'Black Sails' Hannah New: 'There are no villains. There are no heroes.'

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Zap2it: What was your initial reaction when reading the script?

Hannah New: I honed in on Eleanor. She is such a strong female character.

Zap2it: What were you surprised to learn about pirates?

Hannah New: I suddenly realized how very little I knew about piracy itself. These men were commissioned by royalty, and they were privateers abandoned by their own states. Throughout history, pirates have been idolized and vilified. Essentially they were a group of men sent into the wilderness to make their own way and then abandoned and made into criminals by their own government. They had no sovereignty except to themselves. It is really the development of the self-made man. They were trying to survive in a very harsh climate. There are no villains. There are no heroes. They are basically thieves under royal commission and then criminals under a much tougher regime.


Zap2it: Did you find anyone like your character in your research?

Hannah New: Through my research, it was really difficult to find. I didn't want to base her specifically on anybody. I always find it useful to look at specific characters from history. Grace O'Malley was an Irish pirate. I was excited to see there were young women who saw this as a business opportunity. I have been reading more widely about women left at ports, like in a war situation. The port was still running, and women were the bearers of keeping everything running.
Photo/Video credit: Starz