The star of the new BBC 1 Musketeers series dons our latest Topman suits and chats about TV, style and more
Topman Generation: You’ve been in a lot of hit TV shows, would you say that TV series are taking over from movies in popularity?
Santiago Cabrera: TV is a platform where you can develop characters. Most of today’s best characters are on television. I’m not surprised that actors are gravitating towards TV, the character development is very appealing.
TG: What are some of your favourite TV shows?
I’d say whichever opens up the humanity of the person. You can see that in Bryan Cranston, there’s so much credit to him with Breaking Bad. Then there’s The Wire, an incredible show because of the truth that it depicts and the attention it shows its characters… It gives you the full spectrum.
TG: Talking of Walter White, what makes the anti-hero so appealing?
Someone said to me that if you just show a character on screen, no matter how flawed he is, an audience will follow them. I think we’re all flawed as human beings, there’s a sort of curiosity for how extreme we can be, and to try and understand that behaviour.
TG: Tell us a bit about the new Musketeers show.
Like I say, I love the stories with anti-heroes, but on the flipside, with the Musketeers it’s good to have just heroes. That is good entertainment, these characters are heroes even though they’re flawed. Aramis is charming, joyous, but also very deadly and dangerous, a lonely detached person that can sometimes be warm. A great lover and a great fighter, who has a strong sense of loyalty and brotherhood.
TG: Would you say he’s a romantic?
I don’t know, sometimes a romantic can be quite a naïve person who can have wishful thinking. I don’t think he has any wishful thinking. He’s honest and truthful, his heart has been broken in the past. But it’s all in a quest to find that one true love as opposed to giving up on it.
TG: What research did you do into the Musketeers?
I read the book because it was the main source, then I took whatever spoke to me about the character and forgot about everything else. I think you discover so much as you go along. It’ll be exciting to come back and do a new season.
TG: The BBC famously remade Sherlock into something unexpected. Is it the same with Musketeers?
It’s definitely a new version. The spirit of the book is captured; if you do watch it and you’ve read it, it’s a part of the same world, but it’s a completely new story. Adrian Hodges (creator of the show) said he didn’t want to adapt the book because you’re trapped in it. The way d’Artagnan meets the Musketeers is the same, but then it goes into completely new territory. We had that freedom to create our characters from scratch.
TG: Does the cast work well together?
When we got together, we had a boot camp a few weeks before shooting, it was a very reassuring to see all four of us were distinct, but it was like we’d been friends for years. It was also a huge plus to know that Peter Capaldi was playing the Cardinal.
TG: How was boot camp?
It was rigorous. We’d get woken up at 6am, have quick breakfast, then we'd be at the stables cleaning the horses and going for a two hour hack. Then we'd go for a fight rehearsal, then the sword master would take us through three hours of sword fighting, then there was yoga, then all over again the next day. Four weeks solid. We were in the north of the CzechRepublic, and that’s where we all first met, sweating it out.
TG: Is this the most difficult role you’ve prepared for?
Definitely in terms of the preparation before and the keeping it up. It’s a different muscle groups, but when you’re lunging and sword fighting there’s a lot of stretching. It was six months of that. I’d get up 10 minutes before every pick up to stretch, by the end of it I was stretching in my trailer because I needed that extra 10 minutes.
TG: Any injuries?
Nothing major, there was a lot of knocks. When we finished my body collapsed. I thought I’d be back in a couple of weeks but it was a couple of months before getting back into the rhythm of it.
TG: Describe your personal style?
I love a good pair of boots and a nice jacket. I hate shopping, but you’re very lucky as an actor as you’re introduced to lots of new styles. The Musketeers was good for me, I love hats and a good leather jacket. I felt very comfortable in that costume. The silhouette of the Musketeers costume would be a good look today.