Aidan Turner makes his triumphant return to our screens this week for a new period drama about the life of genius artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci.
The series will merge fact and fiction to tell a story that explores the complicated man, from his legendary work to his personal relationships, while also weaving a fictional subplot that sees him suspected of murder.
Leonardo is sure to be a big launch for streaming service Amazon Prime Video, as Turner boasts a sizeable fanbase following his excellent performance on BBC One’s Poldark.
Fans looking to dive deeper into the da Vinci mythos should seek out the companion podcast, which sees host Angellica Bell separate fact from fiction with help from historians, curators and the stars of the show themselves.
Read on for everything you need to know about Leonardo on Amazon Prime Video.
Aidan Turner’s Leonardo release date
CONFIRMED: Leonardo will launch on Amazon Prime Video in the UK and Ireland on Friday 16th April 2021.
The new series started filming in December 2019, but hit a major snag when COVID-19 began spreading across Europe, ultimately not wrapping its shoot until the following August (as reported by Variety).
Aidan Turner will play Leonardo da Vinci in his first television role since Poldark finished its wildly popular run back in 2019 and the role seems to have made a big impression on him.
He said: “As we know, Leonardo Da Vinci was a man who created an incredible body of work across so many disciplines. As an actor, to explore the inner workings of this great artist was a very exciting and humbling experience and I feel so fortunate to have worked with such a great team in Rome to make this series happen.”
Joining Turner in the Leonardo cast, The Undoing’s Matilda De Angelis will play da Vinci’s close friend and muse Caterina da Cremona, while Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel) will also star as Stefano Giraldi, the young police detective investigating the artist.
Casino Royale star Giancarlo Giannini will play painter and sculptor Andrea del Verrocchio, who was a mentor figure to da Vinci, while Leonardo’s own pupil Salaì is to be portrayed by Carlos Cuevas (Merlì).
Last but not least, Broadchurch and Agent Carter actor James D’Arcy has been cast in the role of Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, who will also appear throughout the series.
You can get a tantalising first-look at Leonard by watching the teaser trailer below…
What is Aidan Turner’s Leonardo series about?
Set in Italy in the late 1400s, Leonardo will see the titular genius fall under suspicion of murder from a Milan police officer, who starts digging into da Vinci’s past to uncover what exactly links him to the case.
The series will also explore just how da Vinci “grew into an unparalleled genius” whose influence extends across arts, science and technology, attempting to unlock the mind of the enigmatic historical figure.
The series is created by Sherlock writer Stephen Thompson and The Man in the High Castle’s Frank Spotnitz.
Spotnitz told Variety that he wants to use this series to “really show why [da Vinci] was a genius and have the audience understand what it was that made him so brilliant and radical and centuries ahead of this time… To do that, you need to get really close to his work.”
To celebrate the premiere of the high-profile drama, Sony Pictures is launching a companion Leonardo podcast that will delve deeper into the events of the series.
There will be eight episodes of the podcast in total, with Sony releasing two per week on all major podcast platforms starting from Friday 16th April.
The series will be hosted by Angellica Bell and answer many of the burning questions viewers will have about the series itself and the history behind it, including discussions of da Vinci’s artwork and sexuality as well as filming during a pandemic.
The podcast will also be home to exclusive interviews with Leonardo stars Aidan Turner, Freddie Highmore and Matilda de Angelis about their roles.