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TCA Press Tour: The magic of Starz's new series 'Camelot' is in the 'political essence'

August 7, 2010 | 11:08 am

Fiennes Obe-Wan Kenobi meets Donald Rumsfeld?

Don’t worry. There’s no “Star Wars” mash-up in the making. The pairing is simply how Joseph Fiennes would describe his latest character, Merlin, in the upcoming Starz series “Camelot.”  No, really. He even has images of Luke Skywalker and Obe-Wan in his dressing room to remind him of the relationship Merlin has with King Arthur. (No word if Rumsfeld is also adorning the wall.) But that’s where many of the similarities stop between the new series and “Star Wars.”

Special effects are kept to a minimum.

“I think the magic really lies in the political essence of the piece,” Fiennes said. “Yes, we’ll see people changing shape and disappearing … [Camelot] is about where the power lies, rather than slaying dragons.”

The series takes a look at the Arthurian legend and imagines how the tales we’ve all read about in our history books might have come about.

“We’re trying to figure out what might be the truth that lies behind the myth -- if you or I were there in the Dark Ages, what could have been the events that contributed to these myths,” said series writer Chris Chibnall.”We’re excavating what it might have been like to live there.”

And who else can we expect to find living there? Why, none other than James Purefoy! For fans who enjoyed his performance as Marc Antony in HBO’s “Rome,” there’s more Purefoy coming to a screen near you. He’ll play King Lot, an enemy of Arthur, in the new series so he won't be very nice, Chibnall said.

“Camelot,” which premieres in the spring, will follow the legend from the birth of Arthur and beyond.   Production will start next week on this latest version of the sword and the stone, and Chibnall promises it’s “not like any version you’ve seen.”

What do you think ShowTrackers?

-- Yvonne Villarreal
twitter.com/villarrealy

Photo: Joseph Fiennes. Credit: Associated Press

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