Toby Stephens and Luke Arnold in a scene from season three of Black Sails.
Toby Stephens and Luke Arnold in a scene from season three of Black Sails. James Minchin

Dark times ahead for Long John Silver in Black Sails

IT'S the pirate life for Luke Arnold.

The Adelaide-born actor is known by Australian audiences for his portrayal of rock singer Michael Hutchence in Seven's INXS mini-series.

But in many other countries he's best known for playing the pirate Long John Silver in Starz's acclaimed drama Black Sails.

Now in its third season, with a fourth currently being filmed in South Africa, the Emmy Award-winning series is a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Treasure Island.

"For me, taking a character like Long John Silver and beginning him very differently from the character we know is fantastic," Arnold tells APN.

"To get as far into the story as we have is really great. It feels like we're finding multitudes of new fans every day. It's nice to be on something that's still growing."

The third season follows Silver as he takes on his new role of as the quartermaster of Captain Flint's crew while struggling with the loss of the bottom half of his right leg.

"It's a long journey for him mentally as well as physically," Arnold says.

"We saw it with Randal before him, if you're not youthful then you can easily be pushed aside.

"While he wishes he could lay in bed, that would give him a very short lifespan as being part of the crew.

"There's a huge fear that if he doesn't put on that brave face that he'll be cast aside.

"A bunch of things happen to Silver that I don't think anyone expected would happen to him. Unfortunately losing his leg is not the toughest thing he's going to go through."

Silver, who has doggedly risen up the pirate ranks over the past two seasons, must also deal with an unpredictable captain, as Flint channels his grief from the death of Mrs Barlow into his widening campaign of terror across the Caribbean.

"They begin this season on opposite sides even though they're on the same crew," Arnold says.

"Silver takes his new role quite seriously and Flint doesn't want any of it. He's wary of Silver; he doesn't trust him.

"Flint is in full revenge mode against the entire world.

"He's still the amazing captain and strategist he was before, but there's this incredible force and anger behind him now.

"Flint is in a really dark place dealing with some dark issues and you see Silver trying to resist going down that same path."

New additions to the cast include Ray Stevenson as the dreaded pirate Blackbeard and Luke Roberts as Woodes Rogers, Britain's new Governor of Nassau.

Black Sails airs Thursdays at 7.30pm Qld, 8.30pm NSW on Showcase.

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