Even though I no longer review Merlin on the regular, being a fan of and blogger about Merlin has been one of the most truly rewarding experiences of my life, which is why I couldn’t say no to an opportunity to interview Bradley James (Arthur) and Katie McGrath (Morgana) one last time.
Alright, well, first of all, I just wanted to say thank you to you guys. This is my second time interviewing both of you, and as a fan you guys have been amazing and wonderful to interview, so thank you so much.
KM: Thank you so much!
Anyways, now for the harder questions …
KM: You were just buttering us up there so we’ll give you good answers, aren’t you?
A little bit! I did really want to thank you, but I had to butter you up a little bit.
KM: [laughs] No, that’s fine, we’re all actors, we like that.
“Let us not go to Camelot,” King Arthur famously said in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, “’tis a silly place.” If this is just as true of the Camelot of Merlin, this is almost entirely due to the resident knights of the round table — Adetomiwa Edun (Elyan), Tom Hopper (Percival), Eoin Macken (Gwaine), and Rupert Young (Leon). The four of them were kind enough to host a “round table” (hyuck, hyuck, hyuck) phone interview and answer a few questions.
What do you most enjoy about your roles?
TH: I get to do quite a lot of physical stuff, which is a lot of fun … I get to do a lot of fighting and look cool with a sword, which is always a lot of fun.
AE: I’m right behind Tom when he says it’s a lot of fun getting stuff in with the action. You’ve got a couple of good ones in this season.
EM: This is Eoin speaking, and I concur.
RY: This is Rupert speaking. What does “concur” mean?
Is there anything in the upcoming episodes that the fans should be looking for that you would like them to see?
TH: You should probably look to see how many hair flicks Eoin Macken does in an episode.
EM: I think you should try to spot the episode where Tom wears anything on his arms. That would be epic.
You mean besides young children.
EM: Wow, you said that, not me!
Yesterday marked the third time I have had the distinct pleasure of speaking with Colin Morgan, who plays Merlin‘s titular character with aplomb, killer instincts, and some supernatural ability to give you one look with his blue eyes that suddenly makes you feel emotions you were previously unaware existed on the human spectrum of feelings. And while I can always wax poetic about what a nice young man he is (seriously, well done on his mother) or paraphrase what he said, what’s the fun in that? You’ve all shown a marked preference for hearing it straight from the man himself, and frankly, I don’t blame you. And so, without further ado, I present to you Colin Morgan on character growth, his relationships with Arthur, Morgana, and Gaius, guest stars, and a few teasers for this Saturday’s finale.
Before Community, you might have known Yvette Nicole Brown as “that lady who shows up in a lot of commercials,” or “Dwight’s mean Staples co-worker”, or maybe even as Helen from Drake & Josh, if you were born sometime after 1990. But now Yvette Nicole Brown is most definitely best known for her role as Shirley on Community, the group’s cloying, motherly conscience, always at hand with her omnipresent purse and a high-pitched, “Oh, that’s nice!” But what’s really nice is that Yvette was willing to sit down with us and discuss all aspects of her role as Shirley — from favorite episodes, to her religion, to love interests — and much, much more.
While a fair number of conference call interview opportunities come up around CliqueClack and I tend to take my share of them, none are half so exciting as whenever an e-mail comes through that some of the cast of Happy Endings is going to be on the other end of the line — this time it was Zach Knighton (Dave) and Adam Pally (Max). It becomes clear very quickly that the comedy on the show doesn’t just come from the writing room, but from the actors themselves. All of them come from a strong comedy/improv background (except, Knighton points out, himself), but Pally estimates that about 50% of the show stays as is written, and 50% comes from riffs on the spot, with Knighton improvising just as much as any of the cast members. Dave’s song from the season 2 premiere, “Love Times Love to the Power of Love,” for instance, had lyrics created by staff writer Matthew Libman, but the melody and performance was all Knighton.
Knighton and Pally were both eager to spill on upcoming guest stars, the likes of which include Rob Riggle and Saturday Night Live castmember Bobby Moynihan. And Happy Endings has already boasted fabulous guest stars this season like Megan Mullally, Fred Savage (who has also guest-directed), Brent Musburger, and Larry Wilmore.
“I think we’re still begging friends,” Pally says. “I’d like to say that there’s a big rush of Hollywood trying to sign up. But basically any guest star that you’ve seen is a friend of ours.”
“But we begged a lot of friends to do it and they haven’t done it,” Knighton points out.
“Yes,” agrees Pally. “So it’s all our friends that have turned us down. The rest are real assholes.”
When Eliza Coupe and Damon Wayans Jr. were asked how they keep themselves from laughing during takes of their sitcom Happy Endings, Coupe was more than happy to spill her secrets. “I keep a knife in my pocket at all times and just stab myself at all times when I’m going to laugh,” she said. “And it gets a little bloody, it’s a little weird. But I’m stabbing my leg during most of the show. So I developed gangrene in my right leg, but it’s fine. I’m cool with it.”
“I have a little needle that I keep in my skivvies,” Wayans said. “And when I’m about to laugh, right to the urethra, you know what I mean?”
“Yeah, my leg’s about to be amputated soon,” Coupe sighed. “But you know, it’s worth it because I keep a straight face.”
When the character of Morgana took a much darker turn for Series 3 of Merlin, Katie McGrath, the actress who plays her, was concerned about fan reaction. Namely — that they wouldn’t like her anymore. Luckily for her, she says, she’s not recognized much. “I haven’t had anybody throw vegetables at me,” she laughed. “I haven’t made any children cry or tell me I tried to kill Merlin.”