Leonardo: writing underway on new Frank Spotnitz drama

Writing is underway on Frank Spotnitz and Stephen Thompson's new Leonardo TV drama, but who could play the lead role?

Late last year it was announced that former X-Files producer and current Medici co-creator Frank Spotnitz was working on a new Italian-set series celebrating the life and work of Leonardo da Vinci. Marking the passing of 500 years since the legendary polymath’s death, the series is planned to tell his story through the lens of his masterpieces.

Chatting to Den Of Geek at the January 2019 launch of historical Netflix drama Medici: The Magnificent, Spotnitz confirmed that writing on the new drama (alongside Sherlock and Deep State’s Stephen Thompson) was ongoing and that the plan is to film the eight-episode series in Italy later this year.

“It’s incredibly challenging,” said Spotnitz. “A really hard one but really rewarding.”

Particularly challenging, he explained, is casting the lead. “I think about [casting] all the time!” he laughs. “That’s a really tough role to cast.”

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“I can’t think of anybody more challenging because you just can’t believe he ever existed. You can’t believe there is one man who was good at so many things, and he was beautiful. He was famously really strikingly handsome, you just can’t believe this guy…

“And drama doesn’t like that. Drama doesn’t like somebody who’s good at 50 things, we like somebody who’s good at one thing. Trying to capture all of who he was without reducing him, without making him banal or being too simple, is not easy.”

Actors who’ve previously taken on the role include Tom Riley (in Starz series Da Vinci’s Demons), Mark Rylance and Roberto Benigni. A genius, an inventor, a creator of masterpieces, a great beauty… 

We’ve got just the fella.

All eight episodes of Medici: The Magnificent arrive on Netflix on Friday the 25th of January.