Tom Hardy’s new 19th century drama raises questions about Britain’s history

taboo_tom_hardy_1Popular actor Tom Hardy has gone even further back in time since his past role portraying London crime twins The Krays in Legend last year.

He’s been spotted filming scenes wearing a top hat, long coat and splendid facial hair for a new drama called Taboo that will be out later in the year. The story centres around Hardy’s character – an African adventurer who returns to Britain with illegal diamonds to find revenge for the death of his Father. According to IMDb, Hardy plays James Keziah Delaney who builds a shipping empire in the 1800s. The drama features the East india Company – which really existed – and when news of it first broke in 2014, the BBC came under fire for inaccurately portraying EIC. It was said in the Telegraph article that in the program, the East India Company will be a sinister corporation involved with espionage and all other sinister dealings. In fact, when talking about the East India Company, scriptwriter Steven Knight has said “throughout the 19th century, was the equivalent of the CIA, the NSA [US National Security Agency] and the biggest, baddest multinational corporation on earth, all rolled into one self-righteous, religiously-motivated monolith”.

taboo_tom_hardy_2Historians are disappointed because it portrays the company in a negative light when they were essentially the financial driving force of Britain’s dominance over India. Is that such a bad thing, though? Hollywood has no issues with changing historical events to water down their own involvement in domination and persecution (including their own version of the EIC in Pirates of the Caribbean which shows them as an evil corporation), so why can’t we? Should we face up to our history and accept that we used to be really bad and learn from our mistakes? I feel that I’d rather do the latter.

It’s based on a screenplay originally written by Edward Hardy – Tom’s real life Father with writing credits going to both Edward and Tom Hardy as well as Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders).

The show will also feature appearances from Michael Kelly (House Of Cards), Jonathan Pryce (Brazil) and Oona Chaplin (Game Of Thrones)

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