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Friday, August 4, 2023

“How far will you go for yourself versus protecting your family?” Executive Producer Jane Featherstone on how family feuds take a violent turn in Gangs of London

Navigate the intricate dynamics of London's most notorious crime families in the new season of 'Gangs of London', starring Sope Dìrísù and Waleed Zuaiter when it streams exclusively on Lionsgate Play. 

Family drama and power struggles once again take center stage in the much-anticipated second season of Gangs of London, exclusively streaming on Lionsgate Play.The volatile landscape of London's underworld has been dramatically reshaped following the death of Sean Wallace (Joe Cole) and the bloody upheavals of Season 1. With the Wallaces scattered and the Dumanis estranged, a new, ruthless order has emerged under the leadership of the brutal gang leader — Koba (Waleed Zuaiter). His reign of terror, marked by battlefield atrocities, torture, and family kidnappings, is designed to cow other gangs into submission. 

Meanwhile, ex-undercover cop Elliot Carter (Sope Dìrísù) delves back into the dark underbelly of London to investigate gangland assassinations, he uncovers stirrings of rebellion. This season promises a rollercoaster of betrayals, alliances, brutal murders, and breathtaking action sequences. Yet at its core, the series is an exploration of the complexities of family relationships, set against a backdrop of crime and power struggles.

When asked about how the show makes hyper stylized ultraviolence and emotional family beats work together, Executive Producer Thomas Benski said, “It’s that modern classic, isn’t it? It’s that classic Shakespearean tragedy of family through a very modern lens. We’ve all been so attentive on the tonal balance, that attention and obsession to detail, that allowed it to find its place, and there is so much thought. Action is a genre that sometimes can be simplistic, right? Whereas this, the idea was to create something that had many layers. There’s obviously a very ultra-violent, action-driven, path but the way it was written felt more like a family saga.”


Season 2’s main antagonist Koba is a formidable foe precisely because of his lack of family ties, explained Waleed Zuaiter: “One of the things that we explore in both series, and very much so in the second series, is family loyalties. Koba appears to have no loyalties to anybody or anything other than himself and he considers that to be a massive strength. In fact, it was all based on research which the writers do, which is that real Georgian gangsters are advised never to have a relationship, not to have a partner or children, because ultimately then you have a weakness which is shown in Luan and with Marian and with everybody. Anyone who loves another person has a weakness and so Koba doesn’t appear to love anybody or anything. Our guys do: Elliot has his father and he lost his wife and he loves Shannon; Marian ultimately will do anything for her children and she’s lost one of them and she has two remaining who she has to look after. Those people are weak as a result of that, and indeed that’s how it played out. It’s like: how far will you go for yourself versus protecting your family? Asif lost his son in S1 and what does now mean for him? It makes people reckless to have lost everything. It makes you very dangerous. So Koba is very dangerous because he has nothing to lose. He doesn’t care at all, and as a result what we’ve got is somebody who infects our gangs that we know and love, who do have family at the heart of them ultimately, who are built on family and tradition. He infects them and by the end those families are fighting each other inside the families and with each other in a way that we would probably never have predicted in S1.”


Waleed Zuaiter, who plays Koba, also talked about his character’s ruthlessness: “His code is ‘no family’ and that’s a really nice juxtaposition to everything about the show, because so much of Gangs is about family. From my research, the Georgian gang culture has evolved a little bit but the old school gangsters do still live by that ‘no family’ code because there’s no attachments. If you have anything of worth, your enemies can hold that against you, so it’s a very freeing role. You get to explore a lot.”


Catch the action-packed drama Gangs of London, available exclusively on Lionsgate Play starting 28th July.


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