Sunday, March 30, 2014

"Da Vinci's Demons" Season 2 - Diva Gets Devious With Blake Ritson and Carolina Guerra

Starz TV's very hip and very sexy cable TV series "Da Vinci's Demons" scored themselves a strong fan following in its first season.

Created by David Goyer, the historical-fantasy show is a re-imagining of the life of young Leonardo Da Vinci. The series stars Tom Riley as the lead character, Blake Ritson, Laura Haddock, Elliot Cowan, Lana Pulver amongst others. Part of the series draw are the sequences and depictions of what goes on in young Leonardo's mind as he observes the things around him, and fervently engineers his often over-the-top inventions. Well, over-the-top for that era, anyway.

At NYCC 2013, Red Dot Diva was given the chance to find out more about what's in store for the second season of "Da Vinci's Demons", which has moved beyond the Italian city of Florence, to South America and would feature the Inca Empire and related characters.

Hmmmmmm.... this certainly sounded absolutely absurd, and yet....  very imaginatively intriguing.

Before we get more into that and see what David Goyer had in mind for Season 2, Red Dot Diva managed to draw some tidbits from resident "Da Vinci's Demons" villain Count Girolamo Riario, played by British actor Blake Ritson, and gorgeous Inca high priestess Ima, embodied by Columbian actress Carolina Guerra.

At the press conference, Red Dot Diva thought Blake Ritson looked deviously handsome in his dark blue suit. Other than a devilish twinkle in his eye that appeared from time to time, he was a sea of brooding calm confidence.

In contrast, Carolina Guerra was vivacious and expressive. She also seemed like an absolutely lovely, giving person. Surprisingly, her English had a strong American accent and she made reference to that when she was asked about the language barrier when assuming the role of Ima, compared to acting back in South America.

With a sigh, she said, "It was one of the most challenging things. I have a slightly American English because there was where I learnt my English, and she (Ima) couldn't possibly talk like that. English is not my first language. So I couldn't talk as I normally do (for the character). Then, we had Quechua as well. Which is an ancient Inca official language. So, there were a lot of factors there, but in the end I had so much support from everyone's patience, and we had a Quechua expert on set. After the first two days, it was all perfect. 

I was trying to find the right way of how she would speak English, and she was taught English - I can't say by who because I will spoil the story - but the way they talked which was an indigenous way was different. They talked in a way that is so calm, so slow and they have another rhythm. It was a major issue for him to focus on, but in the end, it went really well."

Carolina also indicated how skillfully the "Da Vinci's Demons" writers portray the seemingly horrifying things that go on in the ancient and foreign cultures. "They help to redeem some of the brutal stuff that is happening in the story. For example, the sacrifices amongst the Inca. But you get to understand the reasons why they did that, like their faith and everything that was based on. So you get the bad part of these practices but also begin to be able to take away a lot of judgement from how you used to see things."

If you wanna be a high priestess, make sure you kick ass in gold
When asked about if there were any scenes which she enjoyed most, Carolina said, "Oh, there are so so many!" She paused to think for awhile, then continued, "I really liked the scenes when I had to speak Quechua. It was really challenging but it was really good. There were so many things going on in this particular scene, but I can't really tell much about it yet because it will be too revealing. All I can say is, there's Tom, Blake and Gregg in a ritual field." Oooh mysterious.

Here's a look of the new characters, including Ima, in Season 2:

Knowing that part of the new season will be taking place in Peru, viewers are of course expecting some sort of sea journey taking place for some of the characters.

OMG. Dat Look
Blake Ritson decided not to be too coy about "spoilers" and said, "One of the main thrust of the series is the search for the 'Book of Leaves'. In the end of the Pazzi Conspiracy, we leave Florence in a state of political turmoil and both Da Vinci and Riario were convinced that the 'Book of Leaves', which is a compendium of arcane forgotten knowledge, is the answer. This is the only way that we can settle the terrible state that the world is tumbling into. 

So, we both are on a quest for the 'Book of Leaves'. There is a bit of a race across the Atlantic. We both believe that it is in the New World, and we meet up there. And we are forced to some kind of grudging alliance and into an unpredictable state of affairs.

He then proceeded to describe the sea rig set that they had to act in:

Red Dot Diva asked Blake if he has discovered something new about the actual Leonardo Da Vinci that he did not know before, and Carolina joined in the discussion about the historical basis used for showcasing the Inca Empire in the new season.

And here's what they both had to say:

A journalist at the roundtable commented that the series' characters interact with each other as if it was a chess game. Blake agreed with this take on the show's continuing battle of wits. "The chess analogy is terrific. In season one, I played this game called Go with the prisoner, which is reputedly one of the most complicated deterministic strategy game and is created by Chinese warlords. And in this game, you don't think one move ahead, or two moves ahead, you think seven, eight, nine, ten moves ahead. Specifically in how Leonardo and Riario interact with each other. On the ground, there are people with very physical confrontations and then, above this there are Sixtus and Lorenzo trying to outmaneuver each other. It is that kind of strategizing that constantly colours the world in the series."

Will we get to see a different and somewhat changed Riario in the new season? "This is an extraordinary season for Riario," Blake said. "In the first season, he's in his comfort zone. he's very controlled and very measured. He's the Captain General of the Holy Roman Church and has the military support of Sixtus' own army. This year, he has been catapulted out of his comfort zone, and his pushed to absolute breaking point - physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. And we glimpse the dark recesses of his soul; there are a few flashbacks which fill in a few gaps to why he is such a dark and complex character. We will see many new sides, and an amorous side of Riario...." The ladies around the press table raised their eyebrows knowingly, which caused Blake to laugh, "Who would have thought of it?"

Red Dot Diva chuckled too. Blake might be mighty surprised to know what actually would and could run inside the fans' minds.

"Da Vinci's Demons" Season 2 is poised to take an even more deliriously imaginative and charismatic, with the addition of new characters and adventures taking place in new lands. Plus, no one rocks sunglasses like Count Riario does.

If you don't believe what Red Dot Diva says about Season 2, then check out Blake Ritson's special message to Red Dot Island fans of "Da Vinci's Demons":


NYCC 2013 ""Da Vinci's Demons" interview series:
- With Laura Haddock and Gregg Chillin
- Tom Riley and David S. Goyer (coming soon!)


Trailer for Season 2:

Get on the wild side of imagination, and catch the 2-episode premiere of "Da Vinci's Demons" Season 2 on FX Asia today, 30th March at 10 PM Singapore time!
(SingTel mio TV Ch. 310, StarHub TV Ch. 507)

There will be new episodes every Sunday at 10 PM on FX Asia.

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