This is the third post in a three-part series.
Yes, there are spoilers.
In two earlier posts, I explored the differences between the story boards and the film in Peaky Blinders 3.2 and 3.5, Scene 1. There is one other set of storyboards linked on Rachel Garlick’s website that are relevant in terms of changes made to Tatiana’s character, and those have to do with 3.5, Scenes 50/51. (If you haven’t read through the storyboards, I recommend you do so by clicking here. There’s some interesting material there.)
In these storyboards, Garlick illustrates out the original plans for the khysty scene where Tatiana summons Grace’s ghost. One problem with writing about these storyboards is the lack of material leading up to these scenes. I have been struck by Tatiana’s persistent wish to take Grace’s place: She wants to be in the room Tommy and Grace shared; she wears Grace’s perfume; she asks Tommy, repeatedly, “You want her, don’t you?” before summoning her ghost. That lead-in material is missing from the storyboards, which focus solely on the khlysty scene.
The storyboards are fairly similar to Tim Mielants’s film.
In the series, Tommy, wearing only his boxers, enters the room, which has become the room he shared with Grace, not the room in Wilderness House, walking toward Tatiana who stands looking out the window. The reflection in the glass is Grace’s. Tatiana turns around, and Grace enters the frame. She is wearing the dress she died in as she kisses Tommy, putting her hand on his throat, pushes Tommy to the bed, her hands on his throat.
When Tommy returns to himself, he lies on the floor, gasping. He is clothed again as he rips off his necktie. Tatiana lies naked beside him. “Now you should drink this,” she says, handing him a bottle. “It’s holy water.” “Get the fuck away from me,” Tommy says. Tatiana curls up against his side. “There. I opened up another treasury for you,” she says. Tommy, his arm around her shoulders, breathes heavily.
There are minor, but significant differences between the storyboards and the film.
First, Grace unties her hair, which is held up by a silk band. She turns it into a noose, puts it around Tommy’s neck, and leads him to the bed. In the storyboards, Grace pulls the noose tighter as Tommy chokes. This level of violence is missing from the series. Also, in the storyboards, she is wearing a coat (presumably Tommy’s) rather than the dress that would become her shroud.
Second, in the storyboards, Tommy wakes up with Tatiana not on the floor but in bed, and she removes the silk band from his neck.
Third, Tatiana forces him to drink the liquor, and there’s no sense of intimacy between them. Gone is Tommy’s command to “get the fuck away.” And Tatiana does not mention the treasury she has opened for him. The tone is very different.
The storyboards, I would argue, again suggest a less sympathetic Tatiana than appears in the series. This Tatiana is much more violent and controlling. Clearly, she is in a position of power over him. Perhaps this is an extension of the class issues that Tatiana represents, and Tommy is showing again that despite his wealth and power, he is still the little boy from Birmingham looking in the window of a mansion that Tatiana alludes to in 3.4. Moreover, in the series, Tommy refuses to drink and verbally tries to reassert his personal space. That is, he is more empowered on film than in the storyboards.
And the addition of Tatiana’s opening a treasury is interesting. On one hand, it makes an obvious parallel to the vault under the house the Peaky Blinders will attempt to rob. On the other hand, it suggests there is something valuable in what Tommy and Tatiana have done — this is about more than just sex.
Does it work? I would argue it does. I’m not a big fan of Tatiana in the series, but it like Film Tatiana better than I do Storyboard Tatiana.
(It’s also interesting that Rachel Garlick has chosen to include two sets of storyboards from scenes that use some of the most compelling music. 3.5.1 is set to David Bowie’s “Lazarus”‘ 3.5.50/51 is set to Leonard Cohen’s “You Want It Darker.”)
Publication Date: 15 July 2016
Related Blog Posts
•Peaky Blinders 3.4 Review: Tommy and Tatiana (BTW, I’m on #Team Grace)
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