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.