Scottish actor Stuart Martin can be seen on new Netflix original drama Medici: Masters of Florence, stepping into the role of Lorenzo in the period drama and acting alongside big names including Dustin Hoffman and Richard Madden.

Stuart Martin / Credit: Will Bremridge

Stuart Martin / Credit: Will Bremridge

We got the opportunity to put some questions to Stuart all about the show, his life as an actor and more. Read on to find out what he had to say…

What can you tell us about new Netflix drama Medici: Masters of Florence?

It's a corker of an eight-part period drama from Frank Spotnitz, the guy that did The Man in the High Castle. It's got a lovely cast that includes the wonderful Dustin Hoffman and Richard Madden. It's about the famous Florentine banking dynasty The Medici, who ushered in a new age in Italy that would spread across the world. They were called the Godfathers of the Renaissance and were responsible for some of the most beautiful buildings in Florence like the Uffizi Gallery and the Duomo, as well as supporting some of the most influential and famous artists like Michelangelo and Donatello. They were an incredible self-made family who became one of the richest in Italy and used that wealth to create beauty. It's a great political drama that we shot on location all around Tuscany and Rome.

Can you tell us a little about the character you play - Lorenzo - and what we should expect from him in the series?

Lorenzo is the second son of Giovanni (Dustin) and is Cosimo's (Richard) younger brother. When we first meet them Giovanni is in the process of deciding which one of them will go on to run the Medici bank and take over control of the business. He was a really great character to play; Frank wrote him beautifully. He's a very passionate fella which is lovely to play. You get to let it out a bit, you don't have to hold back. There's such high stakes in their world so it's great to be able to play that. I hope people like him as much as I did.

What was it about this series that really drew you to getting involved?

It was just a really exciting project. It just had it all. Dustin was already attached and the fact that I would get to hang out on set with him all day and get to do scenes with him seemed ridiculous. The scripts were fantastic. I read them over and over when I was working on them and I didn't get bored which is always a good sign. And there was working and travelling around Italy for five months in these amazing little ancient hilltop towns. It was a really special job. It was one of those jobs where everything comes together.

This is as mentioned a Netflix original series - do you think streaming platforms are really the future of television?

I really do. They are making such incredible stuff. Bloodline, Stranger Things and House of Cards are just crazy good. The production values on their shows is something else; you have every hour looking like a film. And that's what we expect from the big dramas now. I think with the standards up there it's a real challenge to the television producers as we know them, but I think they are starting to take notice. People like the BBC are starting to plough more money into drama with stuff like their new big budget Troy. I'd love to see the BBC with an iPlayer that was more like 4OD and Netflix. Something that has all their content on it from the past 50 years that you can just subscribe to rather than buying individual shows or not being able to watch it after 30 days. They sort of need to take notice and catch up with these big online guys if they are going to stay in the game. DVDs are a dying breed.

Why do you think different platforms such as Netflix are so successful when it comes to the viewing audience?

I think we view telly differently now. Well, I certainly do. When we find a new show we binge it, do a couple of episodes at a time. We've done whole series in a weekend. And I think that's how a lot of people are watching on Netflix and Amazon. When you have to wait a week I think you can lose focus a bit. Or if you miss an episode. I think we've become impatient as viewers because we are so used to being able to watch as much of a series as we like. They are also incredibly smart on their pricing strategy. You can have a month of amazing telly and film for less than a cinema ticket. It's amazing really. Blockbuster used to charge you that for two films for the night. They are very smart at what they do. I do worry about our lovely cinemas all closing down though. We've already lost so many. And so many of them seem to be so empty all the time.

You've also got a history in theatre, how does that medium compare to the one of filming a television show?

It's still my favourite thing to do - rehearse a scene then do the nice wide shot. It's the closest you get to theatre where you don't have to worry about marks and how close the camera is and making sure you're not moving too much and all that stuff. It's a lovely thing that wide shot when you have the whole of the set to use and all that freedom. Then the camera gets closer and closer till it's up your nose and you don't have as much freedom… I do love the camera work. It's so intimate and small. I'm not sure I'd be any good at the stage stuff anymore.

What tips do you have for aspiring actors who hope to break into the industry?

Just keep going. Be seen. That's how you're going to get jobs. If you can't be in a play, go and do short films for free and make a showreel. If you're lucky enough to be in a play, write to a hundred casting directors and hopefully get two along. It's a long journey so don't be disheartened. And if after five years you think this isn't really what you thought it was, you're not sure you're enjoying it, take all those skills you've learned from pretending to be a giraffe in a rehearsal room to conquering your nerves for an audition and do something else.

What would you say have been some of your biggest challenges as an actor to-date?

I think your biggest challenge is always going to be how you handle yourself when you're not an actor. When you're not working. I remember times walking round London with my hand on my phone in my pocket waiting for it to vibrate. When you've got a part-time job and a bit of money you can go to the cinema or meet a mate for a coffee, but when you're skint and you can't afford it, a day wandering round London can be very long and lonely. As an actor, no matter how successful you might get, you know you're going to spend quite a bit of time not jobbing so you having to have something else you love almost as much as acting. Writing, or teaching, or going to the gym. I know a group of lads that have a painting company. So when you're not working, you're happy, not waiting on the phone to ring.

How will you be spending the rest of 2016?

Hibernating. We've just had a little baby and I love Christmas, so for the rest of December I plan to have mulled wine every night and sit in front of the tree with my family.

Finally, what else do you have coming up you can share some details about?

I've just finished on a really cool show for Sky1 called Jamestown by the guys that did Downton. It's out next spring. It's about the birth of America and the first British colony that managed to survive. We filmed out in Budapest on this amazing 17th century colony they built. I saw a bit last week and it looks really beautiful so I think that'll be a goody.

See Stuart in new Netflix original drama Medici: Masters of Florence, available now.

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