A lovely new interview with Tom for Metro has been posted online accompanied by a really gorgeous photo by Faye Thomas. See and read it in full on the website. Tom chats about the sex stuff, training while filming Monroe and getting into the mind of da Vinci.
‘So you want to go straight for the sex stuff?’ Tom Riley grins good-naturedly as we sit down to talk about his starring role as Leonardo in new TV series Da Vinci’s Demons. Well I hadn’t actually; normally, I go in for a little interview foreplay. But I’d dropped the word ‘bawdy’ into my icebreaker and Riley is happy to get the sex stuff on the table.
‘Shows such as Game Of Thrones have changed the rules about what cable TV can do – the nudity and violence is there, the gloves are off,’ he says. ‘As an actor, you trust that it’s part of the action.’ Wasn’t he anxious when reading the script that page 46 would say ‘Leonardo gets his arse out’? ‘A little bit,’ he laughs, ‘but it’s all very tasteful.’ The glint in his eye is tongue in cheek...
...To add spice to the mix, Da Vinci’s Demons dips its toes into the intrigue surrounding Leonardo’s sexual urges, with episodes four and five tackling our hero’s ambiguous sexuality. ‘We certainly didn’t want to ignore that complex side to his character,’ says Riley, who’s not kissing and telling on which way it swings. Though he adds: ‘It’s safe to say that nothing was off-limits to Leonardo.’
There is something of the Leonardo geek about Riley, who talks with the kind of magpie mind intelligence you imagine Da Vinci possessed. He speaks excitedly about how the show achieved its startling special effects: with the help of an extravagantly expensive camera called a Phantom, one captivating sequence follows a starling landing in mesmerising slow-mo on Riley’s shoulder. ‘That was one of those moment in acting where you just go “wow”, did that happen?’ he says.
Aware of the pressure of having a show riding on his shoulders, Riley took a true superhero approach by hooking up with the personal trainers who whipped Daniel Craig into his James Bond shape. ‘I lost nearly two stone and dropped to ten per cent body fat,’ he says. ‘I was training while still filming Monroe and you can see me shrinking from episode to episode. Luckily, that fitted my character.