"I'm used to it," Stephens said about his mother's judgments in a recent interview to promote the series which premieres Saturday at 9 p.m. Eastern. The 44-year-old actor added: "I'm not reliant anymore on whether she enjoys something."
Stephens said that while his Oscar-winning mother, who is currently in "Downton Abbey," would prefer to like the shows he's in, when she doesn't, "It's not going to ruin her day."
For Stephens, what's "nerve-wracking" is when Smith comes to see him in a play because he knows she'll pop backstage after the show "and it's palpable whether she's liked it or not."
"Black Sails" is a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island" novel, in which Captain Flint is described as a notorious, terrifying pirate by the drunken seaman Billy Bones.
It was Flint whose loot is the treasure buried on Treasure Island and Stephens says that gives the creative team a lot of leeway in creating their Captain Flint. "They wanted to create a complex character who ends up as this person but isn't necessarily that at the beginning of this show."