STARZ AND BBC WORLDWIDE PRODUCTIONS CAST TOM RILEY AS LEONARDO DA VINCI
British Actor to Play Lead in Starz New Series "Da Vinci's Demons,"
Exploring the Early Life of the Famed Genius
Los Angeles, CA - January 23, 2012 - 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.
Goyer commented, "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."
Carmi Zlotnik, Managing Director at Starz, said "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."
Jane Tranter, Head of BBC Worldwide Productions, said, "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!"
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 Caf�," "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.
About Starz Entertainment
Starz Entertainment, LLC, is a premium movie and original programming entertainment service provider operating in the United States. The company offers 17 premium channels including the flagship STARZ(R) and ENCORE(R) brands with approximately 19 million and 32.8 million subscribers respectively. Starz Entertainment airs in total more than 1,000 movies and original series every month across its pay TV channels. Starz Entertainment is recognized as a pay TV leader in providing HD, On Demand, HD On Demand and online advanced services for its STARZ, ENCORE and MOVIEPLEX brands. Starz Entertainment (www.starz.com) is an operating unit of Starz, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation (NASDAQ: LMCA).
About BBC Worldwide Productions
BBC Worldwide Productions, led by Jane Tranter, is based in Los Angeles and develops and produces scripted and non-scripted projects for U.S. cable and broadcast networks, as well as digital platforms. The production company is responsible for the smash hit "Dancing with the Stars" (ABC), "Top Gear" (HISTORY), "What Not to Wear" (TLC), "Torchwood: Miracle Day" (Starz), "Hairy Bikers" (HISTORY) and the upcoming titles "The Week the Women Went" (Lifetime), "The Next Big Thing" (Oxygen) and "Da Vinci's Demons" (Starz). BBC Worldwide Productions sits within one of six core businesses that form BBC Worldwide, the main commercial arm and wholly-owned subsidiary of British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).