The Backlot has shared part two of their interview with Tom about episode 5 of Da Vinci's Demons 'The Tower' and have also included responses from David S. Goyer. Read it in full on the website, but don't read further if you haven't seen episode 5 yet.
TBL: Let’s jump to the scene between Da Vinci and Jacopo Saltarelli. Talk to me about filming it.
Tom Riley: We were determined to show that not only was there was once something very real and strong between them, but that it hasn’t necessarily gone away. Letting Jacopo go isn’t an easy decision for Leonardo but the trial really left him with no choice. You’ll notice that later, in the bath scene with Lucrezia, just after she claims that in her pursuits ‘love is a liability,’ Leonardo responds with ‘Mine too’. I then threw a look to the secret denunciation on the bed, that we had seen in a cut away earlier, to try and subtly imply that whatever Leonardo had with Jacopo, detailed in that denunciation, was as close to true love as a man of his roving mind and insatiable curiosity could ever understand.
TBL: Why do you think it was important for us to see this scene — especially their kiss?
DG: I feel without it, there still could be some ambivalence. For me, this was the key to the entire episode. I was adamant that we do the trial this season while some on my fellow producers wanted to shy away from it and not cause controversy this season. It led to an argument but I felt we’d be doing Leonardo a disservice if we didn’t ‘go there’ this season. Beyond that, what I’d hoped to accomplish was to narratively thread the needle — I wanted for Leonardo to arrange to have the charges dropped, rather than to have himself be proven innocent. I felt that would be critical. That it was no one’s business what people did with their sexual lives. Then, after the charges were dropped, I hoped we could sucker punch the audience and reveal that the ‘sodomy’ actually did happen (albeit consensually). I guess I wanted complicated. There was a relationship. Sodomy did happen. But, it was consensual. Jacopo felt jilted then took a bribe in order to sensationalize the charges, which were politically motivated. The kiss was so critical, in fact, we didn’t release the scene to the network or studio beforehand. Tom, myself, the writer Joe Ahearne, and director Paul Wilmshurst conspired to keep the scene secret and shoot it on the day. We hoped that, once everyone saw the scene, they’d get it. Fortunately, they did.
TR: Once [the scene was] shot, we showed the dailies to Starz, who absolutely loved it, were 100% supportive, and determined that it would remain in the show. So it turned out we need never have worried. But with the sad restrictions and expectations placed on U.S. television by parts of its audience, it was a risk we weren’t prepared to take.
Bear McCreary has shared his blog update for The Tower - it's spoilery!