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Turning heads Poldark star Aidan Turner to return to screens as famous artist Leonardo da Vinci

The 37-year-old star shot to fame in 2015, when he started playing brooding Captain Ross Poldark in the BBC One adaptation of author Winston Graham’s novels.

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Aidan Turner (Amazon Prime Video/Lux Vide)

Aidan Turner (Amazon Prime Video/Lux Vide)

Aidan Turner (Amazon Prime Video/Lux Vide)

The Irish actor Aidan Turner who set pulses racing as Poldark will be smouldering on our screens once again in a new period drama based on the life of Leonardo da Vinci.

Turner is best known for starring as the title character in BBC’s hit series a role which has earned him multiple awards, including the Radio Times Audience Award at the 2016 BAFTA TV Awards.

The 37-year-old star shot to fame in 2015, when he started playing brooding Captain Ross Poldark in the BBC One adaptation of author Winston Graham’s novels.

Fondly remembered for his topless scything scene, he now plays the Renaissance artist who is seen kissing a young man in scenes from the new Amazon show.

And he said that the tantalising retelling of the life of one of history's greatest artists set against the backdrop of Renaissance Italy was a project he just couldn't turn down.

"In a way, if it wasn't Leonardo da Vinci, I probably wouldn't [have taken the role]," the Hobbit star has said.

"As actors, sometimes we feel – certainly I do – 'If I pass on this, will I watch this in a year's time with some other actor playing it, and wish I had done it?' And I kept feeling that."

In an unusual take on the life of the great Renaissance master, the story focuses a lot on Da Vinci’s very unorthodox upbringing with his grandparents, and how that may have influenced him.

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Caitlin FitzGerald and Aidan Turner. Photo: Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Caitlin FitzGerald and Aidan Turner. Photo: Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Caitlin FitzGerald and Aidan Turner. Photo: Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

“What eased me into the idea of playing him was (the scripts),” Tuner revealed. “It focused, almost immediately, on ‘Let’s try to uncover who this person was’. We already know who the artist is, we know his great works, we know his works as a philosopher and as an engineer, anatomist, botanist – it goes on.

“But who was he behind all that? Who was he at the core? What motivated him as an artist, as a person? What were his vulnerabilities?

"I really like the thriller part of it, he added. "It was important to add something a bit spicy to the story, and the thriller part is so clever and so interesting."

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As part of his research for the role, Turner had the chance to visit the Louvre Museum in Paris, and have a private viewing of Da Vinci's work, which includes the iconic Mona Lisa.

"I got to spend a couple of hours with his paintings on my own and it was extraordinary. I mean, there are so many things that strike you. One is just the physicality of it; we're so used to seeing his paintings on the screen, on an iPad, in an encyclopaedia, in a magazine, newspaper, television. You see them up close, its scale... Some of them are huge."

He added: "Then you get close and you think, 'How kind has 400, 500 years been to these paintings?' And it seems incredibly so. The detail... They're like high-definition photographs. You get as close as you can safely get to the painting, which is close enough, and it's just perfect. They're perfectly preserved, they're perfectly executed."

It was during filming in Italy on Leonardo that Turner and his girlfriend of three years, the American actress Caitlin Fitzgerald secret tied the knot.

Aidan and Caitlin (who is also 37) couldn’t wait to get hitched when their schedules allowed.

“They’re both very private and have kept the ceremony very much under wraps, but he has been seen taking lockdown walks with his wedding ring on show,” a show insider said.

Leonardo launches on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, April 16.

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