DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

MIKE HUGHES

GARY EDGERTON

ROGER CATLIN

KIM AKASS

GERALD JORDAN

MONIQUE NAZARETH

TOM BRINKMOELLER

NOEL HOLSTON

 
 
 
 
 
Behind the Scenes of 'Carnival Row'
August 31, 2019  | By Mike Hughes  | 1 comment
 


At first, Carnival Row sounds like a ripped-from-the-headlines tale  – immigrants and biases and such. It's not, actually. It's ripped (very slowly) from the dormitory wall.

 “I wrote it 16 or 17 years ago in my dorm room,” Travis Beacham said. “For a good chunk of (time), I had totally given up on it.”

There was ample reason to give up. His story – populated by people, fairies, and fierce creatures – was way too big, way too expensive. But then two things happened: Streaming services and cable networks began spending big money; and the subject seemed timely. “It's a sad commentary,” said producer Marc Guggenheim, “that the plight of the immigrants and refugees has gotten so much worse in the intervening 17 years.”

 As the miniseries begins, fairies are being massacred in one country. The lucky ones escape to another, where they are indentured or live on the seedy Carnival Row.

 This is the world Beacham began writing at the North Carolina School of the Arts. He “drew a map on the wall of my dorm room and named all the streets, named all the buildings I could think of.”

His script was optioned in 2005 and there was talk that Guillermo del Toro would direct it. Beacham did write del Toro's Pacific Rim, but Carnival Row lingered until Amazon Prime financed an eight-part series filmed in the Czech Republic.

“It's a hugely ambitious endeavor .... We had this incredible set, but also Prague is a remarkable city to shoot in,” said Orlando Bloom (top), who plays an honest cop in a dishonest time.

He's done epics before – with the Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films – but this one starts with Prague's 19th-century look, then adds the sets and creatures.

“To be in Prague and...standing on Carnival Row and seeing these people in costumes,” Beacham said. “I still haven't processed it.”

Cara Delevingne (top) has also done big-deal fantasy, with Suicide Squad and Valerian. This one is impressive, she said. “Just walking through those sets, you could smell and hear” all the details.

Especially smell. “There was a dead pig head on the set,” Bloom said.

Carnival Row is like that, a last-chance place for desperate souls. There are brothels, where fairies use a power. “The idea of making love and being elevated into the sky – it's pretty dramatic,” Bloom said. And it's a necessary counterpoint, Delevingne said. “The subject matter is so serious ... There's a lot of things going on and violence. So if you miss the sexy element, then where's the light at all?”

Her character is a fierce fairy warrior, forced to be a housemaid to pay for her escape passage. Her wings are trussed...until she's off-duty. “I'd recommend wings to anyone...Just being a fairy, I would recommend. It's a great thing to be.”

 
 
 
 
 
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1 Comments
 
 
Kasia
Guys, FYI, Czechoslovakia ceased to exist in 1993.
Sep 1, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
 
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