Gorgeous actor Jamie Campbell Bower stopped by for a chat with InStyle about all things Camelot and his future plans...
WATCH JAMIE IN ACTION HERE
You play Arthur in Camelot - did you do a lot of research for the role?
I did a bit of research. Above and beyond anything I wanted this character to be real and to be a boy so what it really boiled down to was what experience can I draw from my own life that will make this character real and they wanted to modernise it in a way. People forget that this character may not have actually existed, there’s no factual evidence that he was even born, so while you can draw on literature, most of it is historical and includes possible facts about battles - not so much about the man, so watching someone else’s portrayal of that character doesn’t really help.
You’re working with an incredible cast, is there anyone who you've particularly learnt from?
I suppose myself and Joseph [Fiennes], because of the characters and because of who Joseph is naturally as a person who just so happens to be really really nice and lovely. I suppose just being able to watch the way that he works and watch his method and his technique, and the same with Eva [Green] as well. That’s the learning curve. Do I go up to them and ask? Not really because I’ve never really done that at work.
My experience with directors is that they will always encourage you to do something in a different way or get you to push yourself further. That’s their job and you have to listen to them and put your trust in them.
As Arthur you do quite a lot of sword fighting, did you have special training?
Yeah, we did a month of bootcamp prior to shooting which involved horse riding and sword fighting every day.
Was there a particular technique that you had to learn with the sword fighting?
At the beginning it was very choreographed, but what we were looking for was the fact that this kid is not particularly skilled swordsman throughout the first half of the series and then come episode nine and 10 you get to see how good he's become. As we continued to shoot the show, that’s what was happening. We were getting better so we started choreographing our own fights and working through that rather than having a stunt team choreograph them with us.
And had you ridden a horse before?
I had. I rode on my second job which was a crazy Dutch film and then I rode on this film called Anonymous which I did with Roland Emmerich.
How did you find the costumes, did you have much input into what you wore?
Joan Bergin [the costume designer on Camelot] is an incredible woman - who has won Emmys for her work [including costumes on The Tudors]. She is super, super talented.
I did have a lot of input into what I wore. We started off with very earthy natural tones, browns and blues, and then I said: “Why don’t we get into heavy blacks and greys as the series progressed,” and the character got darker, which we did.
We did that with the make-up as well, to just mess himself up a bit as the series continued. At the end of the series, we were doing lots of interesting things with eye make-up and making the lids and around the eyes dark and black, then putting red pencil along the inside of the eye and smudging that in, adding a lot of blood and dirt on the face as well, which really helped to show the progression of this character.
You and Tamsin Egerton - who plays Guinevere - share some quite steamy scenes, how did you find this?
I’ve known Tamsin since I was nine, we went to local youth theatre together, so we knew and trusted each other. It’s always a difficult situation to be in though for anyone because it’s very emotionally draining. But if you’re comfortable with the other person and they’re comfortable with you then it does make it easier. It’s not the most natural thing to do in the world by any means, with lots of cameras and but it helps if you know and trust the person. That was a plus side.
This is a major lead for you, do you feel like this has been the key highlight of your career so far?
Every job, to me, has really meant something. Would it be the highlight of my career? I’m not sure. I don’t think I have a highlight of my career so far. I suppose what you look at is as is, job to job. It was a life experience, as is everything that you do. That’s what I was trying to get out of it and I did. I had a wonderful time playing with swords and riding horses with my boys for six months!
A lot of your roles seem to be quite fantastical - Harry Potter, Twilight, even Sweeney Todd, would you like to do a role that was just simply a guy living now?
If it was a good story I would jump at the chance, it just so happens that most things that I’ve done has been that sort of supernatural role. But that’s because it’s a good story. I’ve just got a new project, which is a fantasy series, so for the near future it's all fantastical.
You’ve been in both Harry Potter and Twilight, was it a different experience on each set?
Every job is different. My time on Harry Potter was very, very short, whereas my time on Twilight was quite long and extended. Every job brings a new life experience. I was able to come back home when I was in Potter, whereas when I was in Twilight I was out in Baton Rouge and Vancouver for five months together. Every job should just bring something new and exciting and should help you grow.
Who would win the battle between team Twilight and team Potter?
Now, I got asked this question the other day, but if it was just the two leads – Edward vs Harry. I said Edward would win in that situation, because once you get the wand out of Harry’s hand, he’s dead. But, you’ve thrown a new dynamic into it because if it was a team battle, honestly then, I don’t know. I probably have to say the vampires again, they do move at super speed but the other guys have wands and you can stand back, you don’t have to get so close. Who knows? It’s a debate that philosophers have been thinking about for years now!
You’re known for your off-screen style. What would be your top wardrobe staples?
Cos T-shirts - always Cos T-shirts. Big, black, baggy tees and skinny black jeans with holes in them, either bought with holes or grown naturally. But then you get the hole in the crotch and nobody wants to see that, that’s the worst.
Who would you like to work with in the future?
There’s loads of people I’d love to work with, crikey! I’d love to work with Cate Blanchett. But maybe I wouldn’t like to act with her, maybe I’d like to just stand or be a camera man or a grip because I don’t think I’d be up to her standard. But I’d love to watch her work in a very visual way. Who else? I’d love to work with Tim Burton again, now that I’m older and wiser and ask him more questions.
The first series of Camelot is now available to buy on DVD from Entertainment One - we're buying ours now!