Syfy's popular series Merlin
returns for a third season starting January 7 at 10PM ET/PT. Colin Morgan reprises his role as the young wizard Merlin, who must protect Prince Arthur, played by Bradley James. The new season finds the kingdom of Camelot in turmoil by the return of Morgana.
This season also brings new guest stars, including Harry Melling, Warwick Davis, Miriam Margoyles, and Mark Williams from the Harry Potter
movies. Guest stars from last season Emilia Fox and Santiago Cabrera also return.
Both Morgan and James sat down with the digital media to discuss the new season. QUESTION:
How is the return of Morgana going to change the vibe in Season 3.BRADLEY JAMES:
All right. I’ll answer that. And whenever Morgana turns up in Series 3 there’s been a year-long search for her as decreed by Uther. And we don’t know where she’s been for that year. We don’t know what she’s been up to or what she’s been harvesting.
But it becomes very evident very quickly in the first episode that despite appearances she hasn’t changed. She’s just as evil as she was before if not more. And so it’s basically the beginnings within the first episode of where she’s going to go and what she’s going to create and what she’s going to change.QUESTION:
I notice you’re getting quite a few guest stars in Season 3, especially actors from the Harry Potter
series. How do you think that part of the resume will help the show?BRADLEY JAMES:
Oh hello. How do I think that part of the resume will help the show? Well I always say that the best thing about doing the show is the guests that come on. You find yourself learning from them quite a bit. You find you’re sort of enjoying hanging out with them and whatnot.
And the guests we get seem to be very fun people to have around. So for us personally it’s always a lot of fun.
We’ve sort of had a great time this year because the people who were brought in were lots of fun. I’m going to use that word a few times I think if I keep talking.
But in terms of commercially speaking for the show, Harry Potter
’s very popular. I can’t see it being to the detriment of the show that you have people in the show who’ve been in Harry Potter
But I don’t think they’re in it. I don’t think they’ve been cast in Merlin
because they’ve been in Harry Potter
. I just think the producers have gone out and found people who would enhance the show. And that’s how it’s felt on set for us as well.QUESTION:
One more quick thing for Colin. Hypothetically, if you could become a wizard would you and why or why not?COLIN MORGAN:
Definitely. I mean who wouldn’t want to be wizard at least for a day. As long as you didn’t have the dilemmas and the situations that Merlin and staff was thrown into I’d be happy, if you didn’t - if you could actually use them, you know, to have a bit of fun and do something good for the world and maybe for yourself whereas Merlin’s kind of limited that he has to look after Arthur. But it’s all for the good, yeah, definitely.QUESTION:
Well if you could do something fun would it be like rainbows and fireworks and stuff like that or something fun?COLIN MORGAN:
Rainbows and...I am - I don’t know. What would you create? I guess something that could - I mean there’s always a search I guess for people and for happiness. And I guess whatever that one thing is that makes people happy, if there was some spell that could give people that one thing each, I guess that would be a good thing to do.QUESTION:
We were wondering if you were big fans of the Camelot and Merlin mythology before you signed on to be on the show.BRADLEY JAMES:
Well I...COLIN MORGAN:
I guess...BRADLEY JAMES:
I certainly was very aware of it. I think kind of growing up in Britain you find it’s kind of ingrained into your psyche a little bit without your realizing it. And, they’re very sort of inspiring kind of heroic stories.
So I always sort of had an interest in it beforehand, not a sort of specific interest that I followed it sort of religiously or anything but certainly when the opportunity to work on the show came up I’d already had a sort of previous knowledge of what the story was about and what the legends sort of told. And it’s kind of obviously been enhanced by doing the show. And research for the show’s kind of I guess just improved my knowledge of various aspects of the legend.QUESTION:
And for people who may not have seen the show before what can you tell us what separates this version of the story from all the others that have come before?BRADLEY JAMES:
Well I would say that we’ve completely butchered the legend and sort of reworked it for sort of Saturday night escapism because anyone who’s kind of quite strictly religious to the legend perhaps will take a bit of time to get used to what we’ve done to it. But we - I think we’ve taken the legend and kind of - I mean the producers like to sort of compare it with the sort of Smallville
idea of having Superman before he was Superman.
And I mean this is Merlin before he was Merlin and Arthur before he was King Arthur. So it’s kind of the prelude story to the familiar tale that everyone’s aware of.QUESTION:
As actors, is there any...frustration or just kind of wishing things would move along a little bit quicker I mean with the Arthur/Gwen story line or Arthur finding out about Merlin’s magic and just the various elements of the plot.COLIN MORGAN:
I think as an audience member, being aware of where these characters end up and knowing that they become the legends that they are, that Arthur and Gwen become king and queen, that Merlin becomes being accepted as Arthur’s advisor and a wizard and that magic is out in the open and I think when you know that that’s where they end up I think it can always be possibly a sense of frustration when you want that to happen quickly.
In reality things don’t happen that quickly. It takes time for those to happen.
And I guess as well that’s from a story point of view. I guess from a producer’s point of view they don’t want to rush things too quickly.
But I do believe that things are happening at quite a pace already in terms of character relationships. It’s just I think that we’re - as an audience we’re in the know about their - where they - of where they’re supposed to be.BRADLEY JAMES:
We haven’t started on Season 4 yet but I would say had Season 3 not gone in the direction that it went in then yes those frustrations would have been there. But I think Season 3 kind of takes the show on in the direction it needed to go because we sort of had two seasons of, what the first two were about. And I think Season 3, things change.
So I think that was needed. And I think the producers kind of answered the call with where they went with the direction of the show.QUESTION:
I know the show takes on some of the core myths of Arthur but a bit differently. Was there anything that’s I guess been done on the show that you could talk about that just kind of surprised you the way this version takes it?BRADLEY JAMES:
Surprised on the show? I suppose it’s all been a surprise really in the sense that they’ve had to introduce aspects of the legend in a completely different way.
I don’t think there’s ever been a kind of straightforward way of telling the story because it’s not really a way that the story’s been told before. I think that’s one of the aspects of the show that kind of works for people is that they’re not aware of where this story’s going to go even if they are familiar with the legend. I think it constantly is a surprise because there’s no set way of doing it I think.QUESTION:
Starz is gearing up with Camelot
which is going to be I guess maybe a more conventional take. And so at some point there will be two versions of King Arthur on TV at the same time. How do you guys feel about? Or does that have any impact at all?BRADLEY JAMES:
I’m quite looking forward to it actually. I’d quite like to see what they do with it because I think it sounds like it’s sort of something that is going to be very different from what we’ve done.
The one area of concern is, people have done to death vampires where it could be the case, people do to death Camelot and knights and all that. So I think there needs to be a little bit of caution over that.
But I’m quite looking forward to seeing it because it’s, again, another take on a story that certainly in this country, people can relate to. So it’ll be interesting to see what they’ve done with it.COLIN MORGAN:
I agree with that as well. I think because you mentioned earlier about people being into Arthurian legend and how is our show different. I guess anybody who’s into Arthurian legends they’ll appreciate that they are legends and they are retold. And that’s a huge part of what the Arthurian legends are that they’ve developed and been retold over the years. And to have two versions of that once again on TV there, possibly at the same time -- I’m not sure -- I think that’s going to be fascinating to see on how each one’s done.QUESTION:
So how did you two come to work on the show?BRADLEY JAMES:
All yours, Colin.COLIN MORGAN:
Okay. It seems to be the same sort of process it has been for any other acting job.
It’s a case of a script comes through, you audition for it, you get called back. I think there was a series of maybe four or five call-backs and that happened over a period of maybe three or four weeks for the show.
And obviously the more you go back the more you want to be a part of it. And we could see that it would be a fantastic adventure to embark on. And to arrive at the point then where you get offered the role was amazing.
And that was kind of my journey. I think - was yours more or less the same, Bradley?BRADLEY JAMES:
Yeah. Yes.COLIN MORGAN:
I know you talked a little bit about how it’ll affect the show - the season. But can you talk about working with the actors from Harry Potter
I will. I’m trying to think who. We had Harry [Melling]. We had Miriam [Margoyles]. I don’t think it was too different than working with anyone else really.
Again I sort of said that people that were brought in were kind of brought in because they were right for the role and enhanced the show and did something great with the characters which can be said for pretty much everyone who hasn’t been in Harry Potter
I suppose. You went kind of on set going, "Oh, that person’s been in Harry Potter
So now I’m trying to think who has been in Harry Potter
. But from - Harry and Miriam and who else was there?COLIN MORGAN:
Well Warwick Davis is quite a highlight for me.BRADLEY JAMES:
Warwick, yes Warwick of course.COLIN MORGAN:
Not because he was in Harry Potter
but because he was Warwick Davis. You know? It’s...BRADLEY JAMES:
Yeah, yeah.COLIN MORGAN:
...something as Bradley said. It’s the actors as opposed to their credits that just is very much cast on people who write for the roles the same way we were cast in them. And it does feel great to have those people on the show.QUESTION:
What do you think is Merlin and Gwen’s part in influencing Arthur to become a great king?BRADLEY JAMES:
Well certainly, with Merlin I think traditionally he’s always been a sort of advisor and also a kind of magical helping hand in sort of previous legends. I guess we’ll see.
I think there’s a bit of a danger with Gwynevere sort of at the moment. The relationship hasn’t been developed as such to know what role she will play other than she kind of turns up at moments and kind of says you’ll be the king I know you can be.
So I’m not really sure what direction that will go. But I think the obvious one would be with Merlin being that sort of advisor and magical helping hand in times of need.QUESTION:
So if there is one particular skill that you’re going to take away from your experience of working on Merlin
what will it be?COLIN MORGAN:
Well I mean you learn so many different skills I think on the show. And I think that’s probably what it is. The ability to adapt I think for me is - you’re asked constantly to, green-screen, adventure, horse riding, comedy scenes, dramatic scenes, everything. So I think the ability and the skill to adapt under a tight schedule is one that I’d definitely take away.QUESTION:
You’re taking away a lot of skills.COLIN MORGAN:
I know. I know.BRADLEY JAMES:
Do you guys have any pet peeves with your characters?...The one annoying thing that they do that you wish you could change.BRADLEY JAMES:
Oh Arthur gets knocked unconscious quite a lot.COLIN MORGAN:
And Merlin tries to bring him back from unconsciousness quite a lot.BRADLEY JAMES:
But never managing. Why...COLIN MORGAN:
I could never manage.BRADLEY JAMES:
Yeah. Learn the spell already how to do that. Yeah.COLIN MORGAN:
The unconscious part is played quite a lot.QUESTION:
Okay. That could be annoying.BRADLEY JAMES:
So if there is one word that you would use to describe your character what would it be and why?BRADLEY JAMES:
Fabulous. No explanation needed.QUESTION:
Where do you feel for both of you your relationships are as characters right now?BRADLEY JAMES:
Oh, I mean I suppose we’re talking, what, end of Season 2, beginning...QUESTION:
Season 2, yeah.BRADLEY JAMES:
...of Season 3, are we?QUESTION:
Two, yeah.BRADLEY JAMES:
Okay. Colin, before I put my foot in it, say something.COLIN MORGAN:
Well Merlin and Arthur will always be - I mean, there’s always that (unintelligible) issue there of servant and master. And that will always be there.
But these are guys who’ve been friends for three years now. And as anyone who’s spent that much time together you get used to the quirks and those little idiosyncrasies that each person has.
And - but it’s unique in the fact that these characters have huge things ahead of them and Arthur knows he’s going to be king. Merlin does too. But he also knows that there’s greater things at stake that he’s the one who’s supposed to see and to make that journey and to be there.
So they’re forced into that situation. It’s just lucky that as time has gone by that they’ve just become closer friends.QUESTION:
Bradley can tackle this. Can you kind of tease us a little bit for Season 3 what we’re going to see?BRADLEY JAMES:
Well I don’t think it’ll - I’ll get into too much trouble for this. But basically I think the thing I was most excited about with the third series is the introduction of certain characters who have a more longstanding place within the legend and the story and within the show for us because there’s one or two knights who turn up. And I was particularly sort of really pleased about that because it’s had a sort of aspect of developing the show as well which is a great thing about Season 3.QUESTION:
I was wondering how the relationship between the two of you -- of Merlin and Arthur -- will evolve this season?BRADLEY JAMES:
Yeah, go.COLIN MORGAN:
You go ahead.BRADLEY JAMES:
Well I’d probably say the same things as you, Col. Actually I’d say one thing different in the sense that you sort of mentioned that there’s that master/servant relationship which will always be there. And I’d probably disagree with that because I think they’ll get to a point where Arthur will no longer see Merlin as a servant, where they will be equals.
I don’t think that will happen too soon. But I think that’s kind of where the progression of that relationship goes.
I think the show itself kind of - that relationship has to be quite steady in its progression anyway because it can’t make any sort of major jumps because I think it’s sort of quite important to the show. So if you suddenly made too much of an adjustment to it I think the audience would kind of find it a little bit weird.
I’d say that there’s that progression to them becoming equals and the sort of high levels of trust in these seemingly endlessly kind of mortal situations they keep finding themselves in. Mortal situations, that didn’t make sense. What’s the word I’m looking for, Col?COLIN MORGAN:
Lethal, lethal, lethal situations they find themselves in.COLIN MORGAN:
I’m sorry. What was the word?BRADLEY JAMES:
Yeah. That becomes a case of them being able to trust each other in those familiar situations...and a lot more.QUESTION:
So we probably won’t even see Merlin telling Arthur, listen, I’ve saved your butt 100 times and stop ordering me around?COLIN MORGAN:
That’s what people are eager to see I think. And I think as long as there’s any hint of doubt in Merlin’s mind that Arthur might have a similar attitude towards - that his father does, if there’s any sort of hint of then it’s not the right time.
And you’re seeing Arthur change a lot. And - but I think while his father’s still alive -- maybe Bradley wants to talk more about this -- but, you know, while his father’s still around. And there’s an incidence there. And I think that’s in any kid’s or anyone’s relationship with their parents they’re always an influence there and you always want to do them proud.
And I think magic being such a big thing for Uther, it would be hard for Arthur to change that. And I certainly think - certainly while Uther's still around it would be very difficult for Merlin to justify coming out in something so huge.BRADLEY JAMES:
Let’s call the pink elephant in the room here. We need to get rid of Uther. Then we can get on with it. I’ll say it if no one else will.QUESTION:
Which one of the two of you is bossier on set?BRADLEY JAMES:
Definitely Colin. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.COLIN MORGAN:
Yeah. Yeah. I’ll have to agree with that in case you boss me around.BRADLEY JAMES:
I think like even if I’d never bossed around anyone ever before, ever, I think it would still be me because Colin is quite saintly in his behavior. And I think he could make, you know, Mother Theresa look like a product of the devil. So that’s easily me for that. In fact ask any negative question in terms of who is the - this or that, who does this the most, the answer will be me I would have thought.COLIN MORGAN:
I’ll always thank you for that reference to Mother Theresa. Thanks a lot, Colin.BRADLEY JAMES:
No worries. (Unintelligible), she still looks up to you, Col, for your saintliness.QUESTION:
My first question is for Bradley. Arthur’s a fairly intelligent fellow. At this point or going into Season 3 does he sort of maybe start to suspect that not necessarily that Merlin’s doing magic but that there is something maybe more to him than just being a squire?BRADLEY JAMES:
It’s very kind of you to say that Arthur is an intelligent fellow. I don’t think he often gets accused of that much largely because he has to turn a blind eye quite a bit when Merlin wants to do a magic trick.
I think that’s something that the audience kind of can get a little bit - a little questionable about Arthur’s intelligence I will - so I think again not so much about willing - becoming aware of Merlin’s actual abilities but more his abilities as a person without the magic I think is what Arthur’s becoming aware of.
I think Colin touched on it earlier saying that when sort of Arthur gets to the point where he can appreciate Merlin for who he is as opposed to what he is it might be the perfect time for, you know, the unveiling. Who knows? I don’t think we have any idea how they’re going to play this one out. But, he’ll be very...very, they’ve taken on enough so hopefully they won’t absolutely conquer the way of doing it.QUESTION:
And for Colin, since Arthur and Merlin are becoming such great friends do you think Merlin feels that he can perhaps get away with more magic or doing things to save Arthur than he might be more willing to do with people who don’t, you know, he’s not friends with?COLIN MORGAN:
Well I think the thing is he’s had to do it so many times he’s become an expert on it. So I think he’s had a lot of practice at doing it secretively and in such a nifty kind of way.
Obviously his abilities have developed and - quite a lot over the years. And I think he’s got absolute and dedicated reasons as to why he’s protecting Arthur because he’s been instructed right from the beginning that it’s his destiny to see him through to the throne. So he’s completely driven to do it for Arthur.
And if there is justifiable reasons for others as there has been and in the past he will absolutely do it because he always strives to see the good and works for that. And Arthur potentially embodies all that could be good about Camelot when he becomes king. So yeah, it’s all about working towards obvious - he’s definitely more dedicated to using his powers for that reason.QUESTION:
Excellent. And one last question for both of you. Series 3 already aired in England. And you guys did interviews, you know, before, during and after. Does this seem strange that you’re doing a whole new round of interviews for the same series all over again?BRADLEY JAMES:
I have a feeling we’re going to get a call from Antarctica in a minute asking us about Series 1 because it goes out in different parts of the world at different times. So you’ll be midway filming - through filming Series 3 and, you’ll get a round of questions about Series 1 from somewhere a little bit random. So you kind of have to keep it fresh in your mind what happened all the time because it’s sort of step by stepped its way around the world.COLIN MORGAN:
Yeah. I think it’s the same for me as well. I mean you finish a series as we finished Series 3 and you kind of put it in a pocket somewhere. And then as it goes worldwide you’re constantly sort of trying to find which pocket you put it in. It’s interesting to come back and to revisit it and to - it’s good to test yourself, see what you can remember.QUESTION:
What actors, directors, other people in the business, who do you admire or who has influenced your work?COLIN MORGAN:
For me one of my favorites is probably - director-wise is I love (Sal Mendez) and Tim Burton are two of my big favorites. I also really admire the work of actors like Sean Penn is probably my favorite actor at this period because of his dedication and commitment to roles and the ability to sort of morph and change himself when he needs to.
And, you know, it’s about dedication and commitment and sort of a passion. I think anyone who has a passion for what they love to do and pursuing it is inspirational for me.BRADLEY JAMES:
That one’s a - that - I always struggle with that one. I always come out with the same answer with sort of - without giving an answer because I can’t - I would not want to sort of - I couldn’t really just say one name because I’m, you know, you can’t see sort of finding inspiration by the performances that people give and, you know, what the directors do as opposed to kind of just one director.
I mean I - I’ve - I’m constantly learning all the time both with, you know, things I watch that I’ve got nothing to do with and when we’re filming the show. So I’m always sort of finding inspiration by people who do good work. Annoyingly for you I couldn’t give you anyone specific.QUESTION:
Since you’re between filming right now what are your plans? Are you working on other projects or taking any vacations anywhere?COLIN MORGAN:
I’ll start. I’ve been traveling about. I did a couple of films last year, one called Parked and one called Island. And then I’m doing the festival circuit. I just got back from the premiere of one of the three new film festivals in Italy last week for a part which went down really well. The promotion wagon has sort of kicked off with those.
I’ll be starting a project in London in the new year which it’s not out yet so I don’t think I can say what it is. But yeah, so it’s nice to sort of do other things in between. But it’s also nice to have the break because it takes up so much of the year that you’re kind of ready to sleep for a month whenever it’s finished.BRADLEY JAMES:
I’m nowhere near as interesting as that. I’ve just been trying to play as much football as possible because then you get the opportunity while filming so I’ve been just getting on a football pitch and playing lots. Soccer in your country.QUESTION:
Because it is December and we’re coming up on Christmas what are your favorite family Christmas traditions?BRADLEY JAMES:
Avoiding my family.COLIN MORGAN:
You’re serious. Well every year we always watch two films...
But there were those that are watched every year. And one is Muppet Christmas Carol
. And the other is the National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
. Both are films I always watch every year. That’s the only sort of tradition we have for the traditional Christmas dinner which we always have.QUESTION:
Bradley, I wanted to ask you about Lancelot and Arthur because traditionally they’ve been really good friends and they haven’t really done that much with that. So I was wondering is anything coming up along that line or...BRADLEY JAMES:
It’s something I’ve picked up on myself. I mean it’s, you know, in the legend Arthur and Lancelot were best friends. It was kind of, you know, the sort of such - why it was such a difficult situation that Lancelot initially to betray him is because they were such good friends.
And in some of the kind of darker versions you read Lancelot is actually in love with Arthur. I don’t think Santiago will be taking to follow that storyline down the road.
It’s been I suppose a bit difficult to kind of introduce that aspect because Lancelot hasn’t been in that many episodes. She’s coming up this year. But he’s obviously only done two previous so it’s a little bit difficult because they’ve pretty much introduced straightaway the dilemma of Lancelot and Gwynevere.
So I would hope that it does get the opportunity to blossom as a story because it’s quite an integral part to the original legend. But who knows? We shall see.QUESTION:
Can you tell me what you think Arthur - how he sees his relationship with his father?BRADLEY JAMES:
Arthur’s grown up with purely his father as I suppose as anyone in sort of a high position in him. And his only parental figure has been his father. So, you know, his father’s such a huge influence on him.
But I think as time goes on I - as the show has gone on I think you sort of see Arthur kind of starting to figure things out for himself where he has disagreed with his father. And I think in time it’ll lead to Arthur sort of making the choices as king that he will do that’ll be different to how Uther does it which you would imagine there’ll be a stark contrast in the way that the pair of them rule. So yeah, as time goes on I think it just becomes a lot more questioning from Arthur in how Uther does things.
However, I should have started with this as opposed to rattled on about that. I think what Arthur does see is that on one side he has the kind of liberal kind of argument from people like Morgana and Merlin who are saying oh you should do things and blah, blah, blah. And then he’s got this kind of hard-nosed kind of conservative line from his father who’s going, you need to kill people with magic, blah, blah, blah.
I think what he does have is the ability to see both sides of the argument. And I think that’s kind of what, perhaps, Morgana doesn’t have. She can’t understand why Uther makes certain decisions. And Uther can’t understand why Morgana feels certain ways about things. And I think Arthur has the ability to be able to see both sides of the argument.QUESTION:
Do you get to work with John Hurt with the dragon or is the dragon scenes all like CGI or whatever?COLIN MORGAN:
Not when I’m recording my side of the conversation. I have got to get into the studio with him a couple of times but not as much as I would like to. But I have witnessed the dragon in person.BRADLEY JAMES:
You basically help him out when he’s doing his dialogue, right?COLIN MORGAN:
Yeah, yeah. He often asks for my advice, you know...BRADLEY JAMES:
...He’s not that experienced as our John. He’s only a newcomer to the business so he needs...COLIN MORGAN:
...somebody to help him out, sort of, you know, sort him out with the various aspects of his performance.QUESTION:
You don’t have to give me any spoilers but what seasons from Season 3 have you enjoyed playing and what part did you tap into to make it realistic?COLIN MORGAN:
One of the ones that I really enjoyed doing because it was one of my favorites from the Arthurian legend was the legend of the crystal cave. And it was fun to kind of in my head imagine what it was going to look like because there was a lot of CGI involved of seeing visions of the future reflected within crystals and to sort of try and imagine it and then again as often with this show with so much CGI to see the end of result. It’s always good to see the two of them married. So that was one of my favorites purely because of the legend of the crystal cave.BRADLEY JAMES:
For me it was doing a scene where a certain group of guys sit around a certain piece of furniture and, you know, get together. That was easily best moment for me.QUESTION:
Oh I can’t imagine what piece of furniture that might be.BRADLEY JAMES:
No. Well there’s not many (unintelligible)...Rather. It could be anything.QUESTION:
Well I know. But there’s a very - certain pieces of furniture. I think I know the one you’re referring to.BRADLEY JAMES:
Here’s a question for Bradley. If Arthur finds out about the magic what do you think his reaction will be? Do you anticipate something or has it been developed or how’s that going to go?BRADLEY JAMES:
I actually believe that we’re very close to the point where were Arthur to find out I think previously that we’d perhaps have a problem because Arthur would, you know, bring it up to the powers that be and Uther would become aware. I think we have reached the point or at least we’re not very far away from if we haven’t where Arthur would be able to accept it. Without spoiling too much of Season 3 I think certainly the direction that the show goes I think we’re not far away from it.QUESTION:
Okay, something to look forward to then.BRADLEY JAMES:
Hopefully taking it well shall we say...with the patients screaming and saying what the hell do you mean.QUESTION:
What are you reading right now, both of you?BRADLEY JAMES:
The newspaper occasionally, the TV Guide
every now and then when I get the chance and pretty much the end of that.QUESTION:
How about you, Colin?
I’m reading a comic book series called Bone
at the minute. Have you ever heard of that?...It’s one of my friend's. It’s like one of his favorite comic book from a kid. And he lent me like ten volumes of it. And so I’m kind of working my way through that.
But it’s called Bone
and it’s well worth checking. It’s really good.QUESTION:
A lot of the great comedic moments of this series come out of your characters’ relationship. How did that develop between you? Is it all acting? Does any of it carry over off-camera?BRADLEY JAMES:
I think it’s been said that the similar sounds coming from the pair of us when we’re working together is laughter. We do tend to have quite a good time and crack quite a few jokes.
And I suppose that sort of then takes itself onto set when we’re performing the roles. And it kind of helps, kind of that fluidity I suppose and that ease when it comes to doing scenes with comedy involved.
And it’s a lot of fun to work with Colin. Colin, just cover your ears a minute. You might...COLIN MORGAN:
But it’s a lot of fun to work with Colin because we work together a lot and I could have personally found myself in a situation where because Arthur and Merlin do have so many scenes together you really would have been hoping for somebody who you can act with.
And I think, once we sort of get on set and get through the course of filming the series we have a very good time. So I feel very fortunate about that because it could have been a hell of a lot worse.
Colin, you can take your hands off your ears now.COLIN MORGAN:
Oh sorry. I was...BRADLEY JAMES:
How could you hear me say that? That proves you weren’t covering your ears.COLIN MORGAN:
Oh no.BRADLEY JAMES:
Anyway, sorry. Go ahead. Speak.COLIN MORGAN:
Yeah. I agree. I mean it’s great because you can go and have a bit of a laugh before your scenes when there’s humor and comedy involved but equally when it comes to more I guess dramatic ones or ones that are a bit heavier.
We also can tone it down and focus on it as well. But it’s good that you’re getting that dynamic as well. We’re both challenged with the work in that way. But as Bradley says because we get on so well it’s never feels like work which is great.QUESTION:
Great. Bradley, after three seasons how good are you at broadsword?BRADLEY JAMES:
How good am I at broadsword?QUESTION:
I don’t know if there’s belts or rankings but how good?BRADLEY JAMES:
Well I didn’t ask if there’s belts or rankings. I’m really good when someone tells me what they’re going to do and what moves they’re going to do because I can make it look like I didn’t know what they were going to do and then block those moves and kill them.
If someone was to attack me without any previous choreography I don’t know. It’d be interesting to see what I would do. But it wouldn’t be interesting to me. It’d be bloody scary. But I would imagine I was better than when I started.QUESTION:
Colin, can you talk about an episode where they age you up later in Season 3?...I’ve seen images of you aged in...later episodes. Can you talk about that at all?COLIN MORGAN:
Yeah. I’m not sure I can say under what circumstances I do age. But I can probably tell you more about the kind of - the mechanics of what that involved but - which was about six hours every day and - in prosthetics and getting the prosthetics applied on and the wig fittings and beard fittings. I was aware prior to that going for head cap and getting the mold made and then of course the process that the special effects guys then had to do in terms of aging.
Then my face and contact lens has been made and teeth mold’s been made. It’s just a long, long process.
And for what was then a really fun thing to do it was great then to after nearly three years playing Merlin together a chance to play old Merlin in terms of the one that people are familiar with seeing.QUESTION:
yYou both mentioned that you have a lot of fun on the set together. Can you tell us about some particularly funny thing that happened or maybe pranks that you, you know, do to each other or something?COLIN MORGAN:
Well (unintelligible) of you to come in there probably.BRADLEY JAMES:
No. I was doing exactly the same thing purely because I never come up with a good answer to this question.COLIN MORGAN:
I mean it’s fun on set but it’s naturally good fun. There’s nothing that people pull or try to do to kind of provoke fun. It just is fun on set. And I think that’s testament to kind of the people and both the regulars and the guests that come on. And...
Any bloopers maybe or...BRADLEY JAMES:
Oh yeah. There’s loads of bloopers.COLIN MORGAN:
There’s loads of bloopers. They tend to be all of me messing up my lines. And well that’s about it really. Other people sort of laugh every now and then but it’s pretty much I believe real consisting of me not saying the right thing.
They’re - which are everywhere this year. They’ve really pushed those this year with the various things and whatnot. These (unintelligible) - it’s on the internet. There we go.QUESTION:
How did you both get started in acting?COLIN MORGAN:
For me it’s all I’ve wanted to do. I’ve always wanted to do acting. And so I did local plays and productions and local theater groups and anything that involved it and then going and studying it and attending drama school and getting my first lucky break in theater in London and just kind of went from there.BRADLEY JAMES:
For me I think it was a combination of wanting to impress a girl and - on at the school. And then also there was this - I initially got into it when I must have been about six or seven or something and every Wednesday afternoon in my school these kids used to disappear from lessons. And I would be like, "Where the hell are they going; what am I doing here working my butt off in lessons and they get to disappear and go have fun?" I found out they were doing sort of drama class. And so I was like, "I’m doing that if that’s going to get me out of lessons for Wednesday afternoon."
So it started out with that. And then I think - yeah, it continued - it sort of got reintroduced to me by a certain female who showed an interest. And I said, "Yeah I’m well interested in that; I’ll do that (unintelligible)." And then it took over.QUESTION:
One last question for Colin. Who do you consider a greater enemy for Merlin: Morgause, Morgana or Uther?COLIN MORGAN:
Definitely Morgana. I’m probably a combination of Morgana, Morgause but probably Morgana just purely because of the part she has. Merlin tried to kill her which is the biggest - she’s got this - the biggest dirt on Merlin that anyone does and she’s - she threatens to use that against him.
And again she’s in a position of power. And Merlin’s the only one that knows of what her true power is and how she can use that. So yeah, Morgana definitely.QUESTION:
Colin, there was this plate at the end of one of the episodes that if fans have ever listened to the commentaries they know you were allergic to everything on the plate. It was tomatoes and cheese and chicken. Was that on purpose or was that a joke?COLIN MORGAN:
That wasn’t on purpose. I’m not actually allergic to tomatoes...QUESTION:
Well no, you’re a vegetarian. Sorry.COLIN MORGAN:
Yeah. Yeah. Somebody asked me that earlier on if I was allergic to tomatoes. It was a complete lie too. I’m not.
And I don’t eat chicken. And yeah, I am allergic to dairy products so - but no, that was not intentional that I know of. I could have had the tomato though.
Since when...have you been lactose intolerant?COLIN MORGAN:
Since what?BRADLEY JAMES:
That was -- this is Bradley from no sense whatsoever. There’s a question for Colin. Since when have you been lactose intolerant?COLIN MORGAN:
It’s a bit personal, something like that.BRADLEY JAMES:
That’s new for me. I never knew that. Anyway, sorry. Continue on. My apologies.QUESTION:
You guys always do a sort of behind the scenes thing every year. So the first year [were] the video diaries. And then it was the road trip and the secrets and magic. And this year you guys did a quest. How did that work out? Was there any reasoning...behind? Or did they just put you in a room?BRADLEY JAMES:
I think they just spring it on us each year what they want us to do. And they just chucked us in the room and run to the back of the studio, threw whatever crap they had lying around in it and went oh we’ll make up some challenge and put it behind the scenes footage.
But it’s actually quite fun. I remember sort of dreading that, thinking oh God, what have they cooked up for us here. But then I remember it being quite a lot of fun.