Written by Travis Beacham and co-created alongside René Echevarria, Amazon Prime Video’s Carnival Row deals with issues of immigration and a series of murders through a fantasy-world scope. Cara Delevingne plays the role of refugee faerie, Vignette Stonemoss, while Orlando Bloom walks in as lead human detective and ex-boyfriend of Stonemoss, Rycroft Philostrate. Vignette thought Rycroft died in the war, but soon reunites with him when she arrives in the capital city, Burgue.
Showrunner Marc Guggenheim compared the plot of the show to reality. “We’re in a city called the Burgue,” explained Guggenheim. “It’s a failing empire; very Dickensian. It looks a lot like Victorian England. Because of various conflicts happening outside of the Burgue, refugees are flooding in, very much like how in Paris, they’re seeing an influx of Syrian refugees in real life. In our show, the refugees are various mythological creatures from fairy tales: pixies, fauns, trolls and centaurs.”
Delevingne is aware of how TV shows and movies can influence certain issues within our political landscape. “People want to be taken out of the real world a little bit even if it’s not escapism,” said Delevingne. “No one wants to watch a TV show about what the state of feminism is really like, so they can watch The Handmaid’s Tale [instead].”
Delevingne and Bloom share this opinion. “[We can] comment on the refugee crisis or migration through the lens of fantasy,” Bloom said. “People can look at it and be objective, rather than feel like they have to take sides.”
The genre of fantasy was something that was once laughed at a few years ago. Now with a wide array of successful fantasy films like Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings – a project Bloom has partaken in – Carnival Row is welcomed by Hollywood with open arms. The story that Carnival Row is trying to portray deals with very real issues that are still ongoing.
“Travis wrote this script 15 years ago,” said Guggenheim. “There was a real resonance back then, but that resonance has only grown to the point where we happen to be coming out at a time when this issue [of refugee crises] is at the forefront of everyone’s minds.”
Carnival Row will premiere on August 30 with eight episodes ready to stream on Amazon Prime.