Tom Riley to lead cast of Da Vinci’s Demons

StarzBritish actor Tom Riley is to lead the cast of BBC and Starz’s Da Vinci Demons. Riley will be known to British audiences for his roles in Monroe, Lost in Austen, Casualty 1907 and ITV’s recent remake of Bouquet of Barbed Wire.


Starz Entertainment and BBC Worldwide Productions announced today that British actor Tom Riley will play a young Leonardo da Vinci in the upcoming Starz original series, Da Vinci’s Demons. Riley’s casting is the first announced for the series. Da Vinci’s Demons, written by David S. Goyer, is a historical fantasy, following the ‘untold’ story of the world’s greatest genius during his turbulent youth in Renaissance Florence. Brilliant and passionate, the twenty five-year old da Vinci is an artist, inventor, swordsman, lover, dreamer and idealist. As a free thinker, with intellect and talents that are almost superhuman, he struggles to live within the confines of his own reality and time. He begins to not only see the future, but invent it.

“Given that da Vinci was the model for the‘Renaissance Man,’ these were incredibly large shoes to fill. Leonardo had to be smart, witty, and incredibly confident – without coming across as arrogant. He also had to be tormented, because, as a true visionary and polymath, he was ostracized for his ideas as much as he was celebrated. Tom came in and was able to effortlessly combine all of those elements. As soon as he finished his audition, we knew we’d found our man.” – David S. Goyer

“Da Vinci is a near mythic figure in history that fascinates people to this day. It is quite an undertaking to bring to life a role that comes with so many pre-conceived notions. Tom showed us that there are many dimensions to this man yet to be explored, and, at the same time, make him believable, surprising and unique to a world-wide audience.” –
Carmi Zlotnik, Managing Director at Starz

“Tom is a fabulously charismatic, intelligent and versatile actor. His audition displayed an unabashed energy that we are excited to see unleashed in his performance as a reimagined artistic genius in 15th century Florence!”  – Jane Tranter, Head of BBC Worldwide Productions

Tom Riley has received wide critical acclaim in the UK for his performances in theatre, film and on television. A regular at London’s Royal Court Theatre, Riley has starred in multiple productions since 2005 including “The Vertical Hour” and “The Woman Before.” On Broadway, he was nominated by the Drama Desk Awards for his performance as Septimus Hodge in “Arcadia,” a 2011 Tony Award nominee for Best Revival of a Play. Most recently, Riley starred in the Stephen Poliakoff play, “My City,” at London’s Almeida Theatre. On television, he is best known for his role as Laurence Shepherd on ITV’s drama series “Monroe,” as well as roles on “Bouquet of Barbed Wire” and “Lost in Austen.” His lead film roles include, “A Few Days In September,” “I Want Candy” and “Happy Ever Afters.”

“Da Vinci’s Demons” is the first project to enter production under the multi-year agreement between Starz and BBC Worldwide Productions. David S. Goyer, co-writer of blockbuster and critically-acclaimed films Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, and writer of the upcoming Man of Steel, is showrunner. Julie Gardner is Executive Producer, along with BBC Worldwide Productions’ Head Jane Tranter. Production is set to begin in summer 2012. Starz will premiere the eight-episode series in the U.S. in 2013. BBC Worldwide will distribute the series in international territories.

“Da Vinci’s Demons” is the latest piece of distinguished, exclusive original programming announced from Starz. “Boss,” starring Kelsey Grammer and produced by Lionsgate debuted on October 21. “Spartacus: Vengeance,” season two of the breakout worldwide hit, returns in January 2012 and the much-anticipated “Magic City,” debuts in April 2012.

BBC Worldwide Productions started its scripted efforts when Jane Tranter, former Controller of BBC Fiction, arrived to run the company in January 2009. Shortly thereafter Julie Gardner, former Head of Drama, BBC Wales, joined as SVP, Scripted, BBC Worldwide Productions. Tranter and Gardner have been responsible for a plethora of titles in their careers including “Doctor Who,” “Torchwood,” “Little Dorrit,” “Bleak House,” “Girl in a Café,” “Ashes to Ashes” and “State of Play.”  “Torchwood: Miracle Day” was the first scripted series produced by BBC Worldwide Productions, recently wrapped its run on Starz. The company has over 20 scripted projects in sold development with various cable and network partners as well as 10 unscripted series currently in production.{jcomments off}