Greek-Brit actor Eros Vlahos talks exclusively to Greek Reporter about his new role in the Starz series “Da Vinci’s Demons,” his Greek roots, and living up to being named after the “God of Love.”
Eros Vlahos was just 12 years-old when he performed at the 2008 Edinburgh Fringe Festival with a 50-minute stand-up comedy routine that impressed critics and audiences alike; he was not only the youngest comedian ever to do so, but he also happened to write all his own material for the event.
Now 18, Eros began acting soon after showcasing his comedic abilities a few years ago. His first gig came in 2009 as Coot in “Skeilig” for Sky Movies, and his breakout role followed shortly after in 2010 with the feature film “Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang,” opposite Academy Award-winning actress Emma Thompson. He’s also appeared in “Episodes,” alongside “Friends” star Matt Le Blanc, HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” and in last year’s Academy Award-winning film “Anna Karenina” with Keira Knightley.
In his most recent project, he takes on the role of Nico Machiavelli in the new Starz series “Da Vinci’s Demons.” Created by David S. Goyer (“Batman Begins,” “The Dark Knight,” “Man of Steel”), the drama follows the untold story of notorious Renaissance man Leonardo Da Vinci. Season two has already been confirmed, with Eros Vlahos well on his way to becoming a household name. Greek Reporter spoke with the actor in an exclusive interview about his new role, his Greek roots, and living up to being named after the “God of Love.”
How did you get into acting?
I started by doing stand-up comedy when I was about nine; there was this great comedy club for kids where you could get up and essentially publicly mock your parents in front of a hundred people, so I started by doing that. After a few years, I had enough material to go do my own solo show at the Edinburgh Fringe Comedy Festival and it really all spiraled from there.
How did you prepare for your role as Nico Machiavelli in “Da Vinci’s Demons”?
I’d like to say I went to the British library and dug out ancient Renaissance tombs, but I just played “Assassin’s Creed 2,” which is set in Florence, on my PlayStation.
They were being SUPER secretive about the script so I was given a scene to read for Nico. I thought he was just in the one scene and that was it, so it was only when they offered the part and sent the scripts that I found out who my character was and also how insanely cool the show was.
What has been the most interesting thing about filming the show?
All the explosions! Obviously as a teen, I have a natural instinct to be impressed with [that], so getting to be around huge pyrotechnics was by far the best part.
Where is the show filming?
We’re filming in Swansea, Wales, which was chosen as the closest alternative to Florence. It rains literally ALL the time and the coffee is not nearly as good.
Your mother is British and your father is Greek. Where in Greece is he from?
He’s from a town called Filiates in the hills; it’s insanely beautiful and it’s the polar opposite of London, especially because it’s sunny.
How often do you visit Greece?
I visit loads! I fly out to see my grandparents and cousins and spend a few weeks trying to get some kind of a tan so I don’t look like a vampire when I’m with the rest of my Greek family.
Where is your favorite place you’ve traveled to so far?
I travel as much as I can, especially after filming in Wales for six months you really try to go and at least see the sun for an hour. My favorite place I’ve been recently [is] India, it’s the craziest place I’d ever been and I loved being surrounded by complete chaos.
Are non-Greeks, or people who don’t know the meaning of the word “Eros,” ever surprised by its translation?
Well the fact [that] it means “God of Love” gives me a lot to live up to, so to most people I just pretend it’s a type of salad my Dad really likes. Sometimes when you talk to English people that know their mythology, they instantly know what it means. Fortunately that’s only a few, most people think it sounds like a [“Star Wars”] Jedi name.
You’ve done both film and television. Is there one you find more challenging than the other?
Definitely television is a bigger challenge, especially a show like “Da Vinci’s Demons” where the production values are astronomical. It’s like making eight films in the time it would usually take to make one, but film is a much slower process so there are advantages to both.
Is acting something you want to do in the long term, or do you see yourself getting involved in other aspects of the industry?
I have no idea what I want to do in the long-term, but I have no doubt it will be in the film industry. I’d love to keep acting and also try my hand at other stuff too.
New episodes of Da Vinci’s Demons air every Friday on Starz. See full schedule here.
Follow Eros on Twitter: twitter.com/Eros_V
Watch the first episode of Da Vinci’s Demons below: