EXCLUSIVE Da Vinci’s Demons: Tom Riley & Elliot Cowan Interviews


“No, I don’t ever want to see that Pleasure Palace set again!” says Da Vinci’s Demons star Tom Riley, with a mock shudder at the memory. “There were too many Oedipal things in to be honest. If you want to see a staircase that looks like a vagina, fine. Or door handles in the shape of erections!”

It’s a few months since Buzz visited the sets for the third season of Da Vinci’s Demons in South Wales and we’re catching up with Riley. Back then we didn’t know the third season was to the show’s last (for the moment at least) and the crew were very excited to show us round some of the most detailed, complex and enormous sets ever created for a TV show. From huge vaulted chambers to Italian streets with strewn with rubble and patrolled by Leonardo-designed tanks that look like Renaissance Daleks, this was all seriously impressive even before it was properly lit and shot for television. You could almost believe you were in the 15th Century Florence if it weren’t for all the T-shirts, trainers and Welsh accents.

We even get to see one of the show’s behind-the-scenes secrets exposed in one ornate set that’s dominated by a model of the Ponte Vecchio. It looks solid, but a section in the middle is made of foam. Apparently Lorenzo (Elliot Cowan) gets in a right strop at some point in the season and smashes somebody’s face in the model.

But what everybody was really excited about on the day of our visit was the Pleasure Palace. Filming was taking place there that day and the crew was eager to show it off. We enter it via that vaginal staircase Riley spoke about and enter a dark and twisted den of iniquity, full of phallic furnishings and extras in various states of undress and bondage, apparently so in the zone they don’t bat an eyelid as a troupe of journalists sheepishly saunters through.

da_vincis_demons_season_3_cowan2“The Pleasure Palace is now my new boardroom,” Elliot Cowan has joked with us earlier in the day. Sporting a new beard and a lot of new scars, he admitted that he hasn’t seen the set yet, but was fully prepared for what was in store. He will be filming a scene in which Leonardo has come to plead for something. “Apparently Lorenzo has been going to the Pleasure Palace for years which is something I didn’t know about my character. I knew that he put it about a bit, so it’s no real surprise… But I will see it for the first time today and all manner of hedonism is apparently going on. So I’m about to get stuck in. It’s not the first time on this show I’ve had to strip off and be humiliated.”

Soon, when Da Vinci’s Demons season three starts airing in the UK on Fox on 25 October, we’ll be able to see how the scene turned out. We’ll have to savour it, because between the set visit and when we got to chat to Riley again a few weeks ago, the news broke that the show was to end. Riley, though, thinks this may actually be to the third season’s advantage: “The good thing, and the reason I do feel okay about it, is that we did find a way to satisfactorily finish it. All the characters arcs come to a conclusion. It’s not going to end with a cliffhanger like the others did. It’s bitter sweet because obviously we’re going to miss everyone but it’s nice to feel that we’re finishing proper rather than just leave people hanging.”


The season also has a new showrunner in John Shiban (The X-Files, Breaking Bad). Creator and original showrunner David S Goyer remains in a kind of “godfather” role but Riley thinks Shiban has re-energised the show. “It’s the best stuff we’ve done. It’s so much richer and so much more characterful. Which is I think what allowed us to end the show because digging into those characters means that we found the best possible way to end each individual storyline. It’s certainly smarter than it was.

“The season goes at a lick as well. And it looks amazing. The one real shame about us ending is that we finally found out how to make it look the best that it could look. And how to make the characters work best together.”

Next page for Tom Riley interview

Click here for Elliot Cowan interview



• Da Vinci’s Demons May Return After All… Eventually
• Da Vinci’s Demons Season Three: Air Date And New Pics
• Why Da Vinci’s Demons Was Cancelled


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