Friday, June 10, 2011

Camelot - Telegraph (UK): Joseph Fiennes Interview

Source: Telegraph (UK) [follow link for complete interview]


CAMELOT - TELEGRAPH (UK): Joseph Fiennes Interview

The actor tells Benji Wilson about playing Merlin as a Machiavellian fixer in Channel 4’s new fantasy saga.

by Benji Wilson
10 Jun 2011

Several questions arise in the early scenes of Channel 4’s Arthurian reboot Camelot. One: what is an actor of the calibre of Joseph Fiennes doing in what looks like a swords-and-sorcery epic? Two: given that he is playing Merlin, where’s his hair? Not only does Fiennes’s Merlin lack the flowing beard, the staff and the spells, but he has gone for a buzzcut. And three: when did epic fantasy switch from being the nerdy stuff that the Dungeons & Dragons kids played at break time to something that is currently asking for consideration as serious television?

Because undoubtedly that is what Camelot, made for a small fortune by the American cable network Starz, aspires to be. And put it alongside HBO’s Game of Thrones, Starz’s own Pillars of the Earth last year (and not forgetting the BBC’s Merlin) and it marks 12 months in which fantasy has made a bid for credibility, using some fine British actors to do it.


Joseph Fiennes as Merlin

Fiennes, for his part, had his own misgivings about going medieval.

When I was told Camelot, Merlin, I wasn’t quite sure – I felt like I’d seen it once or twice before. But I liked the idea that this was a dark retelling and not an off-the-shelf production. So I thought let’s dispense with the long beard and maybe move away from the magic – move him to be more of a political thug. Really a man whose powers lie in politics, psychology and negotiation, within the halls of power...

Camelot begins on Saturday at 9pm on Channel 4 [in the UK], and in the US, Camelot's season one finale airs Friday, June 10 at 10/9C on Starz.

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