'The English' on Prime Video: Creator Hugo Blick Talks 'Dust of the Old West' Inspiration Behind New Western Series (Exclusive)

Prime Video's newest series, The English, is a tense and thrilling Western starring Emily Blunt and Chaske Spencer. Together, the pair play a duo forced together by desperation but finding more than a necessity in one another. The series is created by British filmmaker Hugo Blick, who has long been a fan of all things Western cinema. PopCulture.com spoke with Blick before The English premiered on Amazon's streamer, and he shared some of what inspired the series.

Pointing to an old Jimmy Stewart quote, Blick noted that the iconic star once said "the Western is the purest form of cinema." He continued, "I think he meant by that that it's about one man in the landscape and the bigger the landscape, the more pressure, it's psychological, upon him. I took that to heart. I think that's absolutely right. It's an essential kind of operatic space, elevated space to tell these mythic tales about individuals against everything, the system, the environment, everything. And they're going to come out the other end and hopefully succeed."

Blick explained that his love of the West started when he was young, recalling, "I was sent out to Montana as a young man, to sort of straighten me out. And in my rear-view mirror of my truck, I remember... You just got the dust of the Old West, right, disappearing dust, even though it was 1980, disappearing dust. I genuinely did get to see something of the wonder of the West, and some of the problems that left behind. I knew I wanted to make a Western because I think it is the purest form of endeavor, as it were, and I knew I had a particular angle on it, eventually, that I wanted to take."

The writer-director went on to note that bringing The English to life taught him a valuable filmmaking lesson. "I just also knew that it was something you have to wait a while to do because logistically it's pretty demanding, actually," Blick said. "It's a whole bunch of horses in the middle of nowhere and the whole thing. So don't do it too soon. That's my advice."

Blick also noted some parallels between The English, and Westerns in general, to stories such as Homer's The Odyssey. "There is a Grecian quality to that, but that's what I think the Western is," he said. "I think it's the American exercise in the Greco-traditional culture of endeavor. People go on this journey. They have an idea when they start out what they're going to do. And at the end of the journey they're someone else so they don't need to do it anymore. Or they do or whatever."


Finally, he added, "It's got this essentialism about self-identity. You lose your identity beginning of the picture. You reclaim it. And then because you reclaimed it, what was the purpose of your journey, because it might have changed. It happened in Unforgiven. It happens in, well, any of Anthony Mann's pictures. It happens all the time in the Western. That's what it's about. And The English is, it's just the same. So that's its purpose." The English is now streaming on Prime Video.