LETITIA WRIGHT and John Boyega have been cast in Steve McQueen’s upcoming anthology series for the BBC.
Small Axe is an anthology of hour-long stories conceived and written by the Oscar-winning director alongside Alastair Siddons and Courttia Newland. The series, which is currently in production, will have Alex Wheatle as a writing consultant.
The series tell five stories, with the first told across two episodes, and are set within London’s West Indian community from the late 1960s to the early 80s.
The title Small Axe is derived from a Jamaican proverb which has resonance throughout the Caribbean, “if you are the big tree, we are the small axe”.
Small Axe is also the title of a Bob Marley song from his 1973 album Catch A Fire. It means that relatively marginal or small voices of dissent can successfully challenge more powerful voices.
The drama has been commissioned by Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content, and the executive producer for the BBC is Lucy Richer, Senior Commissioning Editor for Drama. Amazon has licensed the show for the US. BBC Studios is handling worldwide sales.
Speaking on the project, Steve McQueen said: “I felt these stories needed to be shared. I wanted to re-live, re-evaluate 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. The dynamic nature of the series allows us to confront injustice in the face of adversity hence the proverb Small Axe, ‘if you are the big tree, we are the small axe’ (Bob Marley).”
John Boyega is best known for his role as Finn in the latest feature films in the Star Wars franchise. Letitia Wright most recently starred in the box office and awards season sensation Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War.