‘I get lots of people buying me rum’

HE THRILLED audiences with his performance as Aussie rock legend Michael Hutchence. Now TV heart-throb Luke Arnold is back for a second season of pirate drama Black Sails.

And, as he tells Holly Byrnes, the role comes with plenty of perks.

“AFTER doing two seasons of Black Sails, with (Channel 7 telemovie) Never Tear Us Apart in the middle and the press obligations that went along with it, I had to take the last filming hiatus off. So I just travelled Europe and visited friends, drank a lot of beer and it was really great.

“Bars are a great gauge of the reach of (Black Sails) … which I think is now airing in about 140 countries. The same thing happened to me in Dublin, London and the Netherlands … you’d go to pay for drinks and someone behind the bar would say, ‘no, this one’s on me, I love Black Sails.’

Pirate kings ... Arnold (as John Silver) and co-star Toby Stephens (as James Flint). Picture: Foxtel

“I definitely don’t get mobbed anywhere, but when you’re known as a pirate, I end up having to drink a lot of rum. I like drinking rum anyway, but I get lots of people buying me shots of rum around the world, which I have to say is one of the perks of the job. Just like when I was shooting INXS and definitely playing a pirate, you get to step into the shoes of some pretty charismatic guys. Maybe a little bit of that has rubbed off, but I’m definitely not as cool as Hutch in real life, unfortunately.

X factor ... Luke Arnold won acclaim for his stunning transformation as INXS frontman Michael Hutchence in Channel 7’s telemovie, INXS Never Tear Us Apart. Picture: Seven.“While we were shooting, I definitely let myself probably strut a bit more but I’ve had to regress back to more of my normal self. When you get a role like (Michael Hutchence), even though it’s gone so well, there’s still this voice in the back of your mind that says, ‘did I screw it up?’ So the (AACTA nomination) was just one of those nice little things to reassure me that maybe the whole thing went okay.

“On Black Sails this season, there’s a massive arc for (character) Silver. The most interesting thing for me was exploring the relationship with Flint and working with (actor) Toby Stephens … it’s so much fun.

“Going toe-to-toe with someone like him was such a learning experience and a real joy. At the beginning of season one, (Silver) just wanted that bit of gold and then to get the hell out of there. But I think, without getting too far ahead, he’s someone who never wants to rely on anyone else and doesn’t want anyone relying on him.

Pirate king ... Arnold plays John Silver in showcase drama, Black Sails. Picture: Foxtel.

“The benefits of the camaraderie that life on a pirate ship offers starts to emerge and for him, the potential that maybe there could be a bit of a leader in him, which is something I don’t think he ever anticipated. Back in England at that time, the class system being as rigid as it was there was no chance from the life he came from to ever be anything more. Suddenly, in this world, it kind of opens his eyes that he could be something that he never could have been back home. Even though it’s a much more dangerous world, and there’s more risk involved, he realises maybe there’s something to be gained by spending a bit more time in the pirate world. We start to see shadows of the man he will become … the legend we know in Treasure Island.”

BLACK SAILS, THURSDAY, 7.30PM, SHOWCASE


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