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Television

‘Carnival Row’ star Orlando Bloom promises Amazon drama is ‘steampunk, but cooler’

David Gyasi, Orlando Bloom and Tamzin Merchant
“Carnival Row” stars David Gyasi, left, Orlando Bloom and Tamzin Merchant at the L.A. Times Photo and Video Studio at Comic-Con 2019.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Amazon’s new fantasy-detective-thriller-romance, “Carnival Row,” which premieres Friday on Amazon Prime, mixes Orlando Bloom, Cara Delevingne and a timely take on issues such as xenophobia and immigration.

Cast members Bloom, Tazmin Merchant and David Gyasi, with executive producer Marc Guggenheim and creator and executive producer Travis Beacham, visited the Los Angeles Times Photo and Video Studio at San Diego Comic-Con last month. Bloom pointed out that the show’s “fey” creatures — known largely from fairy tales — are tangibly real in its steampunk-y, Victorian-London-esque world.

Tamzin Merchant
A . gif video of Tamzin Merchant at the Los Angeles Times Photo and Video Studio at Comic-Con International 2019 in San Diego, Calif.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Mark Potts / Los Angeles Times)

Delevingne’s character is a tough fairy. Gyasi plays a “badass” faun he described as “Mr. Tumnus, but in a leather jacket.” Merchant plays a human with strong antifey inclinations but, after just a couple of episodes, her character looks to be taking a journey in that regard.

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Beacham said it took years from the show’s inception, through its eventual placement on the Hollywood Blacklist in 2005, to its birth as a series: “I wrote it in film school forever ago.”

“He had a dream in his dormitory,” interjected Bloom, to laughs from the group.

Amazon’s “Carnival Row” has drawn comparisons to “Game of Thrones.” Showrunner Marc Guggenheim says that’s like comparing “Star Wars” to “Star Trek.”

“When I wrote it, the issues of the time were more about race, especially living in the South, as I did. If anything, we tacked a little bit more toward immigration as we were developing for television,” said Beacham.

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“The way we like to put it is, this show is about any different way that you can subdivide a population.”

To see the entire interview, click on the video below.

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