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An observant critic while watching the trailer for Starz’ “Camelot” at TCA noticed that James Purefoy is in the show. And, sure enough, showrunner Chris Chibnall confirms the actor, who was so fantastic in HBO’s “Rome,” has joined the cast. Purefoy will play King Lot, who’s described as not a very nice guy, and is also not a series regular.*
The trailer (which won’t be available online for awhile) looks gritty and earthy, violent and sexy, as you might expect. Also, far more naturalistic and not as extreme as “Spartacus.”
Star Joseph Fiennes, who plays the ancient wizard Merlin, says that while the series will contain magic elements, it won’t be a driving element in the story.
“The magic lies in the political essences of the piece,” Fiennes said. “Yes, there will be in dark arts — you’ll see things disappearing and changing shape, but it’s really about the birth of a legend. It’s [a land where] power is given to the wrong individuals, a country split by war and greed … and the assent of a pure king and noble minds.”
Fiennes said he has pictures of Obi Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker on the wall of his dressing room to remind him of the relationship between Merlin and young Arthur, along with a pic of Willy Wonka.
“Merlin is a cross between Obi Wan Kenobi and Donald Rumsfeld,” he said.
As for how much ground the show will cover in the first season, “We have a grand plan,” Chibnall said. “We’re starting right from the birth of Arthur … we’re doing our version of the sword in the stone this week … and it’s not like any other version you’ve seen.”
Fiennes was asked about the demise of his last series, ABC’s “FlashForward,” which had a long midseason hiatus that some blamed for the show having trouble finding its footing with viewers.
“It’s like I went through a series of blackouts,” Fiennes said, drawing laughs, “and ended up in a Celtic countyside. It’s a topsy turvey world, isn’t it? It was hugely ambitious and it’s sad about it being taken off air for so long … We didn’t pull it off. There’s an upside working with Starz — I’m loving that there’s no commercial breaks, and you have to do that thing [gives a suspenseful look] right before you break and have to hold that closeup … you dont have to interrupted or patronized with commercial breaks.”
*Yes, Purefoy is listed on IMDB and elsewhere, but the casting, oddly, hasn’t been previously announced …
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