Zethu Dlomo, who plays Maroon royalty Madi Scott, sat down with Fathoms Deep podcast for an extensive talk on what she has in common with her Black Sails character, about Madi's dread pirate boyfriend being a "rainbow-looking child", the Flint effect, and more.
Think of her personally what you will [OP does have thoughts] but what she has to say about the show is really good stuff.
Highlights & Time-Stamps
- 3:30 “I believe that she grew up in a very loving home, even though Daddy wasn’t there. [...] She was born obviously in a home of royalty, and an only child, to people who are leading a community of slaves which got away. [...] And she had to learn quickly to be a leader, to be strong and at the same time very sensitive and loving to her people and their needs.”
- 4:30 On Mr Scott’s leadership: “She knew and understood from what her Mum was saying that he’s out there doing this for their people, that in itself is a great leadership skill. Just think of Nelson Mandela going off for twenty-years, for the people. And it did affect the family, but it didn’t mean that it didn’t bring out some good.”
- 8:30 On the women of Black Sails: while Anne, Max and Eleanor are in their own ways ready to leave Nassau behind, Madi is “all about the bigger picture”, and just getting started. She’s not afraid to die or get hurt for her cause. “If I die, I die, that’s fine. Is there gonna be progress, though? That’s the power she comes in with.”
- 10:40 “I had to gird up my loins, girl!” before scenes with Toby Stephens. (Like everyone else in the cast.) She tried to channel her mother, “that look your mother gives you as you’re just about to make her mad.”
- 13:20 Describes her own life in post-Apartheid South Africa, compared to Madi’s upbringing in a community of escaped slaves: both grew up knowing about racism and its impact on their world, but they never had to directly experience the worst of it, which gives them both a different perspective than that of their parents. Madi, sheltered as she has been from slavery, doesn’t see their hiding as a silver lining, but as fear, and wants to see more of the world and change it.
- 17:40 Tom Hopper accidentally kicked her in the eye during a shoot in S3. She took it in stride and continued the scene with extra make-up covering it up.
- 20:45 “If you don’t know better, you can’t do better. She didn’t give Flint the time of day, to know him, and for him to know her. [...] They finally had that opportunity, they were stuck together on a boat, and floated away, and they had no one else to be watching out for them except for each other.”
- 24:00 “She’s always keeping her eye on the prize. I will swallow my pride, I will do what I need to do with people who I don’t particularly like in this particular moment.”
- 25:15 On Silver/Madi: “Their priorities are now different, and because they split up. Those however-long days, hours, however long it was, that she thought Silver was dead, decisions were made and other parts were carved out. And you come back and you expect things to go back to normal, when things have changed a lot. [...] Who’s this Silver that came back? Is it still the same guy who I was on the ship with before all hell broke loose?”
- 26:50 On when the pirates are infighting: “If I’m gonna be the most mature person - remember when Rackham said, I will be your daddy? Madi says, I will be your mama!”
- 27:35 Really wanted a scene with Clara Paget. And wanted to wear corsets and cool dresses like Max! Hopes the guys will pull through on their jokes of making a Black Sails parody show called “Game of Bones”.
- 29:20 Goes a bit further about her personal history as a South-African woman compared to Madi’s heritage, how their attitudes and relationships with white people are different to their parents’, and how their approach to carving out a place for themselves in the world differs.
- 33:55 “She’s got an I can attitude. And it’s like, what would stop me? What would make me feel like I can’t? Even me, growing up, what makes me think I can’t be an actor, dream big, go to university as a black child in South Africa? It’s an I can attitude because I didn’t see the I can’t-iness of it.”
- 34:30 Interviewer compares James McGraw to Madi, both of whom see potential and idealism, while Flint is more like Madi’s parents, who are motivated by trauma. Zethu says that Madi and Flint click because maybe she reminds him of his old self and he wants to both protect her (possibly as a father-figure) and remind her how harsh the world out there is. She also reminds him of the past, reminding him of who he was and how it can work out. “Maybe it’s more fascinating for Flint to see Madi be powerful, the way she is, as opposed to changing. She doesn’t have to go to a dark space to make a difference.”
- 36:30 The S3 scene where Madi deals with one of her men that beat up Dobbs, and when handed a knife, cuts his bindings instead of killing someone, which would have been the pirate go-to. Again emphasizes Madi’s capacity of seeing the bigger picture and be the better leader.
- 40:25 On Silver’s leadership skills compared to Madi’s: “He’s a quick learner, he’s a comedian. And Madi is like the earth. She’s the, Come back, you rainbow-looking child, come to me, be normal, breathe, my babe. [...] You need someone who’s not necessarily the opposite of you, but somebody who might see what you don’t.”
- 41:50 On carrying the heavy crown together: “Three legs are better than none!”
- 43:00 Will Madi need her own tether, now she and Silver both have “experienced the Flint effect”? Zethu says she does, that she could be “inside of Flint and Silver’s relationship because she was outside of it, because she hadn’t established a know-how of Flint at that level.” Says Madi will need Silver to pull her out as she tethers him in return, if it’s to work out.
- 44:20 On balancing the Madi/Silver/Flint relationship: “What Silver will be expecting from Madi in that argument is to just jump rope, Yes my love, where do you want me to go?”
- 45:50 “I’m still trying to figure out how [Silver/Madi] fell in love. I mean, how?” About stuff happening or not happening offscreen.
- 46:40 Before shooting together, Luke Arnold took Zethu on a date, to get to know each other and build a connection to then have something to work with onscreen. She goes on to talk a bit about her acting techniques, based on nine basic emotions all humans experience.
- 50:30 The moment when Madi fell for Silver: when she finds him in pain over his leg & trying to be strong for his men; she recognizes a kindred spirit in someone who has to set aside their hardships to be a good leader to their people.
- 52:50 Same scene: “I don’t think that he would even allow himself to go there with Flint. And sometimes it helps to just be the perfect stranger, because the perfect stranger will show you something that you [...] didn’t think was alive in you. That says, It’s okay. Be weak. I’ll be strong for you. If it means holding your hand, I’ll do that. By the way, you’ve got beautiful eyes. So, you know. I’m here!”
Crew, are you like Madi a gracious queen teaching lesser men how to lead?