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Merlin : Series 5, J-1 – 4 interviews + 2 videos

5 interviews des acteurs pour fêter la veille du grand jour !!

4 interviews des acteurs pour fêter la veille du grand jour !!

J-1 : le grand jour est pour demain ! Toujours pour patienter : hier je postait une nouvelle interview de Colin Morgan (Merlin) aujourd’hui je vais être quatre fois plus généreuse (enfin c’est surtout la BBC qui est généreuse :p) avec pas moins de quatre nouvelles interviews des différents acteurs de la série ! Dans l’ordre vous trouverez juste en dessous : Bradley James (Arthur), Angel Coulby (Gwen), Katie McGrath (Morgana) et Alex Vlahos (Mordred) qui nous parlent de cette 5ème saison… plus deux petites vidéo bonus tout en bas, que je vous laisse la surprise de découvrir ;).

Interview Bradley James (Arthur)

Why has Merlin struck a chord with audiences all over the world?
The Arthurian legend relates to all nations, not just our own. This version of Merlin also connects with viewers everywhere because of the gripping way in which the creators have told the story. That’s been really refreshing and has offered viewers tremendous escapism. The stories translate wherever you are in the world – as long as the dubbing is good! I’ve seen a few versions in different languages, and some of them are quite funny. In Italian, we all sound like characters from The Godfather, while in the French version we all sound rather effeminate. And I sound really quite angry in Japanese!

What is going on at the beginning of series five?
There has been a three-year gap in Camelot since the last series, and Arthur has had four years as King. He has a very good relationship with his new Queen Guinevere and has settled into the role. The land is prosperous and in a good place. But of course, harmony doesn’t make for good drama, so in this series we tell the story of how Morgana suddenly turns up and starts rocking the boat.

How does the relationship between Arthur and Morgana unfold?
Arthur is more prepared to deal with her this time – he is not a rookie anymore. They have the relationship of a brother and sister who have seriously fallen out. He used to look out for her, but now she has turned to the dark side in the most dramatic fashion. However, Arthur still holds out some hope that he can bring her back to her senses and that they can get back to the way they were. It’s like when someone falls ill; you find yourself clinging onto the smallest amount of hope they will be the same again – “maybe one day they’ll come back”. That’s how I have been describing it myself when I been doing scenes with Morgana. If he could save Morgana, he would jump at the opportunity. But he can’t because she’s gone little bit psychotic and passed the point of no return. So as always, Arthur must concentrate on his primary responsibility, which is to defend Camelot.

Where is Arthur’s relationship with Merlin at the moment?
Throughout the show, that relationship has been something that has worked really well. The fans have really responded to it, and in turn the producers have built it up – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Why do people love that relationship so much? I think that if you have someone in your life with whom you really get on and with whom you go through a series of quite extreme events, you truly bond with that person. Viewers watch it and think, “I’d like to have a friend like that”.

Can you expand on that, please?
In Merlin, Arthur has a very loyal friend who keeps him on his toes. Arthur enjoys those challenges, and there is a lot of great banter between them. Meanwhile, in Arthur, Merlin has a friend he can really rely on. Merlin knows that when it comes the crunch Arthur will always do the right thing. Arthur is a great man to have by your side in a crisis. They also have a great rapport and enjoy each other’s company – despite not admitting that! The fact that Arthur always brings Merlin along on the most dangerous missions without any chainmail shows how much he needs him. Merlin never says, “Shouldn’t I be wearing armour? I’m completely ill-prepared for this mission.” He just accepts it, as he has been doing it for years. People really identify with their relationship. They think, “If I had someone like that in my life, I’d be very happy indeed.”

What element of the series have you most enjoyed?
My favourite part of filming is the stunts. We have just filmed a battle scene with 10 stuntmen, and that was a lot of fun. They are great guys to be around – they have terrific ideas and freshen things up. It’s such a thrill to work with them. You know all these stuntmen could beat you up without batting an eyelid. But when we do these scenes, you pull out all these flashy moves and they conveniently take a dive, and you come out of it looking brilliant! I’ve always been into athletics – that’s a big part of who I am. So it’s such a bonus to have these stunts as a major aspect of playing Arthur.

Finally, how do you reflect on the experience of playing King Arthur thus far?
This is the role I been waiting for all my life. Because of the nature of King Arthur and the resonance he has not only with within the UK, but right around the world, I have found it a huge honour to play the part. I will look back on it very fondly and be very proud to have been King Arthur when I finally hang up the chain mail!

Interview Angel Coulby (Gwen)

Please describe where Guinevere is at the start of the fifth series.
Having married Arthur, she’s now Queen and is taking the role very, very seriously. She’s become the Queen I always thought she would be. She has all the characteristics for the role. She is innocent, strong, humble but noble. She possesses that a great humanity, kindness and love, but at the same time she’s not afraid to stand up and say what she thinks. She’s very honest because she has realised that quality is very important in her new role. However, she can also be quite ruthless as she is fiercely protective of Arthur and the kingdom. She has to make decisions which are quite harsh, but they are all done in the name of defending the ones she loves.

How would you characterise her relationship with Arthur now?
Arthur has changed and become much more responsible. He now takes much more notice of his heart – he’s not ashamed of his emotions anymore. Guinevere has deep respect for him. They work together very well and make a really good team. He confides in her and respects her opinion.

How does Guinevere get on with Merlin?
They’re still very good friends. He knows that she is Queen and he must respect that, but they’re still good mates. She approves of Merlin’s influence on Arthur. All the same, she would never want to get in the way of Merlin’s relationship with Arthur. She appreciates that they have a “bromance” and she enjoys their bantering. Arthur and Merlin take care of each other, but they’re also quite happy to mock each other. She doesn’t want to put a stop to that.

What is the jeopardy in this series?
It’s the ever-present threat of Morgana. People in Camelot always fear her because she is a grave danger to Arthur. Guinevere is less worried for her own safety and more concerned for Arthur and the kingdom. It’s painful having to live with that constant threat. You have to be always on your guard, aware that at any moment Morgana could just turn up and cause immense problems. Be afraid of Morgana, be very afraid!

Why does the series appeal in more than 180 countries?
From the very first episode of the very first series, I remember thinking that I felt a lot of affection for these characters. I was not alone. Viewers immediately liked them. They have been very well drawn. Also, the Arthurian legend has been often retold in so many different ways down the centuries. It’s a story that has really stood the test of time. It’s full of intrigue, magic and fantasy. At its heart, the show has this great leader in Arthur. We would all like to be led by someone so brave and chivalrous and with such a good heart. In addition, the series looks tremendous. The CGI is absolutely fantastic.

Why do you think the fantasy genre so popular right now?
People like to get lost in magic. In recent times, Harry Potter was one of the first big things that did that. You can lose yourself in a magical world because it’s so different from the world we normally live in. Also, as a writer, you can go anywhere and do anything. It’s exciting to be able to venture beyond the realms of everyday life. Immersing yourself in that is a very attractive prospect. Viewers love a bit of escapism.

Do you get a kick out of Merlin’s legions of fans all over the world?
Absolutely. The fans are been with us from the very beginning. They’ve enjoyed watching it grow and have stayed with us. Their numbers have increased dramatically over the years. When we first went to the chateau in France, we were met by four German girls sitting on a wall – I don’t know how they knew we were coming! Now it’s really exciting because hundreds of fans turn up to watch the filming. When you’re going off to a studio in Cardiff, you can forget about the fans. But in France, you can’t avoid them. It can be a little overwhelming sometimes. But it’s a real compliment because they’re so excited to see us, so you always have to smile. It doesn’t pay to get annoyed. We only exist because of them. They’re very friendly and they always tell you how much they love the show.

Finally, why do you think Merlin continues to be such a hit?
The show is a fundamentally fun watch – you can escape for an hour into this fantasy world and forget about all your daily worries. I’d certainly be a fan of it, if I wasn’t in it!

Interview Katie McGrath (Morgana)

Please tell us what is occurring with Morgana at the start of series five.
In series 4, you still had vestiges of an uncertain, unconfident Morgana. She still had Agravaine there for support. Now in series 5 she is on her own, and entirely in control. She’s the boss. She’s become extremely powerful, a force to be reckoned with.

How would you characterise Morgana’s campaign against Arthur?
It’s a plea for tolerance. She’s misunderstood. The problem is that the story is told from Merlin’s point of view. If it was told from Morgana’s point of view, it would be fine. I think they should rename the series! I think we need a new show called Morgana!

So do you enjoy playing this new dark version of Morgana?
Absolutely. I have played her good side and her bad side, and her bad side gets all the best lines! There is such richness to be found in badness. She’s extremely manipulative – which I love! And she uses people to her own ends – which I also love!

Do you regard her as an out and out baddie?
No. A lot of people say to me, “She’s so evil”. I’m not sure whether to take that is a compliment, but I don’t agree with it. No actor can play a villain if they don’t sympathise with him or her – otherwise the character just becomes a two-dimensional caricature. I believe that Morgana is right. I’ve had lots of arguments with Colin and Bradley about this – “Colin, if Merlin had just stepped in and helped Morgana in series two, none of this would have happened. It’s all your fault!” I think she’s doing it for the right reasons. I don’t think she’s selfish. She simply doesn’t want to live in fear of being exposed as a magician. She knows that, sister or no sister, Arthur would put her to death on the spot if he ever found out she had magic powers.

Why do you think Merlin has chimed to such an amazing degree with international audiences?
It’s a universal story. It’s about good and evil. The legend is very well-known, but our spin on it is that people have to deal with who they are. It’s about acceptance and growing up. Also, the show has brilliant characters. They have really matured over the five series, and their relationships are so intriguing. Viewers relate to these characters. What captures their imagination is thinking how they might react in similar situations. I’m sure people would want to be like Morgana – and not just for her fantastic costumes!

Do you enjoy shooting in the French chateau that stands in for Camelot?
Yes. You can’t minimise the effect of that place. It puts everything in context. It sounds trite, but every time I see the chateau, I’m reminded of the magic of this show. It’s a public moment because there are always a lot of fans there. But that’s a good thing because it makes me realise how much people love the show.

Do you appreciate the fans of the show?
Absolutely. We get fan mail from all over the world, from China, Turkey, Germany and Canada – and that makes you see how far the show has travelled. It also makes us realise what we’ve managed to achieve. I get sent lots of jewellery by fans, and that’s absolutely lovely. The boys get sent stranger things! Bradley got a whole set of knives from Romania through the post, while Colin got a giant one and a half foot long chocolate egg from Australia. If you can believe it, it arrived intact! That just goes to demonstrate the worldwide success of the show

Do you feel there are loads of new places to take this show?
Definitely. There is a wealth of Arthurian legends, and we haven’t told 10 per cent of them yet. As long as there is the desire to do it, I don’t see why it shouldn’t continue. I would be very happy to carry on as Morgana. I don’t want to let her go until her story has been fully told. I wouldn’t do that disservice to her. I’m hanging in there until she’s done. They’re not getting rid of me that easily!

Finally, would you fancy hanging out with Morgana?
No! I don’t think she’d be much fun. I couldn’t imagine going on holiday with her. She can’t relax. I can’t see her trying to chill out by the pool with a Cosmopolitan!

Interview Alex Vlahos (Mordred)

Where do we find Mordred at the beginning of the fifth series?
We pick up with him at the beginning of the series, and see that he’s older than that when we last met him – I’ve taken over the role from that excellent young actor Asa Butterfield. Mordred is still a druid, but now he is very ambiguous. You never quite know where his allegiances lie…

Can you please expand on his ambiguity?
Mordred is not as straightforward as people think – he is far more intricate and complicated than that. “What’s he going to do now?” – that’s the question I keep asking. He is loyal, but to whom?

Is he reunited with Morgana?
Yes. Mordred hasn’t seen her for eight years. The last time he saw her, she was a girly princess in a green frock. He’s been searching for her for six months and expecting the motherly figure he left behind who looked after him as a boy. So when he first finds her, he is over the moon. His emotions get the better of him, and he is overjoyed that the mission is complete.

How do things pan out then?
He’s soon taken aback to discover what Morgana has become. She loses her rag and turns on him. He’s really shocked by this woman in front of him. She has grown up – her life experiences have changed her into someone completely different. Mordred has been on a quest to find Morgana. I think when it’s finally realised, the audience will expect big hugs all around, but in typical Merlin fashion, expectations are immediately flipped on their head.

So how does Mordred feel about Morgana now?
Beforehand, he was 100 per cent loyal to her. Now he has seen how she has changed, one per cent of doubt enters his mind, and things begin to unravel. Once you lose trust in someone so close, it’s hard to get that back. That scintilla of doubt clouds his relationship with Morgana. That’s the arc of this amazing series.

Where do Mordred’s loyalties lie?
He’s torn. He’s caught in the middle of Arthur and Morgana. They are two people pulling in opposite directions. And he’s the rope in between them. He’s like the child of divorced parents.

Why has Merlin been such an international success?
The show has been hit all over the world because it provides fantastic escapism. Its origins may be very British, but its appeal is worldwide. Like Game of Thrones, it taps into an audience that loves to lose themselves in another world. People like nothing better than getting away from their own lives by immersing themselves in a fantasy drama.

Why has this particular legend endured for so long?
Because it has all the elements required for a great story. It has great battle scenes and a wonderful love story. It’s also a family show that has stood the test of time. It is a story that just been waiting for someone to put it on TV. It’s a tale that has been dipped in gold!

Merlin S5 | Episode 05.01 ‘Arthur’s Bane – part 1’ [preview clip]

What are you looking forward to in Season 5? | Merlin

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