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Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Dark Secrets of Camelot


King Arthur.  This is one of the many literary masterpieces that my father introduced to me when I was young.  Indeed, I grew up with the story of King Arthur, whether it's an animation, a live action movie or a mini series in television.  And I guess I won't be able to forget my dad's legacy as King Arthur is really a timeless and favorite storyline not only for film makers but for us spectators too.

And a couple of days ago, I was able to have this chance to attend the exclusive bloggers screening of AXN Beyond's Camelot at My Cinema in Greenbelt 3.  My special thanks goes to Azrael Coladilla, AXN Beyond and Publicity Asia.

Camelot boasts of an stellar cast led by rising star Jamie Campbell Bower (Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, The Twilight Saga: New Moon) as the young Arthur, critically acclaimed actress Eva Green (The Golden Compass, Casino Royale) portraying the role of key antagonist Morgan, theater veteran Joseph Fiennes (FlashForward, Shakespeare in Love) as the sorcerer Merlin and up and coming British actress-model Tamsin Egerton (St Trinian’s, Keeping Mum) reprising the role of Guinevere, the lady love of King Arthur.

Photo shows the cast of Camelot (from left): Peter Mooney as Arthur's adoptive brother and loyal knight, Tamsin Everton as Guinevere, Joseph Fiennes as Merlin, Eva Green as Morgan and Jamie Campbell Bower as Arthur.

The pilot episode began when turmoil spread in Camelot with the death of King Uther Pendragon.  Sorcerer Merlin failed to arrive on time to save the dying king.  He, however, had a vision of another evil happening in the kingdom compelling him to install to the throne Uther's secret son, Arthur, who was hidden at birth and brought up as commoner to be saved from danger.  Merlin brought back Arthur to the castle but a deadly situation awaits them as Morgan, the young king's beautiful but merciless half sister, with the aid of dark magic and an alliance with the kingdom's arch nemesis, raged war to claim the thrown.  The pilot ended there teasing the viewers with a lot of possible intriguing twists in the succeeding episodes.

First of all, the use of the storyline of King Arthur is a surefire thing, craft it well and the film maker will be part of a timeless classic.  But make a mistake and he will feel the wrath of the tale's followers.  And with what I witnessed in the pilot episode, I see a bright future for the said mini series.  At first, I thought there's nothing more to the King Arthur story but Camelot injects an interesting and intriguing twist in the timeless epic that we grew up with.  It comes with a dark and spell binding spin on the medieval legend that was never told.  First, Arthur was an illegitimate son but a true heir to the throne.  Second, Merlin is not an old man with long white beard but a warrior like man who holds all the secrets of the castle.  Third is the rivalry between kins that will spark the war in Camelot.  This is just from the first installment so I guess we can expect a lot more secretes revealed in the next episodes.


With $50 Million production budget and 400 cast and crew members involved, the team behind Camelot would not go wrong recreating the medieval time for the series.  Camelot was shot amid stunning scenery in County Wicklow, Ireland, including on location at the stately Luggala Castle and the magnificent Powerscourt Estate.


Eva Green and Joseph Fiennes are perfect for their roles and they bring a lot of spice to the characters of Morgan and Merlin respectively.  I am just not sure if Jamie Campbell Bower's portrayal of King Arthur is something of a transition from a commoner surprised and overwhelmed with his new role as a king.  If his character demands that he starts as a weakling before he becomes "kingly", then Jamie is doing a good job. I just do hope that his character will transform soon enough.  Another part of the cast is Arthur's birth mother Igraine, played by English actress Clair Forlani (Meet Joe Black), and I believe she is superb in drawing the emotion of a woman who lost a husband, a queen persecuted and sent to exile and a mother deprived of loving her son.


Camelot will have a simulcast across Asia in the same week as its US telecast, considered to be the first on AXN Beyond. The  10-part series is created by British screenwriter Michael Hirst, the man behind such works as The Tudors and movie Elizabeth: The Golden Age, and penned by Chris Chibnall of Torchwood and Life on Mars fame.


Inpired from Thomas Malory’s literary classic ‘Le Morte d’ Arthur’, Chibnall revealed that viewers of Camelot will not miss out what the King Arthur story is known for: the ‘sword in the stone’, the ‘Lady of the Lake’, and the beginnings of the Round Table – but none will be like what have been done before.

So again, if you think you have seen it all about King Arthur, maybe it's time to think again and forget all you know.  With all the elements of a world-class epic production, Camelot promises an experience beyond your imagination as the kingdom's darkest secrets are revealed this April in AXN Beyond.

Camelot premiers on April 4, 2011 in the same week of its US debut.  It airs on Monday, 9 PM in Singapore, Malaysia, The Philippines and Hong Kong and 8 PM in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Behind the Scene during the Blogger Screening:

VJ Kat Alano and Amazing Race Asia winner Rich Herrera acted as Morgan and King Arthur respectively while hosting the bloggers screening of Camelot at My Cinema in Greenbelt 3.

Inside My Cinema in Greenbelt 3


Launched in January 2008, AXN Beyond is the destination channel for high-octane, edgy entertainment for young adults and the young at heart. With a unique blend of drama, reality shows and movies that constantly question the boundaries of reality and stretch the limits of the imagination, AXN Beyond speaks to those who believe there is more to life than what they have been told. AXN Beyond’s programming features rebels with attitude, alternate realities, and the wonders of possible futures, making it the destination channel for entertainment beyond the ordinary, beyond reality, and beyond the imagination.

AXN Beyond is wholly owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, and managed by SPE Networks – Asia, which also operates cable channels AXN, Animax, Sony Entertainment Television, and ONE. More information about AXN Beyond can be found at www.axnbeyondasia.com.


  1. An untold story about King Arthur, a must-see TV series today.


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