12 Years A Slave, Shame, and Widows director Steve McQueen has delivered what many consider his most ambitious work yet in the five-part anthology series Small Axe. The project, which airs on BBC One in the U.K. and is released one episode per week on Amazon Prime Video in the U.S. from November 20, tells five different stories set in London’s West Indian community from the 1960s to the 1980s.
There’s “Red, White and Blue,” with John Boyega as Leroy Logan, a former scientist turned cop who must deal with extreme racism when he joins the Metropolitan Police Force; “Lovers Rock,” an ode to raucous London house parties of the ’80s for those not welcome at white nightclubs; “Mangrove,” the true story of how police raids on a Caribbean restaurant led to peaceful protests, a set of wrongful arrests, and ultimately a major win against discrimination; and more.
Ahead of the series’ release – and, really, this is less a TV series than five thematically linked feature films – Rotten Tomatoes editor Jacqueline Coley spoke to stars Letitia Wright (“Mangrove”), Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn (“Lovers Rock”), Shaun Parkes (“Mangrove”), and Malachi Kirby (“Mangrove”) about working with the Oscar-nominated director, the responsibility of playing game-changing historical figures, and the opportunity to tell stories about this community on a scale rarely seen.
Small Axe is available weekly on Amazon Prime Video.
Thumbnail image: Des Willie, Amazon Studios