Crossbones (NBC) Interview: Richard Coyle On the Enduring Appeal of Pirates, Going Toe-To-Toe With Blackbeard and More

Crossbones (NBC) Episode 3 The Man Who Killed Blackbeard (3)

Crossbones returns to NBC tonight, Friday, June 20th for its third installment of pirate action and spy intrigue as Lowe (Richard Coyle) and Blackbeard (John Malkovich) are forced to team up. The swashbuckling series has given British actor Coyle a complex character who the actor loves diving into. TV Equals recently joined in a conference call with Coyle where he discussed how he sees Lowe, why he finds going toe-to-toe with Malkovich so appealing, what is ahead this season and more.

What Makes Lowe Tick

Lowe is a spy for the British crown who is sent undercover to assassinate Blackbeard, but his job becomes complicated the closer he gets to Blackbeard. “I immediately liked the pas de deux between Lowe and Blackbeard, which was fascinating, and obviously it’s a series-long arc between these two characters,” Coyle said of his first impression of the pilot script.

He teased that the relationship between the two men will continue to grow over the course of the season, which will bring Lowe’s loyalties in question. Coyle cited Lowe’s honesty as his most prominent character trait and his greatest weakness. “With Tom Lowe, it’s a case of his nature is to tell the truth, but his job is to be a liar,” Coyle explained. “So it was like, how do you reconcile those two sides of who you are? And I found that fascinating, that he had to lie and dissemble for a living. He is a man of integrity and truth, and tallying those two things was a fascinating prospect, especially given how the series develops, and what happens later on.”

As Lowe’s adventure continues it will continue to place him a position where he is by Blackbeard’s side. Coyle spoke of some lengthy conversations that are ahead between himself and the great Malkovich. “As things go on, one of his main jobs is to assassinate Blackbeard, and I think as time goes on the relationship between them deepens to a point where it sort of compromises everything about his mission, everything about who he is, what he believes, and where he’s from, his loyalties.”

Why Do Pirates Still Captivate?

Stories of pirates are deeply ingrained in our culture, and Crossbones is just the latest story to explore the dark and fascinating world these people who lived outside the law occupied. Coyle had strong feelings on why we continue to be drawn to stories like Crossbones. “Pirates were figures of mystery and fear and they still are in a way. So I think you can almost tell any story and we find it fascinating, any pirate story, because they can be anything we want them to be.”

Coyle continued, “It’s amazing that these people came sort of out of the mist, and then vanished into the mist, and I think that’s fascinating right there.”

What Is Ahead This Season?

In addition to Lowe’s mixed loyalties and growing connection to the man he is supposed to kill, Crossbones‘ world will only grow richer as the season plays out. “We see a lot of the whole fabric of the town,” Coyle teased. “Santa Campana becomes much richer, we get to learn a lot more about some of the other characters in the town.”

Additionally, Lowe will wrestle with his growing conscience. “He has a conscience that is slowly creeping up, and gaining in strength and power. You know, all the things he had to do in the past are slowly creeping up on him, and catching up with him, and he can no longer square away some of the things he’s had to do.”

Expect the action to continue to ramp up as well as the storytelling. Coyle has worked with Malkovich in the past, but the two actors are going on a journey where they are on equal footing this time around and their characters’ are better off for it. “I am going toe-to-toe with him as equals in this – in Crossbones. In a sense, we’re adversaries as it were, but it’s a much more complicated relationship. It’s like adversaries and friends. There’s a weird mutual respect, kind of mutual envy, and a hate, and it’s a complicated relationship.”

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