Why You Should Watch Starz Drama Black Sails This Weekend
Starz's newest show,Black Sails—an 18th-century drama about the golden age of piracy and loosely based as a prequel toTreasure Island—premieres tomorrow, yet the show has already been picked up for a second season, a huge vote of confidence from Starz in the success of its new drama. So before tomorrow's premiere, we had the gorgeous Hannah New stop by the office to tell us about her badass character, Eleanor Guthrie, the amazing costumes, and more behind-the-scenes tidbits.
Tell us about the show. Hannah: It's a lot of fun. We're shooting down in South Africa in this incredible, cool town, and we have two tanks, the beach, and everything to create this whole village. We have two full-size ships and a half ship! My character's a lot of fun—she runs the town economically and politically, and for that reason she tells pirates where to stick it [laughs].
When you think of pirates, it's usually gruff men. I love that the show features strong women too. Hannah: It's actually really nice to bring to light this section of history which has never really been explored that much—the idea that these ports would have been like a war situation. The men would come in to restock before they go out to fight for these prizes, and the women would have organized everything and made sure they had supplies, so they're running the town.
Was it fun shooting in period costume? Hannah: I'm really lucky, actually, because I don't have to comply with the strict rules of 18th-century costume in society, such as in London. I don't wear corsets, and I wear a lot of utilitarian stuff like leather. I do wear long skirts, but they're short enough for me to go up and down stairs without having to pull my skirt up. I wear quite cool, chunky boots, so I quite like that aspect of her being a businesswoman and dressing as a businesswoman. The costume department has been amazing—when I went in, I had a few ideas about what I wanted her to have, such as this big bunch of keys that she wears with almost every outfit or a little money belt. So there's been quite a bit of dialogue, and then in season two she's becoming even more relaxed with hair and makeup.
So you film on an actual ship? Hannah: I'm lucky because I don't go on the boat that much and I get terribly seasick. They didn't really screen for that during casting. [Laughs] It's crazy because they have so many extras—they have over a thousand, so these boats are full of men. It's unbelievable; there's people everywhere! But that's how it would have been; it would have been claustrophobic like that. After a while, you do really start to get a little woozy, but it's fun.
Tell me more about the female characters on the show. We have three women in the show who have different ways of holding power. Max [Jessica Parker Kennedy], who is one of the top prostitutes in the brothel, wields sexual power in order to provide intelligence. She's a clever, conniving businesswoman. She's not a victim. And then we have Bonny [Clara Paget]. She's very much reappropriating things we would assume as masculine. She's extremely vicious and has absolutely no qualms about it. So three powers—political, sexual, and physical—are embodied in these women. It's amazing that these three archetypes are being shown.
Black Sails premieres Saturday, January 25, at 9 P.M. ET/PT.