Rest a spell
The break from filming hit series Merlin lets its leads Bradley James and Colin Morgan catch up on sleep.
Now that the winter holidays are here, the two London- based lead actors of hit British TV series Merlin can finally take a breather and catch up on their sleep.
As Bradley James, 28, and Colin Morgan, 25, tell Life! during a joint telephone interview recently, their work schedules have been so busy of late that they are eager for some good old rest.
James plays Arthur and Morgan is the wizard Merlin on the drama Merlin, whose fourth and latest season airs on Diva Universal (StarHub Channel 522) every Monday at 9pm.
James says: ‘I want to get as much sleep as I can during the holidays. Colin and I are on the set kind of all day, every day, because our characters are so heavily involved in the stories that are going on. So by the end of the series, you’re very much looking forward to the days when you can catch up on your sleep.’
Morgan, who says their roles are more physically demanding ‘than you would think’, adds: ‘We are always doing a lot of running through the woods from creatures that aren’t there. There is plenty of horseriding too. You weigh a lot less by the end of the season. It’s good to know that we can rest during the holidays.’
James pipes in with a chuckle: ‘One of the worst things about my role is the costume. I have to wear a lot of chainmail as Arthur and my shoulders get really tired. It’s a good part of the day when I get to take them all off.’
The series, which first premiered in the United Kingdom in 2008, is a fantasy-adventure loosely based on the classic Arthurian legend — the story of power struggles for control of Camelot.
Since its debut, the series has been generally well-reviewed and gained a steady fan following, especially among young adult viewers, which reviewers attribute to the young, good-looking cast.
The Hollywood Reporter wrote that the series ‘is a fresh, and delightfully colour-blind, approach to the tale’, while the New York Times commented that it is ‘a lighthearted, quite charming mediaeval adventure’.
Though the actors have been on the show for four seasons, both James and Morgan deny finding their roles boring to play.
James says: ‘There is no chance of getting sick of the show. We’re always given variety in terms of the development of our characters and the things that we do every day. So we’re challenged on a daily basis.’
Morgan adds: ‘Yes, and when you end up working with the same few cast members all the time, it is actually very fun. We’re always having a bit of a laugh on the set because we’re so comfortable with one another.’
The show’s popularity has also opened more doors for the two breakout stars.
Morgan has started doing film and theatre on top of TV. In the past year alone, he acted in films such as Parked (2010) as a druggie and Island (2011), where he played a reclusive country boy.
Last February, he did a two-month stint at London’s Royal Court Theatre in the black comedy Our Private Life. He says: ‘It’s great being able to get some variety not just in my character on Merlin but variety in medium as well.’
As for James, the floppy-haired blond actor is getting a lot more fan attention on the streets. ‘It’s very flattering that people take the time to come up and say nice things about the show and our work on it. It makes you quite happy with what you’ve been up to.’
Asked if they have had any crazy fan encounters yet, Morgan says in a deadpan manner: ‘I think they’re definitely out there but they’re so good at creeping that we don’t know that they’re there.’
Publish on «The Straits Times», 28 December 2011.