Luke Arnold, actor: ‘Captain Jack Sparrow and Long John Silver would have got along fine’ | Culture


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Australian actor and novelist Luke Arnold, who plays Long John Silver in the series 'Black Sails'.
Australian actor and novelist Luke Arnold, who plays Long John Silver in the series ‘Black Sails’.MASSIMILIANO MINOCRI

It’s a thrill to be alongside the actor who has starred in a series that has gripped you in front of the screen for so many hours. Luke Arnold (Norwood, Adelaide, 39) is not only a handsome, likeable Australian but also a successful writer. However, when you look at him and search his striking steel blue eyes, you glimpse large sails out at sea, old galleons and the Jolly Roger, the pirate flag, flying menacingly at the top of a mast.

Arnold, who sports an earring in his left ear and has the same beard and curly hair from the series, played a youthful and ruggedly handsome Long John Silver in Black Sails (four seasons, 2014-2017), the wonderful prequel —twenty years earlier — to Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. The series depicted the Golden Age of piracy and revolved around Captain Flint and Long John Silver, with appearances by other famous buccaneers like Blackbeard, Jack Rackham, Charles Vane, and Anne Boney. The actor is also the author of a series of hugely popular fantasy novels (the Sunder City and Fetch Philips novels, published by Gamon, which begins with The Last Smile in Sunder City) about a world inhabited by humans and mythical beings that have lost their magic. This certainly hasn’t happened to Arnold. The interview, of course, takes place at the Gigamesh bookstore in Barcelona.

Question. This idea of yours of a world where magic has vanished and fairies, elves, wizards, gnomes, centaurs, mermaids, angels and vampires languish and wither is so compelling.

Answer. I don’t know where it came from, but it’s a metaphor for our environment where illusion has been abandoned and cynicism is the rule.

Q. The loss of magic as a force that drives the world and the need to look for alternative sources also evokes our energy crisis.

A. Absolutely, we’re running out of resources and inaction makes us complicit. There is so much at stake and we have to roll up our sleeves.

Q. It’s a great idea to mix fantasy and crime novels, a Raymond Chandler-style detective in a magical Tolkienian setting.

A. I like the imagery of the seasoned and…