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InsideTV Podcast: Toby Stephens on hunting for pirate treasure on 'Black Sails'

No parrots. No peg legs. No eye patches. You will find none of those things in Starz’s new pirate drama Black Sails (which debuts Jan.25). What you will find, however, is a big sweeping adventure in the pursuit of treasure. And leading that pursuit is none other than Toby Stephens, who stopped by the Entertainment Weekly Radio studios (SiriusXM, channel 105) to chat all about it. And he reveals that when he was originally approached about starring on a pirate show, he had no interest. “When my agent sent me the script,” says Stephens, “I just went, ‘forget it.’” But then he finally read the darn thing and enlisted in what has the potential to be Starz’s biggest hit since the dearly departed Spartacus.

You can now hear the entire interview right here on the InsideTV Podcast. Stephens explains about life on the high seas, the pirate code of conduct, and why “they stopped at the teeth” when it came to making him and his shipmates look especially gross and grimy. Stephens also discusses his role in the James Bond universe, not only playing a villain in Die Another Day, but actually playing 007 himself as well. It’s a fun, rollicking chat that somehow manages to completely avoid the words “arrgh,” “matey,” and “scurvy” throughout. Just click the audio player icon below to listen in.

But that’s not all! We also break down all the Golden Globe television category shockers (Brooklyn Nine-Nine?) with Kristen Baldwin while weighing in on all things Jacqueline Bisset. And last, but certainly not least, Tricia Helfer stops by the studio to talk about her new ABC show Killer Women as well as her continuing friendship/partnership with fellow Battlestar Galactica alum Katee Sackhoff. The only question is: How much awesomeness can you handle? Because there is plenty of awesomeness to go around. READ FULL STORY

'Black Sails' showrunner: No Jack Sparrow, no parrots!


You don’t know pirates. You think know pirates after all those hours watching Johnny Depp slurring and scampering around the Caribbean in guyliner. But that’s only because you haven’t seen Starz’ Black Sails yet. The new Treasure Island prequel debuting Jan. 25 is more like a Deadwood with palm trees — more grounded and gritty, yet still delivers steady heaps of swashbuckling. Below showrunner Jonathan Steinberg (Jericho, Human Target) and star Toby Stephens (who plays pirate Captain Flint) take our questions (and if you haven’t watched the Black Sails opening credits, do that immediately).

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did you end up creating a pirate drama?
JONATHAN STEINBERG: I try to keep an eye on what people aren’t doing. This is not really a story about pirates so much as an adventure with pirates. Very quickly you realize why nobody has done it before — it’s a world that doesn’t exist any more. If you try to shoot it in the Bahamas, there’s nothing there now that shows this world. So if you could find a network that was willing to do a big canvas premium cable show, it would be a window into a world nobody has seen. Treasure Island felt like the perfect entry vehicle because everybody knows it and it gives you some familiarity. And then I think we felt we were attracted to Long John Silver as our entry point. In Silver’s story, there’s this huge presence that hovers over all of it without ever being portrayed in any detail and that’s Captain Flint — the book almost reads like a sequel. Capt. Flint has a huge life and an effect on everybody who came into his orbit and afterward everybody is chasing his legacy and treasure.

What do most people misunderstand about pirates?
Steinberg: In some respects, they’re politicians, gangster bosses, union men. That’s the pirate I wanted to understand, not somebody who could just twist his mustache and be more violent then the next guy. Ultimately I think that what the show is about is the politics of this world. The Wire is required viewing in our writers room; this a story about how to manage people and no matter what industry you’re in it has the same challenges in it. This is about how to manage pirates. It’s got lots of action and a huge canvas, epic scope but at same time we’re getting at the historical details of this world. The goal for us when building the show was to embrace some of the tropes and make them mean something different. Like the quest for the big score is something everybody is familiar with but here it’s not about the money. In this case, the money means different things to each of them.

How did producer Michael Bay contribute? READ FULL STORY

Starz' 'Black Sails' showrunner promises pirates without cliche

Are you ready to see set course with a whole new brand of pirates?

Starz is hoping to strike gold with Black Sails, a new period drama about a ruthless high seas captain (Toby Stephens) and his crew, that promises to be bolder, grittier, and a lot more realistic than other more recent takes on the genre. READ FULL STORY


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