Editor’s note: The below interview contains spoilers for Our Flag Means Death Season 2.
The Big Picture
- Lucius’s character undergoes significant emotional changes in Season 2 of Our Flag Means Death, as he deals with trauma and explores more of his romance with Black Pete.
- Lucius’s attempt to seek revenge on Ed Teach by pushing him overboard doesn’t bring the satisfaction he expected, leading him on a journey of forgiveness and acceptance.
- Actor Nathan Foad enjoys playing the relationship between Lucius and Black Pete because the show allows for the exploration of the complexities of their relationship in more than a comedic context.
The Max series Our Flag Means Death, created by David Jenkins, has just wrapped up its second season, and it’s safe to say that none of these characters are the same as they were when the show first premiered. For 18 episodes, we’ve watched the diverse crew of the pirate ship called the Revenge go through some pretty big ups and downs, but always rally around each other as a family. Still, when Season 2 premiered, one of the biggest overhanging questions had to do with the fate of Lucius (Nathan Foad), who had met a particularly untimely fate in the first season finale at the hands of none other than Blackbeard, aka Ed Teach (Taika Waititi) and whose whereabouts were ultimately unknown. Early in the season, however, we get our answer — Lucius has been serving on a new ship under the command of pirate queen Zheng Yi Sao (Ruibo Qian), and while he seems happy to be reunited with his original pirate fam, it’s clear that Blackbeard/Ed’s murder attempt, as well as his time on board the Red Flag, has taken something of a toll.
That said, Lucius does have the chance to recover and grow from the trauma of his experiences. Throughout Season 2, he also builds on his previously established relationship with fellow pirate Black Pete (Matthew Maher), as the romance between the two characters takes on new significance — the season even ends with the two of them getting hitched at sea! So when the opportunity arose for Crumpa to speak with Foad about Season 2, we couldn’t say no. Over the course of the interview, which you can read below, the actor discusses Lucius’ new « troubled bad boy vibe, » the importance of the Lucius/Black Pete relationship, what’s on his wishlist for the two now that they’re a married pair, which cast member he wants to share the screen with more in a potential Season 3, and more.
Our Flag Means Death
- Release Date
- March 3, 2022
- Rhys Darby, Taika Waititi, Rory Kinnear, Con O’Neill
- Main Genre
- Comedy, Action, Adventure, Biography
Crumpa: I’m glad we get to finally talk about the show!
NATHAN FOAD: I know! What a relief. It’s so nice to be able to finally shout about it.
Your character is definitely in a very different place when we find him in Season 2. I wanted to ask you about approaching Lucius this season from that emotional place — because it is played in part to be funny, but there’s a heaviness too. Were there conversations with David about the circumstances we find him in?
FOAD: Well, thank you for saying all that. It was definitely a challenge, and it wasn’t something that I wasn’t intimidated by. I had so much fun playing Lucius in Season 1, and he was such a fun, irreverent character, but it felt really comfortably within my wheelhouse, everything I had to do in Season 1. And then in Season 2, obviously, Lucius has been through some stuff, and also, just as the season progresses, we really ramp up the love storyline with Black Pete. So, I really had to make sure my skills were as sharp as possible, and make sure I had those chops ready to go, because it was a big undertaking.
David and I had some discussions about it. I didn’t know too much going in. I had a little bit of extra time than everyone else just because I wasn’t in that first episode, which was really helpful, so I was able to just do my own private prep work. There were some clues as to what Lucius had been through in the script itself, but I was able to have a think about what he’d gone through and how it would have changed him. It was nice because the way into it was kind of funny. David wanted me to play this James Dean-y, troubled bad boy vibe, which was funny for someone like me to do something like that. So it was nice to come at it from a comedic point of view and then delve into the darker side of his character this season. It was a blast.
As lighthearted as the show tends to be, sometimes it’s easy to forget there was a murder attempt. Ed tried to kill Lucius, and he’s clearly dealing with some post-traumatic stuff from that. How did you feel about Lucius getting to turn the tables on Ed and getting to push him overboard? Does it help Lucius start to move past that, and is it cathartic for him, or do you think it’s more like, “Well, this is the first step, and now I still have some other stuff to figure out?”
FOAD: First of all, that was my favorite scene to film in the second season. I loved it so much. It’s just always so fun to get to film with Taika. I thought it was such clever, funny writing. It was very relatable and human, the fact that Lucius tries to solve his problem in this very external way. He thinks, “This thing happened to me, so I just need to make it happen to another person, and I’ll feel better.” Then you see that that doesn’t make him feel better at all, and it doesn’t work, and he has to go on a sort of deeper emotional journey, a journey of radical forgiveness and acceptance. There’s something very relatable about that. I think we’ve all been in those situations where you’ve gone through something and your initial response to it is kind of manic and you haven’t processed it yet. Then, actually, you arm yourself with the tools to deal with it in an emotionally healthy way. And I think that’s what Lucius does this season. It was such a fun arc to play.
For Lucius and Black Pete, in the backdrop of the Ed/Stede drama, they’re this pair that are going through it themselves. That’s not to say that they don’t have their rocky moments and their misunderstandings. Black Pete is trying to understand what Lucius has been through, and Lucius is keeping him at a distance for a bit, but it feels like they’re a nice bedrock couple of the show in their own right. What do you like most about getting to play those scenes and build that relationship with Matthew?
FOAD: It’s maybe the element of the show for me that I’m proudest of, the work that I do. I love working with Matt. He’s a dear friend of mine and I think he’s a genius actor, and some of the funnest times I had on that set were working with him, because it was so nice to get to play the big, broad comedy of Lucius and then dive into that more delicate stuff with him. That relationship is really important to me, and it was really important to me that it was handled with care. I’ve maybe said something similar to this before, but it’s really cool as a gay actor to just get to play a relationship not for laughs, [but] get to play it in all its shades and complexities. I think it’s safe to say that both Lucius and Black Pete are coming at this having maybe never been in a committed, serious relationship before, and of course, that’s so relatable. That comes with so much baggage, and you’ve got your own wounds and your own bullshit that you’re dealing with, and then coming together and battling through that but as a unit? It’s so beautiful. The writing’s great. And as I say, Matt and I just have such great chemistry, so it’s never anything but a joy to work opposite him.
‘Our Flag Means Death’ Season 2’s Best Couple Isn’t Stede and Ed
If Ed and Stede are the kind of couple you write epics about, these two form the couple you wish you were friends with.
Did you know that there was going to be a wedding in the finale for them, or were you surprised by it in the script?
FOAD: I’m trying to remember now. Someone must have told me. What’s so funny, when you’re filming any TV show, often you don’t have the script super far in advance. You sort of get them as you go along, but alongside all of that, you’re doing costume fittings and makeup tests and things like that for the episodes that are upcoming. While you’re shooting one episode, you’re being fitted for several episodes at a time, so you hear things where they’re like, “Okay, so do we want to try on the wedding…?” And you’re like, “Oh, there’s a wedding?” So you get things in dribs and drabs like that.
But I think I knew a few episodes in advance that we were getting married because we propose in Episode 5. I was so excited. I just felt like it was such a perfect conclusion to their storyline for Season 2. It just felt so earned. It felt like they’d really overcome a lot together, and they were just each other’s shield in a really inhospitable world. Being pirates is not easy, you know? So, it’s so beautiful that they have each other, and they were able to tie the knot, as it were.
I talked to David earlier, and he said he has a plan for three seasons. He has an idea of what he wants for a beginning, middle, and end storyline. What kind of journey do you see Lucius and Black Pete going on as a married couple? Are there any wishlist things, or is it just getting to explore that relationship now that they’ve officially been hitched?
FOAD: It’s interesting. I’m always so careful to say things like this, because the fans get very excited, and suddenly it gets treated like it’s actually happening. But I would maybe love to see Lucius and Black Pete get to step into their power as pirates a little bit more, because I think both of them, in very different ways, don’t get taken that seriously as pirates. Lucius is sensitive and afraid of things, and smart and esoteric, and then Black Pete is this doofus who’s claiming to be more experienced than he actually is, that kind of vibe. So, I’d love in the third season to see them get to rise up a little bit. I’m always a bit jealous because Lucius doesn’t get to get that involved with any of the cool stuff. He doesn’t get involved in any of the schemes, he’s always on the sidelines and looking a bit disgusted. [Laughs]
And then they almost get their chance in the “Calypso’s Birthday” episode, and then the fight’s already over!
FOAD: Yes, exactly that! That’s such a funny joke in the show, but I would love to see something like that play out its natural conclusion. What does it look like when Black Pete and Lucius have to do some real badass piracy? That would be a really fun thing. But I don’t know, we’ll see.
Last season, everybody had their vote for which cast member broke the most, and it was Samson [Kayo]. Was anyone really guilty in Season 2? Who was most likely to break up a take because they couldn’t keep a straight face?
FOAD: I mean, yeah, Samson’s a naughty boy, and we love him. To be fair, I’m not great. On any set I’ve ever been on, I’m a real laugher. I really do giggle a lot. I can tell you who really cracked me up a lot and really made me break this season a lot — we weren’t in many scenes together — but Madeleine Sami, who plays Archie, I just think is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. She’s so funny, and me and her, we just had a very similar comedy sensibility. We just adored each other. Madeleine would have one line in a scene, like a three-word line, and just the way she would toss it off would kill me. So, she made it pretty difficult, and she knew she did, as well. I think by the end, because she knew I found her so funny, she got off on making me break. She’s absolutely amazing. I adore her.
With Season 2, and hopefully with Season 3 on the horizon, the cast is getting bigger every year, so it’s probably a bit harder to have scenes with everybody that you want to, but is there anybody that you haven’t had a lot of scenes with in the cast that you’d want the chance to bounce off of more?
FOAD: That’s a good question. I’ve been so lucky in the show to get to do some really great stuff with Con and Taika and Rhys, and I got to kiss Vico on the lips, which I think the internet is very jealous of me for, and obviously Matt. I would have loved to have had more material with Madeleine, honestly, because I think she’s so brilliant and funny. I’d love to do more with Leslie [Jones]. Leslie and I really get on, and it’s not a big secret that I’m a big Leslie Jones fan. So, getting to work with her felt like a fever dream and I just couldn’t believe it was happening. We’ve only had little brushes on screen together, but backstage we get on like a house on fire. I would love to do more with Leslie Jones. I think she’s an absolute icon.
With Jackie on the Revenge now, there’s even more of an opportunity to get some Lucius/Jackie interaction, so I’m crossing my fingers for you.
FOAD: Oh, please. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers, everyone. I need it.
Our Flag Means Death is available to stream on Max.
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