New sensation gets ship- shape
From swaggering sex god to Long John Silver, Luke Arnold has set sail for more success, writes Holly Byrnes
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)