I had the privilege of speaking with Blake Ritson (Count Riario) and newcomer Carolina Guerra (Ima) about season two of “Da Vinci’s Demons” at a press roundtable back during New York Comic Con. Be sure to check back next Friday for an interview with Gregg Chillin and Laura Haddock. Catch the season two premiere of “Da Vinic’s Demons” on STARZ on March 22 at 8.
Q: For those who don’t know anything about her [Ima] can you explain how she fits into this?
Carolina Guerra: Yes, of course. Well, as you know the second season is all about a new journey, so they are coming to Latin America in search for the Book of Leaves. That’s where they find this new empire. It’s the Inca Empire, and she’s a high priestess. It’s like a queen, you know, and it’s very nice because she’s…I can’t tell you, of course, a lot about the story, but I can tell you what she’s represents, which is what I like the most about my character. We’ve seen like…intellectual wisdom with Da Vinci. Well, she’s more of spiritual wisdom, and that’s what she’s representing right now. And she’s also in the quest for the Book of Leaves, so that’s how they, how their stories merge because they are all looking for the Book of Leaves, and she knows where the Book of Leaves is, and that’s how, that’s the role that’s she is going to play to help all of them to go for the Book of Leaves.
Blake Ritson: Carolina can’t say this, but she has an outrageously fun costume as well. She has a terrific costume.
CG: All I can say is that I have golden coconuts
BR: Keep looking in the eyes. Don’t look at the coconuts. Don’t look at the coconuts.
Blake, you’ve got some really interesting stuff going on this season for Riario as well.
BR: It’s really, really, it’s epic, yeah.
Starting with a bit of a sea voyage, possibly a kidnapping
BR: There’s a bit of a race across the Atlantic, as Carolina was saying. One of the bigs of this series for us is there’s this terrible political turmoil which we’re leaving in Florence, and both Da Vinci and Riario are convinced that the only way really to settle this terrible, looming spectrum of war and the aftermath of the Pazzi conspiracy is the Book of Leaves. This archaic compendium of forgotten knowledge, and this basically leaves Da Vinci and Riario on a race across the Atlantic to get the new world, to find the book and to appropriate it to their own side.
Possibly a continuation of your storyline with Nico?
BR: I can’t give too much away, but all I’ll say is we have quite a few scenes together, and it goes to interesting and unexpected places. Those scenes, they’re a lot of fun to be had there.
How would you describe your relationship with Da Vinci now that you are teaming up on a journey with him? Is it a temporary alliance?
BR: Our relationship, I love it, almost the thing that defines it more than anything is its unpredictability and its mutability. In season one, it starts with me trying to befriend him and defend him, and then this kind of this increasing and encroaching antagonism, and it ends with me trying to blow his head off with a Renaissance bazooka. I’d like to find, hope we find a little more nuance in the second series, but yes we are forced to team up in a kind of grudging alliance. I think we go, it’s a really interesting journey. We’re forced to rely on each other physically and mentally, and I think there is a kind of grudging respect from both parties. But this alliance, I think the thing which marks it again, is the fact that we never know how much we’re playing on another. So I think you can’t…what you see can be deceiving. It’s fun. It’s a really epic journey for both characters, and they have to make some big ole sacrifices and some big ole decisions, and I think you’ll find it quite exciting.
How would you describe the vibe on set given there’s a lot more sort of adventure, and you guys also have some disparate storylines, so you’re not always all together, and we have new major characters?
BR: That’s right, and it’s been one of the great kind of fun things of this year…I remember talking to David right at the beginning, and he loves this kind of idea of unusual pairings. Who are two characters who would be the least likely to thrive in a usual circumstance, and then he’ll kind of thrust them together. In this whole series, we see, kind of separates off into different worlds. So yes, a few of us are off in the new world, then there’s Naples, and of course there’s still Florence and Rome. It’s exciting seeing new alliances forged and dismantled.
What do you find the most difficult thing?
BR: Getting wet, just getting wet. I swear I’ve never done a job where I’ve got so wet. It’s either a river or a waterfall or a tropical rainstorm. I’ve never been –
BR: Or it’s blood. I’m either wet with blood or water this whole series. I invested in some Egyptian cotton towels and a new hairdryer, and that has been the only possible response.
What should we be looking for as far as season two in terms of what we haven’t seen in season one or this is going to be so much more interesting or cooler than what we’ve done?
BR: To me, the one thing that really marks and defines this new series is every character is pushed to the breaking point. In the first series, people are largely in their comfort zones. Everyone is catapulted way out of their usual environment, and they are pushed mentally and physically to breaking point. For Riario, for example, in the first series…he has all the military and financial and political support of the Vatican. He has his army around him, and now he’s basically gone AWOL. He’s by himself. He’s a loner in a new world with people he doesn’t know. There’s a real hardship to that. I think with that, these characters being kind of propelled to breaking point, we see a new kind of emotional rawness, a new ferocity, and somehow the masks get stripped off characters, and we see what’s kind of lurking beneath. We get to glimpse into the recesses of their souls. I think that’s what’s exciting is kind of breaking characters down. I think that is something David Goyer is brilliant at, actually. This kind of sense that every character has a terrible darkness. You know, it’s called Da Vinci’s Demons. Every character on the show has their demons. We begin to see them bubbling to the surface, and I think there are a lot of neat surprises. There’s a bit of a flashback structure going on a few episodes as well, so we get to glimpse not only new adventures, but we get to see the kind of dark complexities that have been bubbling underneath before that.
What about for the new kid on the block?
CG: I can’t like…
BR: She has a gagging order. Carolina’s in a terribly difficult thing, and she’s been told that anything involving her character is a spoiler.
Can you give first impressions of when your character meets anyone? If it’s on happier terms? If it’s hostile?
CG: Well, of course. It has both because she has, she is a shaman. So she has, I don’t want it to sound really weird, but she has visions as shamans do. So she knows she needs help to get to the Book of Leaves, but she also is very aware of the threat that k'ara runa, which is the Quechua word for white man, are to her people. [K’ara runa is the spelling that Google gave me, I apologize if it is incorrect.]
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