‘Gangs of London’ Star Paapa Essiedu Teases Power Plays and Family Drama (VIDEO)
Gangs of London is an action-packed series about crime that’s also a satisfying family drama. Making its U.S. debut Sunday, April 4, on AMC, the series, from Gareth Evans, centers on the most powerful criminal family in London, whose patriarch, Finn Wallace (Colm Meaney), winds up dead. Who ordered the hit is a central question, and leading the search for answers is Finn’s hothead son Sean (Joe Cole), helped by Wallace’s right-hand family the Dumanis. That family is led by Ed (Lucian Msamati) with the aid of son Alexander (Paapa Essiedu).
Below, Essiedu previews what viewers can expect from the fast-paced series. Plus, catch an exclusive sneak peek at in a special clip, below.
How does Alex fit into Gangs of London?
Paapa Essiedu: Finn Wallace is at the top of the chain of this underground and overground organization. He gets mysteriously, inexplicably removed from proceedings. His son is meant to be the second-in-command, but it feels like he’s not been properly prepared. … Alex Dumani is the kind of brains behind the organization and the key towards future legitimization.
Ed, Alex’s dad, was Finn’s right-hand man, but are Alex’s loyalties as strong? Is he sticking around by choice or is it his history that keeps him involved?
It’s kind of both. He’s there by association in that his dad works for the family. He grew up side by side with Sean, and Finn and [his wife] Marian (Michelle Fairley) were like an uncle and aunty to him from when he was younger. So he’s woven into the fabric of this world. But he’s got his own ambitions and direction in which he’s heading. It gets to a point where he becomes invaluable, indispensable to the future of the organization.
Compared to others in the organization, Alex’s hands are relatively clean. Is that the way he likes it?
I think it’s all relative. There’s a lot of people out there whose hands are, I suppose, clean in a literal sense. And the fact that they’re not the literal person behind the gun, but they’re not far removed from that means their actions are not divisible from that. So I think with Alex, he’s got a focus and ambition that is in a parallel, but not a separate, world from the down-in-the gutter fighting.
Alex works closely with his father, what can you say about their relationship?
Before the events of the show, Ed’s wife, Alex and Shannon’s mum, passes away, and I think Ed struggled at that point. That’s the period in time that we spend with Finn and Marian. So there’s definitely an emptiness, a live grief at the center of that family. So there are certain situations where that becomes more apparent or, at least, more difficult to ignore. There’s a tension that sometimes is very taut and sometimes a little bit more slack.
Gangs of Londonhas a lot going for it, but what do you think will draw viewers in the most?
It’s got something for a lot of different types of viewers. For people that are into seeing really high-quality, cinematic-level action scenes, we’ve got that. But at its real core [Gangs of London]’s a family drama and it’s about love, jealousy, betrayal, power, and what to do when you’re put in a situation where your life is in danger. So, I think it kind of functions on many different levels. It really blends many genres and styles of entertainment together.
Gangs of London, Premieres Sunday, April 4, 10/9c, AMC