Leonardo da Vinci superhero of his day

  • By Frazier Moore Associated Press
  • Monday, March 25, 2013 8:35pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

In these 500 years since Leonardo da Vinci, he has upstaged every genius multitasker in his wake. (OK, not you, Benjamin Franklin and James Franco.)

Leonardo was a whiz as a painter (hint: “Mona Lisa” and “The Last Supper”), a scientist and engineer, and a futurist dead-set on fighting the gravitational pull of his own times.

He was an intellect, free thinker, vegetarian and a humanist who supported himself designing weapons of war.

He was tall, handsome and a hit with the ladies. He was great with a sword and, being ambidextrous, which hand didn’t matter.

“The phrase ‘Renaissance Man’ was derived from him,” said David S. Goyer, who has spent a lot of time studying and pondering him, and has created “Da Vinci’s Demons,” a sci-fi thriller set in the 1400s.

Another cool thing about Leonardo: He was a man of intrigue, ensconced in secret societies, his paternity unresolved (he was born out of wedlock), perhaps divinely inspired as he clashed with the Roman Catholic Church, a man who seemed to defy the confinements of any simple narrative.

“There’s a tantalizing five-year gap, stretching from when he was 27 to 32, where there’s almost no record of where he was or what he was doing,” Goyer said. “A gap like that is gold when you’re the creator of this show.”

In Goyer’s view, Leonardo da Vinci was the prototype of a superhero: “I picture him as one-third Indiana Jones, one-third Sherlock Holmes, one-third Tony Stark (Iron Man) — and he kind of was.”

To play this extraordinary chap, Goyer chose English-born actor Tom Riley. The 31-year-old starred in the British TV medical drama “Monroe,” and in 2011 performed on Broadway in the revival of Tom Stoppard’s “Arcadia” alongside Billy Crudup and Raul Esparza.

Riley’s Leonardo is sexy, mercurial and irrepressible. He savors life in his native Florence. But he is too driven, too haunted by doubts about his life’s intended mission. He is no stranger to opium, which he uses, he explains, because “I think too much. I need to dull my thoughts or I will be eviscerated by them.”

At times he overreaches, stumbles and falls (though ever so dashingly). And he has an eye for a pretty face, including — at high risk — comely Lucrezia Donati (Laura Haddock), the mistress of Lorenzo di Medici (Elliot Cowan), da Vinci’s benefactor and one of the city’s most powerful figures.

Watch it

“Da Vinci’s Demons”

premieres at 10 p.m. April 12 on Starz.

More in Life

New documentary chronicles Obama’s last year in White House

“The Final Year” doesn’t paint the administration in rosy colors, but it isn’t too critical either.

‘Forever My Girl’ takes a page from the Nicholas Sparks genre

The film based on a novel by Heidi McLaughlin is a well-worn tale of lost love and redemption.

Curries continues home-cooked Indian cuisine at new location

The restaurant, now located on Evergreen Way, also puts an Indian spin on Northwest cooking.

International guitar tour led by Lulo Reinhardt stops in Edmonds

International Guitar Night, now in its 18th year, is Jan. 24 at the Edmonds Center for the Arts.

New Cascadia Art Museum exhibit showcases mid-century designs

The exhibition includes ceramics, furniture, clothing, sculpture and jewelry from 1948 to 1966.

This beefy ex-cop has a delicate hobby: intricate paper-cut art

You can see Tom Sacco’s creations at the upcoming Everett Art Walk.

Slow-roasted vegetables make sumptuous sauce for pasta

Make the basic but good spaghetti with red sauce blissfully better with this recipe.

Mocking meatloaf: One man’s loaf is another man’s poison

Some don’t like it and some do. Here are six meatloaf recipes to try.

Roasted Brussels sprouts can be the apple of picky eater’s eye

Toasted sesame seeds and diced apple add flavors that compliment the sprouts’ earthiness.

Most Read