Reprinted from The Hollywood Reporter by Alex Ritman on June 8, 2021.
For Steve McQueen, creating Small Axe — his landmark BBC/Amazon five-part anthology film series set within London’s West Indian community between the 1960s and 1980s — came from a burning desire to put important stories on screen that simply hadn’t been there before.
“It was a want, a must and a need,” he says as part of a Q&A with THR Presents, powered by Vision Media. “Things which I had wanted to see on TV, on the big screen, hadn’t been. It was an attempt to fix the cannon of cinema, fix the narrative, and things [that] have been missing from that narrative. And it was about looking back at a time, and looking at where we’ve come to and where we’ve come from.”
Speaking alongside his associate producer and lead researcher Helen Bart, production designer Helen Scott and costume designer on the Lovers Rock and Alex Wheatle segments, Jacqueline Durran, McQueen noted that Small Axe was 11 years in the making, having been discussed as an idea shortly after his first feature, Hunger. But back then, he admits, he simply wasn’t ready to embark on the journey. …