biggest, baddest multinational corporation on earth." This alone has caused some controversy, with historians claiming this is overly negative. But, with Tom Hardy and black magic, let's just assume the show won't be fully accurate. The official synopsis for the show is below:
Set in 1814, Taboo follows James Keziah Delaney, a man who has been to the ends of the earth and comes back irrevocably changed. Believed to be long dead, he returns home to London from Africa to inherit what is left of his father’s shipping empire and rebuild a life for himself. But his father’s legacy is a poisoned chalice, and with enemies lurking in every dark corner, James must navigate increasingly complex territories to avoid his own death sentence. Encircled by conspiracy, murder, and betrayal, a dark family mystery unfolds in a combustible tale of love and treachery.
Written By Hardy With High Expectations
The wealth of talent previously mentioned does set a certain level of expectation, especially with Hardy in a leading role. The air of brutality the 39-year-old brings to the role works wonders for the character of Delaney — helped no doubt by Hardy's writing credits, the first time he's scripted film or TV. Considering the father and son dynamic in the narrative, there's no doubt the writing duo would've taken some inspiration from real-life, which could help when it comes to authenticity.
Hardy's stock as an A-list actor has been rapidly rising over the past few years. His strong on-screen presence and roles that consist of an enigmatic mixture of vulnerability, rage and shrewdness have led to standout performances in the likes of Inception (2010), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) and The Revenant (2015).
One of Hollywood's leading men, he's also lent his talent to the small screen, portraying the intriguing, restrained-yet-terrifying Alfie Solomons in Peaky Blinders. By teaming up again with Knight and taking the lead in the eight part FX series Taboo, Hardy will have the opportunity to fully flex his character development. And, hopefully, kick lots of ass.
Taboo will air on FX in early 2017.
Are you excited for Taboo?