‘Medici: The Magnificent’ Boss Calls Final Season ‘the Most Emotional & Powerful’
As the Netflix historical drama Medici: The Magnificent comes to a close (Season 3 is its last), influential and powerful Florence leader Lorenzo de’ Medici (Daniel Sharman) has a guilty conscience and blood on his hands after he indirectly caused his beloved brother Giuliano’s (Bradley James) death during the 1478 Pazzi Conspiracy. We now find Lorenzo “a greatly changed man,” according to executive producer Frank Spotnitz.
Lorenzo turns his back on religion — “a big deal in the 15th century,” Spotnitz notes — and “decides to remake the world as he sees fit.”
Here’s more from out chat with Spotnitz about the final season and whether the Leonardo DaVinci is the same one we’ll see in his follow-up series, Leonardo.
Did you know that this would be the final season when you set out to write the scripts and plan the season?
Frank Spotnitz: We absolutely knew. I mean, we could still do more Medici. There are more great Medici figures, most notably Catherine de’ Medici, but we knew this would be the end of Lorenzo’s saga, for sure.
How did that change you plotting out of the season, knowing that you did have a definite endpoint?
We hired this fantastic lead writer, James Dormer, who I’ve known for a long time now, going back to Strike Back, when I first got to the UK. And at the beginning, to be honest, we just thought, “What are we going to do?” because the Pazzi conspiracy, which was the end of Season 2, is the most dramatic and exciting event there is, and it felt like, you know, now we’re just going to lead to the years before he dies.
And it turned out the lack of plot was a blessing because instead, we dug into the characters and his family and in the meaning of his life. And, for me, it’s the most emotional and powerful season of all because it is less plot-oriented.
In Season 2, Lorenzo was this idealist who wants to do good to be good, and that’s ended disastrously with his brother’s blood literally on his hands and he feels responsible. So, he’s a greatly changed man this season and kind of determined to take things into his own hands, and so he kind of turns against God, which is a big deal in the 15th century. He decides he’s going to remake the world the way he sees fit and do whatever it takes to accomplish that. So, I think it’s really, really powerful, the journey he’s on this year.
So we’ll see his brother’s death greatly affects him moving forward?
Absolutely. He loved his brother, he was so close to his brother, and his brother, ironically, was apolitical, and here he dies because of Lorenzo’s politics. This part of the story’s all historically accurate and true, that the Pope did sign off on the assassination of Lorenzo and Giuliano de Medici. So, it’s this fascinating conflict, where all Lorenzo wants is for the Pope to admit it and he won’t.
All of this plays out in future episodes that are very close to the real history, to the point where there’s this peace conference where Lorenzo wants to crown himself the leader of all Europe, and the Pope doesn’t want to give Lorenzo that, and it’s an amazing battle of wills between him and the Pope.
Thankfully we do get some flashbacks with Bradley James (Giuliano) so he’s not completely gone from the show. He and Daniel have a great chemistry!
Yes, and the flashbacks have been a part of our storytelling since the first season when we had a different cast with Richard Madden and Dustin Hoffman. We always try to figure out in each season how to use flashbacks in an interesting way, and this was a way to sort of bring Bradley back. It’s also so poignant to watch those scenes and to feel Lorenzo’s loss again, when you see Bradley.
We meet Leonardo da Vinci in the second episode, which I thought was really cool but I know you’re also doing a Leonardo series so is that the same actor here that we see in the Leonardo series?
It’s not because we wrote this season before I knew that I’d be doing the Leonardo series. And, it’s a very different Leonardo than the one in our Leonardo series. He’s a very different character. So, it’s a different way of looking at Leonardo, because Leonardo in this series is a genius whom Lorenzo wants to use for his own political purposes. And in the Leonardo series, in fact, the Medici are not even featured as characters.
I’m so impressed with how far Daniel Sharman has come since I first met him during Teen Wolf but even since last season. There’s a different weight to him in how he’s playing Lorenzo.
I so agree. In the first season, they all play very young, and they’re meant to be very young. And they went away and this season they’re meant to be older because it’s going to take them into the final years of their lives, and they all felt older and looked older. And I felt Daniel and also Synnove [Karlsen], who plays his wife Clarice, it just felt like they had matured so much in that year gap. Daniel brought this incredible soulfulness to it. And Synnove, she’s so young but she plays a mother to boys who are really only a few years younger than she is.
You must have been a kid in a candy store because every scene is so beautiful whether it’s in the woods or in the middle these beautiful historic buildings.
That’s one of the joys of working in Italy is it’s always beautiful and you get to go to the most extraordinary locations but it’s so hidden. Sometimes you’ll be like on a little street in a little medieval village, and then you walk through a door and there’s this unbelievable church or palazzo that you didn’t even know was there, and it’s perfectly preserved, even though it’s 5-600 years old.
And of course, the shooting days in Italy are only nine hours long, not 13 hours long like we do in the States. And so, it’s nine hours and then you go out to dinner and see your family or have dinner with the actors or the director. It’s a really nice experience.
Medici: The Magnificent, Season 3, Available Now, Netflix