Welcome back to More of a Comment, Really…, a weekly interview podcast hosted by Clint Worthington! Every episode will feature interviews with actors, filmmakers, producers, and more, giving you the skinny on the latest films and TV.
In an age where most genre films and shows are remakes, sequels or reboots of existing properties, it’s a rare treat when we get to sample a series that, for all its flaws, dares to just be influenced by things rather than directly derived. Such is the case for Amazon’s new steampunk-fantasy series Carnival Row, an archly fantastical tale of a world occupied by humans and magical creatures, with hauntingly familiar racial and class conflicts dressed up with Victorian jackets and cobblestone streets.
At the center of this Dickensian fantasia lie two star-crossed lovers – the (seemingly) human detective Rycroft Philostrate (Orlando Bloom) and the faerie smuggler Vignette Stonemoss (Cara Delevingne), who find themselves reunited in the Casablanca-esque border town of the Burgue after a wartime romance. Their reunion gets complicated, however, as a string of mysterious, gory murders haunts the Burgue and threatens what fragile peace there is between human and fae once again.
Screenwriter Travis Beacham (the Clash of the Titans remake, Pacific Rim) is no stranger to crafting intricate science fiction and fantasy worlds, and Carnival Row is the culmination of a nearly twenty-year journey to the screen (it was originally a feature script that languished for more than a decade on the Hollywood Blacklist). Now, as a big-budget Amazon series with a second season on the way, Carnival Row looks firmly positioned to fill the “lurid, fantastic prestige drama” gap left by the late Game of Thrones.
For this week’s podcast, I sat down with Travis Beacham to talk about that long, winding road to getting Carnival Row made, its complex transition from feature script to streaming series, and from where he pulls such delightfully fantastical character names (Imogen Spurnrose, Absalom Breakspear, the list goes on). Take a listen!