Luke Arnold recently guested on the Black Sails fancast Fathoms Deep to discuss the show at length.
You can listen to it in full at the source, but I also took a treasure chest full of notes. (The full interview is worth it though, so much in-depth analysis!)
- Resident Treasure Island expert among the cast.
- His favourite episodes are 303 (the doldrums/shark date) and 409, hasn’t seen 410 yet.
- “Thing that switches on behind [Toby Stephen’s] eyes between “action” and “cut”, it’s something else. [...] When Flint comes out, it’s really bizarre, and [...] in season three, around the same time, myself, Luke Roberts and Toby Schmitz all had [...] to look Flint in the eye, and have a moment. And after each of them the three of us would get together and go, “Guys, this gotta be it. I stared into Flint today.””
- (7:00) Filming the doldrums was a challenge, because it was incredibly windy on-set: ”It’s a gale going by. [...] It’s why I had to wear the ponytail in that episode, because they had to glue my hair down, because the wind was blowing the whole time.”
- (10:00) Is just as upset as the rest of us that Toby Stephens isn’t winning all the awards, but also feels that the whole award business feels very removed from the work itself, which he’s more than satisfied with
- Emphasizes multiple times that no, “I might be your end” was not a threat - Silver is worried about Flint, you guys!
- Actually auditioned for Vane, but couldn’t compete with Zach’s audition opener: “My name is Zach McGowan and I am Charles Vane.” Luke fondly calls Zach an “inhumane beast who will do anything”.
- (13:50) Thinks it’s an Australian thing both he and Toby Schmitz (Jack Rackham) made their characters “not very cool”.
- (20:50) Central relationship was always meant to be Silver and Flint. → “Flint and Silver barely talk in S1, [Silver goes to] being kind of begrudging henchman in S2, to quartermaster/captain, at each other then learning how to work together in S3 [...] and wherever that goes from there, we’ll have to see.” Says at the start of S4, they’re basically best friends, or what passes in their world.
- (23:42) Talks about the extensive rehearsals and preparations prior to filming, which he’s never seen to this extent on a tv show, saying it often felt much like rehearsing a play.
- When Silver says he’ll be Flint’s end, he refers to seeing the pattern of Flint being an unstoppable force of destruction, including to those closest to him. Says that Silver is, unlike his previous partners, aware of it and “if this time it’s not me, it’s probably going to be you - and that worries me for you”.
- Thinks Silver and Rackham probably interacted between seasons, and wishes there were after-credits scenes after each episode of the two drinking and gossiping.
- (48:00) Who is Solomon Little? Will we finally get Silver backstory in S4? Luke says it will be “dealt with in S4, in a very interesting way”.
- (50:25) Explains how Madi represents a different style of leading from the other influences Silver has had, and how the Maroon Islanders’ story is really its own thing, and essentially the pirates are a thorn in their side. (Which is true lbr.)
- (55:00) Compares Treasure Island's Long John Silver with the character in Black Sails, and how in many ways he is already there.
- (55:55) Explains how Silver’s stomping ritual ties into his style of leadership and narrative power, how he creates the pirate myth in-universe while he’s living it himself, and uses it to get men to follow him and seek his approval.
- (1:13:30) Describes his favourite moments. (Hint: they’re basically all the Silver/Flint scenes. Highlight is “and Flint smiles in the beginning of S4”, what a nerd <3)
- (1:21:00) Randall: half-wit or secret genius?
- (1:25:00) Analyzes how essentially Silver is the one who narratively benefited the most from people dying; Gates died to clear space at Flint’s side, same for Billy’s temporary disappearance, same for Miranda.
In conclusion: Luke is possibly the biggest Toby Stephens fan out there and has a lot of deep thoughts about character development, narrative, overarching themes, and the joys of kicking someone’s head in while a rotation of stage hands use toothbrushes to attractively spray you with fake blood.
Source: Fathoms Deep Podcast
ontd, have you too been blessed with perfect hair?