In a recent interview with Collider.com, Eleanor New, one of the star actresses in the pirate series ‘Black Sails’ spoke of her experience on the show and her character Eleanor.
*The interview below contains huge spoilers!
When asked about when she found out that the next season would be the final season, would she make sure she relishes every single moment?
Oh, absolutely, yeah! What was really exciting was that the scenes we were getting to do were so meaty, with all of the backstory stuff that’s come out, and people who haven’t been in contact with each other for a few seasons are finally getting to speak again and voice things that have happened, over all this time. It was really exciting! We all knew and felt that our characters were getting what they were due and getting the time to really flesh out a lot of the interesting backstories and character development that we’d worked so hard on for two years. It was incredibly satisfying. We definitely relished every moment. And for me, I relished every moment, being on that show and marveling at it, knowing that it’s very unlikely that I’ll ever be on a set as beautiful and as amazing as that, ever again, ‘cause it was just phenomenal. It was a very humbling and beautiful experience.
She was also asked when and how she was told of the conclusion of Eleanor’s journey.
The writers were super considerate and amazing, so I knew from the beginning of the season, which was a great way to start the season because I knew that the writers were giving me these amazing scenes, where there are moments of reconciliation, moments where relationships could be revisited, and moments where memories from her childhood become very significant in the way she thinks about herself and what she wants. I knew I was going to get all of these juicy tidbits and great scenes, before her demise. I was really, really excited to have that opportunity. Quite often, if shows end and characters are still alive, there are still many unanswered questions that leave that character with perhaps not such a complete arc. The amazing thing is that we can evaluate Eleanor as a character, as a whole, because we know her journey and we know her end.
In some ways, I’m excited to hear about the fans’ reaction and the post-mortem of who Eleanor was and what drove her. It’s incredibly moving and also a huge honor to play something in that complete sense. Her death isn’t just a plot device. Her death is significant because it’s the death of all sorts of visions for the island and of the Pirate Republic. She had to let go of that, when she was brought back to the island to bring civilization there from the powers that be at Whitehall, which was what she was always fighting against. She’s a chameleon and she was reborn, in a way. That rebirth of coming back to the island in a completely different capacity meant that she struggled with trying to achieve her end. Although her motives essentially seemed the same, of wanting the island to be a stable, functioning society where pirates would then become merchants, the main thing that she saw taken away from her mother and from her, as a child, was stability and safety.
What brings that into focus is when she, herself, realizes that she’s going to become a mother. That was just so significant. It’s like when you have those memories, as a child, that are absolutely pure visions, and you can bring that image up in your mind, at a significant moment. As a child, you don’t know why it’s significant that somebody is saying something. For Eleanor, it’s that her mother said, “This place is too cruel for little girls.” For me, her entire life, she’s been going, “I’m going to show you that this place isn’t too cruel for little girls. I’m going to be the girl that runs this place, and it’s not going to be cruel. I’m going to make it a functioning society.” That’s what drove her, for so many years. And then, suddenly, she’s confronted with providing safety for her own child, and it completely changes the game for her. That’s the point where she gives up fighting for the island. She’s prepared to swap the island for the cash, so that she can go and live a peaceful life. She’s striving for this peace and happiness that she suddenly realizes doesn’t exist in Nassau, and it won’t exist in Nassau, so she’s prepared to give that up for something bigger than herself, which is her own child. I think it’s an incredibly human way to portray her. I’m hoping there’s moments where the audience will see that, however erroneous her previous motives were, they were always driven by a humane need for security. It’s a very innate drive that I think we can all appreciate.
Did you take anything from the set?
When you walk around those sets, you want to take everything. There were definitely some very, very pretty things in Max’s room that I would have loved to have had. But, I didn’t actually take anything. I think a few people managed to wrangle a few things, by asking the right department. They were actually still shooting a lot. These episodes were so complex that they were picking up all sorts of little details, so I couldn’t actually take anything, at the time. I always joke with Jessica [Parker Kennedy] that we should have taken Eleanor’s chair and had a ritualistic bonfire. One of the things I would have loved, and I’m on a mission to find it, is a set of keys that Eleanor wore in Seasons 1 and 2. It was a symbol of the fact that she controlled Nassau. In my mind, I always had this vision of her as this Maggie Thatcher being that doesn’t really sleep. At night, her routine would be to lock herself in, so those keys, in so many ways, are so symbolic. Let’s see if I can track them down.
Remember that this is not the full interview – visit Collider for the full Collider.com
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