New Da Vinci's Demons season 3 interviews with Tom and Elliot have been shared on MCM BUZZ. The article includes details of their visit to the set of Da Vinci's Demons last year, as well as more recent interviews with Tom, after the cancellation was announced. As with other recent interviews, Tom is quite positive about the show ending, so we fans shouldn't be unhappy. Read the article in full on MCM BUZZ.
Riley, though, thinks this may actually be to the third season’s advantage: “The good thing, and the reason I do feel okay about it, is that we did find a way to satisfactorily finish it. All the characters arcs come to a conclusion. It’s not going to end with a cliffhanger like the others did. It’s bitter sweet because obviously we’re going to miss everyone but it’s nice to feel that we’re finishing proper rather than just leave people hanging.”
The season also has a new showrunner in John Shiban (The X-Files, Breaking Bad). Creator and original showrunner David S Goyer remains in a kind of “godfather” role but Riley thinks Shiban has re-energised the show.
“It’s the best stuff we’ve done. It’s so much richer and so much more characterful. Which is I think what allowed us to end the show because digging into those characters means that we found the best possible way to end each individual storyline. It’s certainly smarter than it was. “The season goes at a lick as well. And it looks amazing. The one real shame about us ending is that we finally found out how to make it look the best that it could look. And how to make the characters work best together.”
The feature on MCM BUZZ focuses on the season 3 set of the pleasure palace; both Tom and Elliot comment on the new set.
“No, I don’t ever want to see that Pleasure Palace set again!” says Da Vinci’s Demons star Tom Riley, with a mock shudder at the memory. “There were too many Oedipal things in to be honest. If you want to see a staircase that looks like a vagina, fine. Or door handles in the shape of erections!”
So what’s all this we hear about the Pleasure Palace?
“At the end of last season Florence was having money issues and was bankrupt. So a way to replenish the coffers was to tax certain shady areas of the Florence underworld. I don’t have much of a role in the Pleasure Palace, to be honest. I’m not in Florence that much this season. I come back mid season. It’s a very impressive new set build. It’s a depraved den of iniquity. We’re trying not to linger too much on the filth in terms of what the cameras will show but as actors we can’t help but see it. The camera tries to just glimpse it but we’re having to live with it in our faces day in, day out!”
What difference has the new showrunner, John Shiban, brought to the show?
“It’s night and day, really. I think it’s going to be really interesting to see how people take it. John Shiban didn’t necessarily feel that the show was being explored to its full potential. John is adamant that we can delve deeper into the characters and we can get a deeper, richer, more character-driven drama. It still continues to be an exciting adventure show, but it’s very much the characters driving the plot than the other way around. “John was very collaborative in the takeover. He sat down with all the cast, and said, ‘What are you’re voices? How do you feel? What don’t you like about the show and your character? What would you like to improve?’ Every actor’s always got a million opinions on that, anyway.”
What did you say you didn’t like?
[Laughs] “I said I liked everything. John’s very good at listening to the opinions he likes and discarding the ones that he doesn’t, as is his right. And it’s been great. “He’s managed to get an incredible writing team. Jesse Alexander who wrote on Lost and Hannibal. Then you’ve got people who’ve worked on Orphan Black, Sons Of Anarchy and Breaking Bad. It’s an incredible team!”
You’re also credited as a producer on the show. Do you like being a part of the crew as well as the cast?
“It’s really exciting to be on that side of the camera. Also you realise what a pain in the arse actors are. ’Cos you’re sitting there in a room and somebody’s running around going, ‘We’ve just lost the church! We need a church for a shoot next week! We need to find another location!’ And somebody comes in and goes, ‘This actor doesn’t like the chairs in his flat.’ And I’m there thinking, ‘I’m never doing that again.’”
So what’s in store for Leonardo this season?
“He’s going to spend most of the season trying to rectify his mistakes. Whereas we started the first season with a very cocky, arrogant man, he’s grown into a man who realises what a curse
his intelligence can be and will gradually become wiser. “We all researched the hell out of it at the beginning. What I discovered about Leonardo was so fascinating, and really far removed from what is the commonly held public perception of him. Everything that I read didn’t point me in the direction of a wise, sage man, sitting alone being very together and grounded and doling out philosophy. It was a kind of arrogant, cocksure, irritating, overwhelming borderline autistic in his relationships man. It simply wasn’t who I had in my head. But it informed me the most when we went into that first series. “And when I look back on it, I think if you combine that slightly comic-book look we went for in the first year with this very brash version of Leonardo that we uncovered in the research, it’s quite jarring. And I think it took a little while for people to click onto what the show was.
“One thing that John Shiban really felt about the series, and one thing I really begged for in season two was, can he get something wrong? He’s got to start not being able to achieve things overnight because it’s not interesting. If a character not only claims not to be flawed but isn’t flawed then you’ve just got a hero who hasn’t earned it. And I think that’s what John let too. So we’re knocking him off his pedestal. In fact what the Turks bring down on him are his own ideas. His own designs are being used against him so he has to out-Da Vinci himself. Which is an impossible task which he is incapable of doing for a very long time.
“There isn’t so much the invention-of-the-week aspect as previously. Overnight submarines don’t happen quite as much. But there are inventions that are being created weekly by other people that are being used against him, and there will be ways he has to find to beat that. But there won’t be so much Renaissance MacGyver.”
How ambidextrous are you?
“I’m a bit more ambidextrous than most people but not as ambidextrous as ambidextrous people.”Do you have to consciously think about which hand you’re going to use in a scene?
“I do. I actually do because otherwise I instinctively use my right. So usually I’ll go through a script and go, ‘Left, right, left, right, left, right…’ and I have to remind myself on the day. I don’t think people notice as much… left-handed people notice.”