Thespis gets a one to one exclusive interview with actor
Here is what "The Medici’s" Callum Blake had to say when we had a brief interview with him last week for our blog, finding out about his time on the show.
Callum, how did you find working on the show?
Mad. Italy is a fantastic place absolutely brimming with culture and art and history, and its people are the best thing about it. So, going to work every day with them was always a brilliant adventure, I loved it. The cast were a unit. Even though we had some people flying home and coming back one, two, three weeks later for their next block of filming, there was always a solid group of fantastic people to be around.
Was it your first time filming a job abroad?
In Italy it was, but I’d had a role in the movie Dunkirk and I went to shoot that on location out in France.
What, if you could choose just one, would be your favourite location that you filmed The Medici at?
That’s really - that’s tough... well, I mean one of the obvious benefits of television work is always getting to film on location, and The Medici was pretty blessed with these endlessly impressive historical locations, and they all made your jaw drop. One week we were in a Roman villa somewhere, the next a fortress in a magical looking valley. But I think for the sheer feeling I got while I was filming, cliché as it may seem, we were shooting this riding scene outside the Castel Sant’Angelo, it was at dawn, and Rome hadn’t woken up yet so it was almost deserted, and I was riding around this iconic piece of history like a kid in a sweet shop. Big fat grin. And I had to be the complete opposite for the scene we were filming. History is one of my greatest loves, so marrying my work with a location like that... Really, I challenge anyone not to fall madly in love with Rome after spending some time there.
What did you know about the Medici family coming into the project?
Gosh, I wouldn’t say I was clued up on all the little intricacies and politics of the Medici, but I was made aware of them from my schooldays. Now I love history - did I mention I love history? - But I think we studied the Medici’s influence on European banks - and as a much more lazy teenager, it’s fair to say I think barely a sliver of that knowledge remained. But I watched the first series before going for my audition for the show and I remember totally falling in love with it - the story, the cast, and that music! - and then after getting on board with it, the more research I did, the more I was just in awe of this family and what they achieved. The amount we owe to them is pretty astounding when you dig into it.
Father Carlo being this devoted priest, I’m curious how you found the religious aspect of the role?
Well I was raised a Christian, but if I’m being honest, I’d really stopped engaging with my faith early on in my teens, so approaching the part was a real education.
Well Carlo’s so driven by his faith, which is the drive behind most of his conflicts, how his love for his faith is constantly coming to blows with his love for his family, so.. I felt I had a mountain to climb to understand what faith meant to him. I tried to live by Carlo’s standards and his practices for a while, and it wasn’t always easy.
What did you do?
I couldn’t really list it all, I mean I had about two months to prepare right before we shot season 2, but it was a lot of early starts, a lot of praying the rosary once I understood it, in Latin I’d add, don’t go thinking I flaked on the Latin! and a lot of time studying the bible, but like I said, that’s just a snapshot. Some of it helped, some didn’t, some was easy, some was awful. It’s cooking. I think my girlfriend would have a lot to say on what my “cooking” was like for her, but the experience as a whole was eye-opening, and there were definitely a couple of really, really moving moments for me personally while discovering the character.
Would you say you’re religious now the show’s ended?
Big question. I’ll leave that to you to figure out if you want.
Was that the most challenging part of filming then for you?
Actually, that would probably be recreating solitary for the scene where we meet Carlo in season 3. I won’t say anything on it just yet, but I spent the better part of a couple of days locked away on my own getting prepared for it. That was tough. You may think it seems too much for what it’s worth, but if it gets you closer to the reality of what’s playing out, I’ll take it.
Anything coming up in the future after COVID?
Ah the future, that thing we all had once. It’s hard to say because of everything that’s going on at the moment, and I’d have expected filming to be one of the last things to get back to normal, seeing as it relies on so many other parts to work, but I’m no expert. Wait and see is all I’ll say. Stay safe.
Thank you Callum for your time
. © Thespis Theatrical Costumiers LTD 2020
Catch up with Medici Season 2 on Netflix now, with Season 3 about to hit Netflix in the USA, UK, India and many other countries on May 1st.
Lookout for the follow up interview here after the release of Series 3 with more inside information from Callum Blake
Callum Blake as Carlo Medici: The Medici the Magnificent Series II
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