‘Black Sails’ Star Toby Stephens Talks Flint’s Gay Romance: ‘He Became Himself’ (Video)

Starz pirate drama’s lead actor tells TheWrap what the relationship means for his character

Last Updated: February 2, 2016 @ 10:46 PM

Starz’s “Black Sails” has been giving fans an inside look into how Captain James Flint found himself in the Bahamas through intense flashbacks of his past life in the British Royal Navy.

“It was almost like I was playing two totally different characters,” Toby Stephens, who plays Flint on the prequel to “Treasure Island,” told TheWrap during a visit to the “Black Sails” set in Cape Town, South Africa.

“And that’s kind of the great kick for the audience out of Season 2,” he continued. “After Season 1, you think you know who this guy is and Season 2 totally flips that on its head. You realize that you had no idea this was going on underneath.”

The show traveled back to 1705, when he met Thomas Hamilton (Rupert Penry-Jones) and his wife, the woman fans now know as Miranda Barlow (Louise Barnes).

Thomas was an aristocrat who wanted to clean up piracy in the Bahamas and make New Providence Island a British colony. He would request Flint’s help in planning how to do that. A rising officer at the time, Flint and Thomas’s relationship would blossom into friendship and then into a romance.


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From left, Louise Barnes as Miranda Barlow, Rupert Penry-Jones as Thomas Hamilton and Toby Stephens as Captain Flint on “Black Sails.” (Starz)

“I think his relationship to Thomas Hamilton, the initial friendship and then becoming lovers is sort of like the realization of himself. I think he became himself with Thomas Hamilton. His potential was unleashed with Hamilton,” Stephens said.

The affair would be short lived when the pair’s plan for pardoning the pirates in order to work with them for commerce to and from Nassau was met with disapproval. It’s unclear whether Thomas’s political enemies knew about his affair with Flint. But under the guise that Flint and Miranda were having an affair, Thomas’s enemies “made Thomas disappear.” And, Flint escaped to Nassau with Miranda to continue what Thomas had started.

“The death of Hamilton or the death of that whole kind of story and his exile, it sort of destroyed [Flint] as a person,” Stephens said. “And it sets him off on this journey where he cuts out so much of himself. He has to negate this whole side of himself. Both of them, really, Miranda, as well, has to shut off that side of herself. And, I think that’s kind of tragic when it’s revealed. It’s sad.”

On Saturday’s episode, we’ll find out if Miranda is able to convince Flint to abandon plans to go to war with rival pirate Benjamin Hornigold (Patrick Lyster) in exchange for delivering a young girl back to her high-ranked father in England and trying to find a way to continue Thomas’s original plan.

“The course that Flint is on is a dark one and [Miranda] can see that it’s not going to end well. And so the second half of the season is about, ‘Look, there is another way we can go.'”

Watch the interview.

“Black Sails” airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. on Starz.