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Da Vinci's Demons: Tom Riley, Gregg Chillin and crew (Starz)

Image Credit: Starz

An early behind-the-scenes look at 'Da Vinci's Demons' season 3

The folks at Da Vinci’s Demons invited EW’s Community to visit their season 3 set in Swansea, Wales, this week. While I can’t divulge the best bits until closer to the season premiere (spring 2015), Da Vinci's Demons: Tom Horton, Gregg Chillin (Starz)I did want to give you a peek at some of what I observed and heard, especially since the show just launched a new Tumblr page yesterday. There you’ll find a great behind-the-scenes interview with Emmy-nominated VFX Supervisor/Producer Tom Horton.

Speaking of Emmys, I had a chance to speak with new season 3 showrunner and executive producer John Shiban. Shiban was nominated for an Emmy for his writing on The X-Files, on which he started as a writer and served as executive producer by the end of the series. He talked about that venerated sci-fi show and AMC drama Breaking Bad, which just snagged five Emmy awards and on which he previously worked as consulting producer. Shiban said he’s focusing on character development in the new Da Vinci’s Demons season to build the audience of the series, which was created by David S. Goyer (Batman Begins).

“Put emphasis on character: It’s one of the lessons I learned from Breaking Bad,” Shiban said. “Walter White was such a great character, and we tried to dig so deeply into him, and the audience just came along for the ride to say, ‘How far is he going to go? What is he going to do next?’ Honestly, it was the same with Mulder and Scully—all the monsters in the world can’t get people to tune in. That’s one of the reasons why X-Files reboots that people have tried over the years have failed. I think the characters and the actors who played them weren’t as interesting as David [Duchovny] and Gillian [Anderson] were. That’s why people tune in—because they want to get to know and go on a personal journey with great characters. So I think if we can get the word out to the fans we have to tell their friends that this show is going to become a great character drama, as well as a grand adventure, we’ll get more eyes on it.”

Some other highlights of the visit:

Da Vinci's Demons: Crossbow props season 3 set visit (Deborah Day) Production designer Ed Thomas, known for his work on Doctor Who, gave a tour of the new season 3 sets. (Tantalizing bit: Stuff gets blown up, other stuff gets sexy—OK, so that’s pretty standard fare for Da Vinci’s Demons, but more stuff gets blown up…so on, so forth.)
Da Vinci's Demons: Tom Riley, Gregg Chillin and crew (Starz) Star Tom Riley gives specifics on some of that character work Shiban mentioned. (Tantalizing bit: You won’t believe some of the changes. I promised this would be a spoiler-free zone, so I can’t say any more or I risk being decapitated by that brotherly Medici sword—which, by the way, is rather heavy.)
Da Vinci's Demons: Tom Horton, Gregg Chillin (Starz) Zoroaster himself, Gregg Chillin, talks about his character’s background, which will be revealed in the season. (Tantalizing bit: He used the phrase “Scooby gang”—I’ll  leave it at that.)
Da Vinci's Demons: Lucrezia Donati season 2 (Starz) Laura Haddock discusses the highs and lows of her character Lucrezia Donati. (Tantalizing bit: Haddock said Lucrezia has to go through a “cleansing” to propel her story forward—hopefully not under the watchful eye of creepy Jacob again.) Just a reminder, you’ve likely had a good cry watching Haddock play young Peter Quill’s cancer-stricken mother in Marvel’s summer-blockbuster film Guardians of the Galaxy.

I also got a chance to walk through gorgeous Margam Park. Medici Palace interiors are shot in the national park’s Margam Castle. Here are a few of my own photographs from there:

Margam Castle (Deborah Day)

 

 

 

 

 

Clarice’s bedroom:

Da Vinci's Demons: Clarice's bedroom set visit (Deborah Day)

 

 

 

 

 

How’d that get there? Random TARDIS sighting:

 

Doctor Who's TARDIS at Margam Park (Deborah Day)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Da Vinci’s Demons on Starz.

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