'Reign' star Toby Regbo on impotent sex, skeletons in Francis' closet
In the season-one finale of Reign, Francis’ life completely changed. After the death of Henry, not only did Francis became the king of France, but he also found out that Lola was having his illegitimate child. And in the season’s final moments, he left Mary behind and rode off into a plague-infested countryside to try and find Lola. So what happens now?
We spoke with Toby Regbo about Francis’ journey, some of the new faces at the castle, and all of that baby business.
EW: It’s a big year for Francis. He’s now a king and a father. Is his biggest struggle this year going to be balancing those two roles?
TOBY REGBO: Yeah, I think that’s pretty bang-on. I think the balancing act would be less of a problem if the child were his wife’s as well. Seeing as it’s an illegitimate child, that can cause complications, but I think he’s trying to have integrity in both worlds, in his home life and in his ruling life. He doesn’t want to be like his father with his child. The way that Henry was with Bash and Francis wasn’t always the best parenting. He tried to kill us both on separate occasions, tried to sleep with both of our wives, did sleep with one successfully—so, you know, not a great role model. I’m trying to not be like that and I’m also trying to be a caring ruler, but it’s proving to be very difficult right off the bat. There are people and forces around me that are actually sort of stronger than the king in the sense that money is power. There are people with a lot of money and resources that I need to appease and they don’t always have my best interests at heart.
Do Francis and Mary see eye-to-eye in terms of how they want to rule?
Yeah, I suppose they do. I don’t want to give too much away, but Francis is going to have to start answering to somebody else at some point, and a conflict of interest occurs.
Speaking of Mary, Francis is also a husband. Are he and Mary fully wrapped up in baby business of their own?
Yeah, well she’s desperately trying to conceive a legitimate child to secure her rule, so we’re going at it 24/7. That’s something that happens.
I think Adelaide said Mary was shagging everyone in the castle.
What’s your take on that situation? Adelaide thinks there will be a pregnancy. Do you agree with that?
Yeah, I think there probably will be, otherwise there’s just going to be a lot of impotent sex throughout the show. I’m sure at some point there will be a baby of some sorts, but I genuinely don’t know.
We also have to talk about Francis and Bash, who shared that great hug in the season finale. When we see them together again, are they on good terms?
Yeah, they sort of have a clean slate. Francis needs someone around him that he can trust what with all the back-stabbing and two-timing and crooked behavior that goes on in politics, and having someone around who’s a brother who he can trust is going to count for a lot, someone he can entrust his secrets with and do his dirty business. I was going to say laundry, but he’s not my launderer. He’s my right-hand man.
Francis also has a sister coming into town. He knows she exists, right?
Yeah, they actually got on really well when they were younger. She went off to another country to do some stuff, and she’s coming back and Francis and her actually have a really good rapport. They sort of have a more typical brother-and-sister relationship, a sort of modern idea of a brother-sister relationship. They get on. He’s glad to have her back, actually.
Francis also gets to have some interaction with the new characters.
Yeah, there’s a couple of new rugged hunky guys coming to make trouble at the castle. One is Condé, who is my cousin although he does mention that he’s my far removed cousin. Sean Teale, who plays Condé, is Venezuelan, so he’s like a distant cousin. [Laughs]
A very, very distant cousin.
Yeah. Although I guess we all come from the same amoeba originally. Me and Sean went to school actually together. We’ve known each other for like 11 years.
Yeah, so that was nice. He’s playing my cousin who becomes part of the gang of guys that I can trust along with Bash and Leith. They’re sort of going out and doing my bidding or whatever. Although there will be a tiff I’m sure at some point because Condé has ties with Protestantism and I’m a Catholic king of a Catholic country so that will be at some point I suppose an issue. And then the other is Narcisse, who you can tell by the way that he talks that he might be up to no good. He’s played by Craig Parker, who is doing an excellent job. He’s a really good actor.
I think [executive producer] Laurie McCarthy kind of teased that Narcisse is looking for something to hold over Francis’ head and might find it.
Yeah, I mean Francis is sort of housing some skeletons in his closet, and that can only last so long, I suppose. Laurie always talks about the second season in terms of hauntings. For Francis, he’s haunted by what he did. Even though he did it with the best intentions, he did stab his father in the eye and watch him die, so that’s never easy—and that secret is weighing him down and affecting his life both personal and political, so that will become an issue.
Reign returns for its second season Thursday at 9 p.m. on The CW.