Florence is thrown into chaos in the wake of the Pazzi conspiracy that took place in the season one finale, when "Da Vinci's Demons" returns for its second season on Saturday night on Starz.
Leonardo da Vinci (Tom Riley), who had been planning to head to the New World, gets caught up in the battle to defend the city against the forces of Rome. While the Medicis go to unthinkable lengths to deal with new threats, da Vinci's quest to find the fabled Book of Leaves and uncover the secret history of his mother takes him to faraway lands and forces him to reevaluate everything he knew about the world and his own history.
The woman in his life is Lucrezia Donati (Laura Haddock), who not only loves both Da Vinci -- in private -- and Lorenzo Medici (Elliot Cowan) -- in public, but also works as a spy for Rome. She is torn between her love and her loyalty.
Examiner.com had the opportunity to speak exclusively to Haddock to get her take on the beautiful Lucrezia, who uses her female charms to seduce what she needs from the men in her life, the fact that she is actually playing a real person, the intrigue in Season 2 of "Da Vinci's Demons" and more.
Lucrezia is this really deadly woman, what's your inspiration for her?
My inspiration? When I read the script I just realized that this woman was completely three dimensional, and probably one of the most complex woman I had ever read. I just stuck with the script and kept reading, and each scene allowed me to see a different side of her personality. I just stuck with the script and trusted that it was all in there.
It was really interesting because in this season, I've got to go backwards in time and visit her 10 years ago, and realize in real time, on screen, what it was that happened to her that's made her the way she is. I think at 15 years old, she was all ready to take on the world. She was a young woman, a naïve teenager, curious, ready to fall in love, ready to have her heart broken, getting ready to one day be a mom, explore fashion, explore boys, explore life, and this thing happened, which meant that all of that hope and curiosity about the life that she was living in, was just taken from her in a second.
She had to reinvent who she was and she discovered a darkness inside her that she probably wouldn't have discovered unless this thing had happened. She had to go on this different path and went against her instinct, went against naturally who she was. I think in the first season, I made all these decisions about why she was committing all these horrendous atrocities. She was doing things that you just wouldn't forgive someone for. In the first season, I didn't know what had happen to her in her past to make her this way, but I knew that there must have been something because no one is going around killing people just for no reason. That had to have been a trigger.
Your producer said this show is 69.3 percent based on historic fact, but the rest is made up. Is Lucrezia based on real-life person?
She did exist.
Is there any historic proof that she actually had relationships with either of these men?
Lorenzo, yes. She was his mistress at that time, she was also married to a textiler living in Florence. She was a celebrated beauty of Florence, I suppose. Other people would just see her as a bit of a walking clotheshorse. Her husband would design a new [style] dress and put it on her, and she would parade it around Florence and other women would see it and think, "Oh, I would like a bit of that." She was certainly living at that time, but then she went off the radar, so we don't know what happened to her.
There's so much intrigue at the time of the series. Do you think that we still have that in modern times or do you think maybe we don't notice it because we're so distracted by so many others things?
We have all these things that we're juggling every day now that actually just living and being curious about things that are in front of you that aren't technology based … I don't know the last time I went through a day without checking my phone and checking the news, and seeing updates of things. Whereas then, all you had was what you'd experienced already and what you're experiencing in the moment. I supposed striving for dreams, aspirations, answers to things. It was a more curious life, I suppose then because there was less to do. You just relied on yourself and your surroundings.
Will Lucrezia take off with Lorenzo on his journey, or is she staying in Florence?
She's going on her own journey on her own. She's kind of breaking free of being this puppet and controlled by the Vatican and this other person that she's being controlled by. She's kind of breaking free from that. There's still a strong connection with one particular person, but she is on her own journey avenging this thing that happened to her 10 years ago.
Season 2 of "Da Vinci's Demons" premieres Saturday, March 22 at 9 p.m. on STARZ.