GANGS Of London might have been described as the “most violent British drama ever” but filming the bloody battles was often a laugh.
Not long after the acclaimed drama hit screens, people complained about having nightmares and not being able to get through episodes of the drama which follows the aftermath of the death of major London crime boss, Finn Wallace.
Dubbed the “most violent British drama ever” some viewers even took their gripes to the communications regulator Ofcom.
Director Gareth Evans (Apostle, The Raid) told The Sun Online production on the gory scenes was very far removed from how it comes across on screen.
Some of show’s violence included eye gouging, and setting fire to a man hanging upside down from a skyscraper.
He even went as far to describe the on-set antics as “absurd” and recalled the infamous machete fight scene featuring undercover cop Elliot Finch (Sope Dirisu) and Len (Lee Charles).
A pivotal moment in the scene sees Elliot get sprayed in the face with his nemesis’ blood, but filming that felt very “cheap”.
Gareth explained: “One of the most absurd things is an example of the levity that comes across from shooting a scene like that is it’s a very climactic shot like that, when we cut over the shoulder Len, and see gallons of blood fall all over Elliott’s face.
The reality of shooting a scene like that is that we’re trying to do something with tubes in order to kind of pump the blood out, but it wasn’t working and came out as little dribbles.
“It looked a little silly on the first pass at it and so in the end, we went quite old school with our approach .”
Gareth revealed: “What you guys don’t see is the fact that you have Sope lying on the floor, you have Len who’s propping himself up in order to make it look like he just impacted on the meat cleaver.
“Then you’ve got Matt who is operating the camera trying to get an angle over his (Len’s) shoulder and then in the middle of all of that, you’ve also got our prosthetics guy Connell, who’s squeezing in between all three of those people with a cup of blood in order to throw at Sope’s face.
“So it become ridiculously absurd, when you’re shooting it and everyone in the room is thinking this is cheap and DIY there is now way this is going to work.”
But as viewers know the finished product felt very real and Gareth agreed.
Gareth said: “When you when you call action, you see it happen ‘boom, there it is’ and it looks quite visceral and it works.
“We’re seeing all the things the cameras not and then you realise how absurd it is we’re doing this and that this is considered a job.”
But for Sope – the actor who plays Elliot Finch the hard man who works his way up the Wallace family ranks by smashing heads and taking down dangerous enemies – the violent scenes were not “harrowing” to film.
He promised he didn’t suffer any long term psychological damage while filming Gangs of London.
Gareth Evans backed his star and defended the show’s violence which included eye gouging, and setting fire to a man hanging upside down from a skyscraper.
He went on to say the viewer fills “in the blanks” themselves once the cameras panned away.
“You’re filling in the blanks that I’m choosing not to show you which obviously can result in some people finding it more offensive because it becomes what’s in their head as opposed to what’s on the screen.”
Gangs of London can be viewed on Sky Atlantic on Thursday at 9pm.
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