Zap2it: What is your “Borgias” character, the nefarious Pope Alexander VI, aka Rodrigo Borgia, up to this year, with his illegitimate children Cesare and Lucrezia, and his enemies within and without the Vatican?
Jeremy Irons: His Holiness has a lot to struggle with, and he’s struggling with it all, trying to keep what’s left of his family together and try to strengthen the whole situation, keep his son under some sort of control. There’s a lot to do, get over his poisoning. So that’s afoot.
Zap2it: Did his position ever become an impediment to his amorous pursuits?
Jeremy Irons: I don’t think he found it got in the way at all. He was not a married man, and, for him, women were just part of life. He was a hot-blooded Mediterranean man.
That was the medieval way. You had very strong anchors to tell you what was right and wrong. You sometimes did wrong, but then you confessed and hoped for forgiveness. Neil (series creator Neil Jordan) and I talked about that a lot, embracing the inconsistencies of him and knitting it together and showing the whole spectrum of what we think the man was.
Zap2it: You starred in “Brideshead Revisited” as Sebastian Flyte, son of a prominent English Catholic family. Now, you’re playing a pope. What’s up with that?
Jeremy Irons: Hmmm. I personally am not a club member, but it’s there, in “Brideshead” and “Borgias.”