The best of British talent, Letitia Wright and John Boyega have both landed themselves leading roles in Steve McQueen anthology series ‘Small Axe’.
Years in the making, the six-part series will tell five different stories, set in London’s West Indian community, starting in the late 1960s and running until the early ’80s. Its title is derived from a Jamaican proverb with resonance throughout the Caribbean: “If you are the big tree, we are the small axe.” It is also the title of a Bob Marley song from his 1973 album “Catch a Fire.” McQueen conceived the anthology’s stories with Alastair Siddons and Courttia Newland. Novelist Alex Wheatle is a writing consultant.
Malachi Kirby (Black Mirror), Shaun Parkes (Lost in Space), Rochenda Sandall (Line of Duty), Alex Jennings (Victoria) and Jack Lowden (Mary Queen of Scots) all join Wright and Boyega on the cast.
“I felt these stories needed to be shared,” said McQueen, who will also exec produce. “I wanted to relive, reevaluate and investigate the journeys that my parents and the first generation of West Indians went on to deliver me here today calling myself a black British person. What’s important about our stories is that they are local but at the same time global.
“I think audiences will identify with the trials, tribulations and joy of our characters as well as reflecting on the present environment in which we find ourselves,” McQueen added. “The dynamic nature of the series allows us to confront injustice in the face of adversity.”
The series will premiere on BBC One in 2020 while Amazon has won the rights to air in the US.
Production is currently underway in London.