Need to Know: Tom Riley

3.29.2013

By Alexandria Symonds

The dude turning da Vinci into a sex symbol.

Photo: Jean-Claude Dhien/Corbis Outline

In preparation for his title role in the new Starz series Da Vinci’s Demons, 32-year-old British actor Tom Riley worked from the outside in. “I wanted to have the body of a vegetarian who never stood still,” he says. And he does.

Rather than the staid old geezer from your textbooks, Riley’s is a hot twentysomething da Vinci in pursuit of money, drugs, and sex. To research the character, Riley and series creator David S. Goyer (who penned the Dark Knight trilogy) consulted primary sources, like Vasari’s The Lives of the Artists, which neither confirmed nor denied that da Vinci was a Renaissance bisexual.

“We certainly portrayed Leonardo as a man who’s not going to be confined by anyone’s expectations,” says Riley. “He should be judged by what he did, rather than who he did.” Premieres April 12.

Watch the promo below:

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