And baby makes… four? Yes, Francis is facing a complicated — not to mention deadly — future when Reign returns Thursday (The CW, 9/8c) and star Toby Regbo says we’ll be lucky if the young king doesn’t go “completely mental” in Season 2. (Like father, like son, right?)
“I’m on my way to meet my baby that’s just been given birth to by my wife’s best friend, so it’s a rather convoluted and complex relationship that I’ve been thrown into at the last minute,” Regbo admits. “Coupled with that, there’s the plague that’s ravaging the land, so it’s pretty messy.”
Read on for more of Regbo’s thoughts on Season 2, including Bash’s new role, Mary’s biggest threat and a new — potentially questionable — arrival at French Court.
TVLINE | Will Francis be a hands-on dad? I’m trying to picture him changing diapers and it’s not working.
At first, he sort of just can’t understand why it’s crying and he doesn’t know what to do with it. There are nannies to handle that sort of thing. … But when he first comes into contact with the child, he immediately has a bond with it. Natural instincts take over.
TVLINE | Catherine seems worried that Lola could disrupt Francis’ marriage. Does he really still have feelings for her?
In the first episode, he does say, “I know you, Lola. We shared more than a bed in Paris.” So there is still a connection of sorts there. [Editor’s note: Read more about that “connection” in this week’s Ask Ausiello.]
TVLINE | Have you worked with a baby before?
[Laughs] No, never! On day one, they just bring you this baby — the mother of the child just hands it over to you — and I’d never even held one before. They change them a lot, though. It’s a pretty good environment to bring your child to; they’re very well looked after, and there are doctors around in case anything baby-ish happens to them. One of the babies we had in one of the scenes was less than 13 days old, which is insanely young to be around a camera crew. It looked like a tiny, old, red man. It wasn’t ready to be out in the world yet.
TVLINE | That baby’s mother must have had to sign a contract before it was even born!
I think they do that! [The producers] track the pregnancy towards the end and say, “We’ll be wanting a baby soon, so hurry up and get it out of you. Get rolling!”
TVLINE | Those interactions probably come off looking pretty authentic, though, since Francis is also totally new to the baby world.
Yeah, it’s really amazing. They want to use the actual babies as little as possible, because you have a very limited amount of time to shoot with them before they need a break. So anytime the baby is out of the shot, we use a doll, and it’s so strange how much of a difference it makes having an actual child there. So much of acting is reacting, having real moments between two people or whatever. But when you have a baby thrown into the mix, which is totally unpredictable because it doesn’t know where it is or what’s going on, it’s like a little bundle of joy. There’s a shot of me looking down at the child in the first episode and they asked me, “Do you mind if we used the doll?” and I was like, “Actually, yes, I do mind. I want this to be a moment where I’m not looking at a Satanic baby doll!”
TVLINE | Speaking of baby dolls, how’s Francis’ relationship with Bash in Season 2?
Well, now that I’m the king, I’m surrounded by people who want to stab me in the back, blackmail me, abuse me and all that. I thought that when I became king, I could just roam around the land kicking peasants’ heads off, but apparently I’m not allowed to do that. It’s not an all-powerful position; there are people with more money, resources and brains that I need. Having someone like Bash around, who I can trust, is great. I make him my right-hand man, someone who I can trust not to go behind my back — except for that one time he did that one thing behind my back, but he was trying to protect me.
TVLINE | Francis also makes a new friend in Season 2 — Conde, I believe. What’s he all about?
He’s my cousin, funnily enough. His first line is that we are very far removed, and Sean — the actor who plays him — is Venezuelan. So there’s a very tenuous link. In real life, I’ve known Sean for 11 years; we went to school together. It’s strange that this person I knew in school has popped up in this totally separate bit of my life. We meet him in Episode 1 when he protects me and Lola from the plague, and we take him back to the castle. I tell him, “You can rest here for a night,” and he ends up staying for ages. He turns out to be a loyal and useful asset, though there is a tenuous power thing going on; he has links with Protestantism, and I’m the king of a Catholic country. As the season progresses, I think that will become a problem between them.
TVLINE | Lastly, I know Francis doesn’t want to be anything like his father. How can he hope to make that happen?
That’s a big thing for him in Season 2. When he brings the child back to Mary, he doesn’t know what role it’ll take at Court, but he wants to be a part of his son’s life. He uses Bash as an example; Henry didn’t give him a title or standing and that really hurt him. Francis doesn’t want that to be the case for his son. And on a personal level, just not going insane [like Henry] — trying to keep his feet on the ground without going completely mental.
Reign fans, are you worried about Francis and Mary’s future together? Browse photos from Season 2 below, then drop a comment with your hopes and fears.