Meet Francois Arnaud: sinfully good bad boy of 'The Borgias'
As Showtime's original series "The Borgias" proves, boys will be boys -- even in Renaissance-era Vatican City.
One particular face on the new show caught the Ministry's eye: Francois Arnaud, who plays the "violent, dashing and cavalier" son of Jeremy Irons' Pope Alexander VI. While the 25-year-old Montreal native is a new face stateside, he occupies quite a bit of small-screen real estate as Cesare Borgia.
The essentials on Arnaud include ...
Cesare, I am your father: The actor counts legendary Irons as a major scene partner, which he calls "intimidating" at the very least. One source of comfort in building their necessary bond: Irons is almost identical to Arnaud's own dad. "I thought, 'He looks exactly like my father.' Uncanny. But [Jeremy] was very generous."
Survived worse than a cushy "Twilight" boot camp: While his same-age counterparts might be vampires and werewolves on soaring wires, Arnaud has some less-sophisticated period stunts to pull off. Prior to "Borgias," he'd never even been on a horse. "It was a pretty grueling shoot. When I wasn't filming, I usually was doing stuff like horse training. Thanks to editing, it looks pretty good, but the bloopers are all basically me falling off a horse."
In lieu of cryptic scrolls, Facebook him: The heavy robes and sword fights of Rome were a privilege, but Arnaud is now dying to do something modern. "The one thing I saw in the past year that I'd die to be a part of was 'The Social Network.' The Aaron Sorkin dialogue is just incredible, and I love all of those actors."
Is he single? "I'm not married." (Well played.)
About that voice: Arnaud is French Canadian, pulls off a smoky Italian look and manages along with the rest of the cast to speak with an upper-class British tilt in "Borgias." What's the deal?
Arnaud keeps talking Sundays on Showtime.
-- Matt Donnelly
Photos: (top) Francois Arnaud as himself. Credit: Joshua Kogan / DR Photo
(bottom) Francois Arnaud in character as Cesare Borgia. Credit: Showtime