New sen­sa­tion gets ship- shape

From swag­ger­ing sex god to Long John Sil­ver, Luke Arnold has set sail for more suc­cess, writes Holly Byrnes

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE -

BE­ING Aus­tralian TV’s siz­zling new sex god is tak­ing its toll on Luke Arnold – not that he’s com­plain­ing. Af­ter the strato­spheric suc­cess of his lusty job play­ing rocker Michael Hutchence in the top- rat­ing Chan­nel Seven biopic INXS: Never

Tear Us Apart, his lat­est role as hot- blooded buc­ca­neer Long John Sil­ver in Fox­tel’s new US drama se­ries Black Sails will do noth­ing to di­min­ish that rep­u­ta­tion.

But throw­ing him­self into the act has been an ar­du­ous task for the 30- year- old, who ad­mit­ted it was as much about his ego as it was the script which pushed him to get in ship- shape.

Within days of land­ing the job, Arnold said he spent the fi rst three weeks at the mercy of a per­sonal trainer in Mel­bourne, be­fore fl ying to South Africa to join the rest of the cast in a boot camp he de­scribed as “the worst thing that’s ever hap­pened to me”.

“It was just hours ev­ery day in the gym and then fi ght train­ing – so full on,” he said.

“I never re­ally went to the gym be­fore. It’s not some­thing I put too much time into, so it was a bap­tism of fi re for me.”

While the prospect of having to strip down for those sweaty scenes may thrill his grow­ing fan base, keep­ing cam­era- ready has turned Arnold and his co- stars into gym junkies.

“It re­ally never was the fo­cus too much for ei­ther the pro­duc­tion or us to get the six pack and look good with our shirts off, but it was much more about be­ing the kind of func­tional war­riors we had to be at the time,” he said.

“Then we all re­alised af­ter sea­son one we all kind of got too in shape – it al­most went a bit be­yond the re­al­ity of the world.” Point­ing to Sil­ver’s de­pic­tion in Trea­sure

Is­land, the chil­dren’s book on which the se­ries is based, Arnold is look­ing for­ward to the time his char­ac­ter can ease up at the gym and eat up at the on- set cater­ing ta­ble.

“The Long John Sil­ver in the book is defi nitely de­scribed as a weighty, jolly guy, so it’s nice start­ing here, know­ing if the show gets to go for a few sea­sons I might get to feed on a few piz­zas and spaghetti din­ners across the years,” he joked.

Arnold’s nat­u­ral swag­ger and good hu­mour is a per­fect fi t for Sil­ver, who he said sur­vived in the cut- throat pi­rate world “on his wit”.

“He’s not the big­gest guy in the world, not the tough­est guy, but most of the time he con­sid­ers him­self the smartest guy in the room,” Arnold said. “He’s just wor­ried about keep­ing his head off the chop­ping block and hope­fully keep­ing some kind of gold in his pock­ets, so he’s a re­ally fun char­ac­ter to play.”

With a sec­ond sea­son in the can and the pro­duc­tion wait­ing for the green light to go again, Arnold is keen to keep rid­ing his ca­reer wave.

“If it goes ahead, I have to be a part of it,” he said.

BLACK SAILS Tues­day, 9.35pm, Show­case ( pay- TV)

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