Da Vinci's Demons
|Da Vinci's Demons|
|Created by||David S. Goyer|
|Theme music composer||Bear McCreary|
|Country of origin||
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||18 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||57–59 minutes|
|Distributor||Tonto Films and Television Limited|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Audio format||Dolby Digital 5.1|
|Original release||12 April 2013– present|
Da Vinci's Demons is a historical fantasy drama series that presents a fictional account of Leonardo da Vinci's early life. The series was conceived by David S. Goyer and stars Tom Riley in the title role. It is developed and produced in collaboration with BBC Worldwide and is shot in Wales, United Kingdom. The series has been distributed to over 120 countries.
The show follows Leonardo as he is implicated in the political schemes of the Medici and Pazzi families and their contrasting relationships with the Catholic Church. These events occur alongside Leonardo's quest to obtain the Book of Leaves as he finds himself entangled with a cult known as the Sons of Mithras.
The series premiered in the United States on Starz in 12 April 2013, and its second season premiered on 22 March 2014. The series has been renewed for a third season, which will premiere in 2015.
The series explores the fictitious early life of Leonardo da Vinci during the Renaissance in Italy. He is an eccentric genius who has struggled to deal with his inner demons and unruly imagination, as he yearns for acceptance from his estranged father. Their sometimes antagonistic relationship results in Leonardo's working for the House of Medici. While there he becomes embroiled in a political scheme to control Florence, as he hunts for a spy who is revealing information to the Catholic Church and the Pazzi family. He also begins an affair with Lucrezia Donati, Lorenzo de' Medici's mistress. The series depicts many of Leonardo's inventions and subsequent works as a military engineer for the Duke of Milan and the Borgias.
These events coincide with Leonardo's quest to uncover the Book of Leaves. He is guided by a mystic to unlock the hidden areas of his mind by accessing the Fountain of Memory, as he gets involved with a mysterious cult known as the Sons of Mithras. They inform him that he has the power to not only see the future but to shape it.
Cast and characters
- Tom Riley as Leonardo da Vinci
- Laura Haddock as Lucrezia Donati
- Blake Ritson as Count Girolamo Riario
- Elliot Cowan as Lorenzo de' Medici
- Lara Pulver as Clarice Orsini
- James Faulkner as Pope Sixtus IV – Francesco & Alessandro della Rovere.
- Gregg Chillin as Zoroaster de Peretola, friend and accomplice to Leonardo.
- Eros Vlahos as "Nico", apprentice to Leonardo.
- Hera Hilmar as Vanessa Moschella, outspoken Florentine barmaid and occasional model for Leonardo.
- Allan Corduner as Andrea Verrocchio
- Lee Boardman as Amerigo Vespucci
- David Schofield as Piero da Vinci, notary to Lorenzo and father to Leonardo.
- Michael Elwyn as Gentile Becchi
- Tom Bateman as Giuliano de' Medici, brother to Lorenzo.
- Ian Pirie as Captain Nazzareno Dragonetti
- Ross O'Hennessy as Commander Quattrone
- Alexander Siddig as Aslan Al-Rahim, "The Turk"
- Shaun Parkes as Solomon Ogbai, "The Abyssinian”
- Ray Fearon as Carlo de' Medici, illegitimate son of Cosimo de' Medici, "The Magician".
- Nick Dunning as Cardinal Lupo Mercuri, Curator of the Vatican Secret Archives
- Kieran Bew as Alfonso, Duke of Calabria
- Jeany Spark as Ippolita Maria Sforza, Duchess of Calabria
- Matthew Marsh as Ferdinand I of Naples
- Vincent Riotta as Duke Federico da Montefeltro
- Carolina Guerra as Ima, High Priestess of the Children of the Sun
- Raoul Trujillo as the Sapa Inca
- Estella Daniels as Zita
- Elliot Levey as Francesco Pazzi
- Michael Culkin as Jacopo Pazzi
- Ieuan Rhys as Councilman De'Rossi
- Paul Rhys as Vlad Tepes
- Richard Sammel as Hartweg
- Paul Westwood as Niccoló Ardinghelli
- Faye Johnson as Camilla Pazzi
- Abbie Hirst as Allegra Pazzi
- David Sturzaker as Bernardo Baroncelli
- Tom Wu as Quon Shan
- Hugh Bonneville as Galeazzo Maria Sforza
- Akin Gazi as Bayezid II
Tom Riley was the first actor to be cast in the series, as The Hollywood Reporter announced he had landed the role as da Vinci. Goyer and managing director Carmi Zlotnik revealed he was cast as he could portray the character with many dimensions that would appeal to a worldwide audience. They later reported that Laura Haddock had been cast in the female lead as Lucrezia Donati.
The series has marked the first collaboration between Starz and BBC Worldwide following a new production agreement. The show was created by Goyer, who directed the first two episodes and wrote several others along writers such as Scott Gimple, Brian Nelson and Joe Ahearne. Julian Court and Jamie Payne were hired as cinematographers who worked interchangeably with the different directors.
Filming for the series took place in the United Kingdom, at Swansea, Neath, Port Talbot and Margam Castle in Wales. A 265,000 square foot studio in Swansea Gate Business Park was also used and several sets were built to resemble 15th century Florence. Annie Symons was brought on board as the lead costume designer. Bear McCreary composed the score for the series, and orchestrated the main theme to reflect Leonardo's use of mirror writing. Goyer had a scene in episode five depicting a kiss between Leonardo and Jacopo Saltarelli filmed in secret as he feared network interference.
Goyer revealed to USA Today at the New York Comic Con that season two would also be set in South America and would feature Machu Picchu and the Inca Empire. Goyer claimed that this was justified by "new research" that has revealed Chinese and European explorers may have arrived in the New World earlier than was originally believed.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||8||April 12, 2013||June 7, 2013|
|2||10||March 22, 2014||May 31, 2014|
Season 1 has received favourable reviews from critics. It holds a 63% approval rating on aggregate review site Rotten Tomatoes, based on 30 collected critic reviews, with an average score of 6.2/10. The sites consensus reads: "Despite its preposterous plotting and lack of historical accuracy, Da Vinci's Demons is energetic, enjoyable escapist television." It also holds a Metacritic score of 62 out of 100, based on 27 critics reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews."
Season 2 has also been received well. It hold a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 6 critics reviews, with an average rating of 7.8/10. Furthermore it holds a Metacritic score of 69 out of 100, based on 4 critic reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews."
Da Vinci's Demons received three nominations for Outstanding Main Title Design, Outstanding Main Title Theme Music and Outstanding Special Visual Effects at the 65th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards. The series won Main Title Design and Main Title Theme Music, but lost Visual Effects to the Cinemax series Banshee.
Faithfulness to the historical timeline
While the series maintains fantasy elements throughout, it still works within a historical context. Deviations from the historical timeline are usually done so for dramatic purposes. These liberties include Leonardo's charge and acquittal of sodomy with three other men according to Florentine court records, was changed in the series, as he is tried alone for an affair with Jacopo Saltarelli. Certain figures are also featured in place of others to allow for more narrative expansion and character development. This is noted by the inclusion of Cosimo de' Medici and Vlad the Impaler among several others.
Sexuality of Leonardo
There is widespread belief that Leonardo was primarily if not exclusively sexually attracted to and involved with men. Goyer acknowledged this and said that the show would not shy away from the subject. Riley cited that because the speculation exists it is something that should be honoured. His possible sexual interest in men was addressed in detail in episode five of season one when he is tried for sodomy. Leonardo describes his sexual relationship with men as a curiosity, as he states "No one defines me."
In a later interview with the gay-interest website The Backlot, Riley expressed his hope that the episode addressed concerns about the show's depiction of Leonardo's sexuality in a way that is satisfactory and respectful to any historical beliefs. Some readers reacted with anger at what they deemed to be the straight-washing of a historical figure.
- Cultural depictions of Leonardo da Vinci
- Leonardo a 2011–2012 children's television series from the BBC
- Personal life of Leonardo da Vinci
- Jonathan Jones. "Da Vinci's Demons: the new TV show that totally reinvents Leonardo's life". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- Marisa Guthrie (8 August 2011). "Starz Partners with BBC on Original Series". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- Christine Shaw. "Starz and BBC Worldwide Productions announce new original series Da Vinci's Demons". BBC. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- Robin Turner. "TV premiere for US show Da Vinci's Demons dazzles Neath". Wales Online. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- Unknown. "Tom Riley: Sex, violence and playing the lead in Da Vinci’s Demons". Metro. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- Lesley Goldberg (25 October 2011). "Starz Orders David Goyer's Da Vinci's Demons to Series". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- NellieAndreeva. "Starz Renews David S. Goyer's Da Vinci's Demons For Season 3 With John Shiban As Showrunner". Deadline.com. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
- Lacy Rose. "Starz Casts British Actor Tom Riley to Play da Vinci in Drama Da Vinci's Demons". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- Lesley Goldberg (27 March 2012). "Starz's Da Vinci's Demons Casts British Actress as its Leading Lady". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- Jon Weisman. "BBC Worldwide Prods. eyes new shows". Variety. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- Dave Mcnary. "Universal taps writer for "Prosthesis"". Variety. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- Elizabeth Perkins. "Da Vinci blockbuster could be a £60m masterpiece for Swansea Bay". This is South Wales. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- Unknown. "Da Vinci's Demons designer Annie Symon Turns the Original renaissance man into a rock star". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- James Hibberd. "Walking Dead composer to score DaVinci series". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- Jim Halterman. "Da Vinci's Demons Sodomy Trial Post-Mortem: Tom Riley & David S. Goyer". The Backlot. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- Brian Truitt (10 October 2013). "Sneak peek: Season 2 of Starz's Da Vinci's Demons". USA Today. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- "Da Vinci's Demons: Season 1 (2013)". Flixster. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
- "Da Vinci's Demons". CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
- Zach Johnson. "Creative Arts Emmys 2013 Complete List of Winners". E!. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- Jim Halterman. "Da Vinci's Demons Creator David S. Goyer Talks Not "Shying Away" From Anything". The Backlot. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- Jim Halterman. "Interview: Tom Riley Talks Leonardo’s Sexuality & Daddy Issues In Da Vinci’s Demons". The Backlot. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- Jim Halterman. "Defining Da Vinci: Tom Riley Previews This Week’s Revealing Episode". The Backlot. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
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