Words matter. These are the best Steven Knight Quotes, and they’re great for sharing with your friends.
With any period piece I think the thing to do is forget that it’s not contemporary when you’re writing and to have the characters feel as much as possible like characters that you would know.
I think it’s a bit like saying a painter does a painting everyone loves and it’s 40% blue paint, so from now on you have to paint paintings that are 40% blue. That’s the film industry at its most blunt, which is why it’s constantly bats and spiders and superheroes.
Peaky’ is the luckiest project I’ve ever been involved with.
Locke’ was sort of myself trying to find out if you could give yourself the maximum number of obstacles to make enough drama and seeing if you could do it.
Yeah, I think people are drawn to characters that break the rules.
I think it is best that if you are the writer you just leave the director to it. With the caveat that you state, ‘Be gentle with the script. And if there are changes, consult me.’
What Westerns did was to take a world and mythologise it.
Peaky’ has attracted a lot of attention from different disciplines in the arts. It was originally going to be a ballet, which is Ballet Rambert, and there is also a lot of music artists who offer their music to the show to be used on the soundtrack.
Some accents people – internationally – can’t understand, also they come with baggage. London means a certain thing, Liverpool means a certain thing. Whereas with Welsh, he can be a middle-class man with working-class roots and still have an accent and it not be an issue.
I want to be influenced by the world not TV or film.
I will never unravel the mystery of how a script gets into the hands of certain people.
Expect the unexpected, is what I’d say about ‘Taboo.’
You meet people and you hear the way they talk and the way they behave, and that subconsciously gets fed into the characters you create ’cause you have to make them flesh and blood somehow.
There’s a grown-upness about television now that wasn’t there before. You do know you’re doing stuff for adults who can tell the difference between right and wrong, well hopefully, and make judgements about violence. And with ‘Peaky,’ always if there is an act of violence, there is a consequence.
So many American and international producers want to shoot in the U.K. because of our crew base and tax incentives.
Peaky’ is a very personal thing for me because it’s based on stories that I was told as a kid by my parents. At the very beginning, I tried to have other writers involved but it just didn’t work.
In the States a lot of Hispanic and black audiences are gravitating towards ‘Peaky Blinders.’ A mate of went into a bar in Santa Monica and sent me a photo of four blokes dressed as Peakies – they meet every week for a ‘Peaky Blinders’ evening.
I want to make people see that evil is seductive and that we need to be careful.
Manchester’s history is cotton and wool. Birmingham’s is iron and steel.
Spaghetti Junction is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen at night.
I think an under-recognized fact is that TV has changed because the screens have, we now have these massive screen in our homes… so it’s worth making your show look good.
TV is a writer’s medium, the writer is in charge effectively. So what you write is what gets shot, so in that sense I prefer it. But in terms of the scale of it, features are fantastic.
I love the BBC. I love working with the BBC. They leave you alone; they give you zero notes. It’s like being on vacation.
If I choose to direct something, it’s because I don’t think it would get accepted.
I’ve had more reaction to ‘Peaky’ than anything. People react really intensely.
I just don’t like cinemas very much. And when I do see a film it depresses me.
In Britain, when the working class are summoned for fiction, it’s ‘isn’t it a shame, isn’t it a pity, isn’t it awful, the terribly poor things… ‘ whereas from within, it’s nothing like that. It’s fantastic, it’s glamorous, it’s terrible and good the same as it is for everybody.
With TV, your structure is determined by the series not the episode. You can have incident without consequence to the character, but keep your eye on the ticking clock of the series.
I’ve been banging on about doing stuff in Birmingham for years and years, and everyone says ‘We can’t, it’s the accent thing.’ For some reason it’s a very difficult accent to get right, harder even than Geordie.
The things that are considered to be respectable have their roots in unrespectable things.
Part of the reason for doing ‘Peaky Blinders,’ apart from the fact that it was a personal story and I’ve always wanted to do it, was what was great I felt is that Birmingham is probably the least fashionable city in Britain.
Now because the film industry is what it is, if people are expecting a certain film genre and they’re not getting it, there are howls of outrage.
Any attempt to recreate a world of 1814, or 100 years before that – I think it’s important to understand that the people of the time had a different concept of what reality was. Their reality was much more haunted.
There’s no writers room, or any other writer involved. I write everything from beginning to end. Maybe it’s just me not being able to let go of something, especially with ‘Peaky.’
I was doing two things at once for quite a long time. I was working in television and writing novels.
Whenever I went to L.A. the first thing people said in the meeting, no matter what it was about, was how much they loved ‘Peakys.’ So Hollywood was really going for it which is always a good start. Also Snoop Dogg is a big fan.
There are so many rules about how you make a film and so many conventions that you can and can’t do. I think people have forgotten that they are just rules that were invented for convenience – sometimes it is more convenient not to obey the rules.
A funny thing about film is that it’s the only medium where people say there are really rules that you have to stick to. Nobody says to the writer – in a film you’ve got to have three acts – there’s a character arc you have to do – there’s no reason that’s true.
I think there’s a tendency in England, when you look at the past, to either have upper middle class period drama with its own rules, or if you’re going to look at working class people, you have to do that in a particular ‘Isn’t it a shame, aren’t they oppressed’ way, or it’s treated comically.
Any question about narrative storytelling is answered by Dickens.
No money has ever been spent on ‘Peaky Blinders’ in terms of publicity, there’s no massive campaign – because it’s the BBC you just get the trailers. But what’s happened is people have found it for themselves and I think the loyalty is greater when people find than when they’re told to watch something.
You can make somebody bad for a long time, and people love it when they then do one good thing and it’s almost like a triumph. Actors seem to enjoy it more.
I think the best actors do both. I think they fulfill what you want them to do, in terms of the vision for the whole piece. And then they always bring something that does surprise you and shock you.
It’s such a gift when you know who you’re writing for and you know that that actor is capable of so much that you can relax a bit.
The problem with prequels is you’re limiting yourself as to where it can go.
There used to be grandparents who would say that if you were misbehaving the Peaky Blinders would get you, they were the bogeymen.
Well directing TV is very time-consuming, so if you are going to direct TV, a season will take a year out of your life.
Any genre as it’s called, I think can be quite reductive in terms of what a film is, because I think there is an eagerness to put in any film, in anybody’s work, to give it a genre title and I think as a consequence of that, the film starts to obey the rules of the genre.
What I like about ‘Taboo’ just in general, even in writing it, you are not certain what the motives are sometimes because these characters are so odd that you let them speak for themselves and you’re never quite sure where it’s headed.
Horses do sense things way before people.
Making a film is hard because you’re not dealing with the intangible. When you’re writing, it’s perfect because it’s only in your head and then you have to take it into the physical world and that’s where things drop off and things fall apart and you have to fix them.
Taboo’ certainly isn’t a commentary on other types of period drama. It’s just a different way of tackling one.
A commission and an original are two different things, and both have their virtues and vices. A commission is a bit more collaborative, in that you outline the story that you think should be told, and then you write it. And then, there are notes and you change it, in the conventional studio system.
My dad’s uncles were illegal bookmakers who were known in the area as Peaky Blinders, that’s the stories I heard.
There’s always a concern over budget with film too but people are more extravagant when they’re making a feature. In television everything’s tight, everything’s paired down and it’s just a question of making it look expensive.
In terms of the symbolism, I think that if you do it right, writing is a bit like dreaming.
The film business seems to attract rules more than any other business. I don’t know why it does. I think it’s because there’s so much money at stake.
I never set out to write a script that is ‘topical.’
There have been times when I’ve shaved twice in the same morning because I’ve forgotten I’ve shaved already.
The great thing about America is that people take its history and mythologise it.