Tom Hardy is our generation’s Charles Bronson — which is intended as a compliment. Few actors have the ability to express as many emotions without simultaneously seeming like a total pussy. Hardy has used this unique skill set to lend depth to a series of characters who may have appeared under-written if tackled by other actors. Hardy is set to continue this trend with his forthcoming BBC One/FX Networks collaboration, Taboo.
Set in the early 1800s, the miniseries follows James Keziah Delaney, a man returned from distant climes in search of the shipping empire he feels is his birthright. A flawed individual of dangerous skill and connections, Delaney quickly butts heads with the powerful East India Company, which appears to be represented by kickass character actors like Michael Kelly (House of Cards) and Jonathan Pryce (everything British).
Pretty much the only people who are annoyed are historians who worry the BBC will make one of the biggest corporations ever to exist on the face the planet look like bad guys.
Taboo carries with it one potential pitfall, and that’s the man who they hired to write it, Steven Knight, whom I still personally blame for ruining Seventh Son:
On the opposite side of that coin — when Knight has been able to grab more creative control — he’s capable of delivering solid, innovative thrillers like Locke, a two-hander of a film that basically sees Tom Hardy driving in a car and stressing out for 85 minutes. It’s good stuff. Behind the camera, the series is being helmed by Kristoffer Nyholm, perhaps best known for The Killing (the original one).
Executive-produced by Hardy, his father Chips, and Ridley Scott, Taboo appears to have all the righteous indignation, stern grimacing, and finger-pointiness you’d hope for from this kind of production. The fact that the series’s plot is based on a story by the Hardy boys themselves makes things even more interesting.
That said, it’s pretty tough to recommend this guy to anyone on the strength of the trailer alone. There’s little-to-no context provided and the only plot cues indicate that Tom Hardy is not a friend of rich white guys (who is?). The pedigree of the project is solid, but Tom Hardy has been known to anchor garbage in the past. At this point, Taboo is still anyone’s guess.