Interview with Tom Hopper, Eoin Macken, Rupert Young, and Adetomiwa Edun of "Merlin" on Syfy - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Knights of the Round Table

Interview with Tom Hopper, Eoin Macken, Rupert Young, and Adetomiwa Edun of "Merlin" on Syfy 1/25/12

Moderator: John Singh January 25, 2012 11:00 AM ET

Operator: Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Merlin Knights of the Round Table Media Call. Today, we have four actors who play the Knights of the Round Table on Merlin Tom Hopper, Eoin Macken, Rupert Young, and Adetomiwa Edun. All lines have been placed on listen-only mode and the floor will be open for your questions later in the call. We now turn over the call to the four Knights of the Round Table, who are joining us from London.

John Singh: Okay. Operator, are you there for questions?

Operator: Yes. I'm here. If you would like to ask a question, you can go ahead and speak at any time. I'll go ahead and open the lines.

Unidentified Participant: (Inaudible.) Hello?

Jeff Renaud: Hello. This is Jeff from Comic Book Resources.

Unidentified Participant: Hello?

Tiffany Vogt: Hi. This is Tiffany Vogt with The TV Addict. How are you guys doing today?

Unidentified Participant: Very good. Thank you. How are you?

Tiffany Vogt: Doing great. Thank you. Thanks for taking our calls. So the first question I wanted to ask is what do you most enjoy about your role?

Tom Hopper: This is Tom speaking. I guess we do quite a lot of physical stuff, which is a lot of fun. We do a lot of fighting and look cool with a sword, which is always a lot of fun.

John Singh: I would just like to say that Adetomiwa and Rupert have joined the floor.

Adetomiwa Edun: Hi. This is Adetomiwa. Yes, I absolutely concur. I'm right behind Tom when he says it's a lot of fun kind of getting stuck in with the action because we've got a couple of good ones in mix in this season.

Eoin Macken: This is Eoin speaking. I concur.

Rupert Young: This is Rupert speaking. What does "concur" mean?

Tiffany Vogt: Okay. Well, for a follow-up question for all four of you, is there anything in the upcoming episodes that the fans should be looking for that you would like them to see?

Unidentified Participant: You should probably look (inaudible) -- you should probably look to see how many hair flicks Eoin Macken does in an episode.

Eoin Macken: This is Eoin speaking, and I think if fans can start the episode where Tom wears anything on his arms, that would be epic.

Tiffany Vogt: Besides young children.

Eoin Macken: (Inaudible) you said that, not me.

Tiffany Vogt: Alright. Thank you, guys.

Unidentified Participant: Thanks.

Unidentified Participant: That was a great response.

John Singh: Hi, guys. This is John Singh from the PR side. I have a question actually I would ask for the whole group, which is did any of you actually watch Merlin before you got cast in Merlin?

Eoin Macken: Yes. This is Eoin speaking. I did because Merlin is a wonderful show and I heard about it so often.

Adetomiwa Edun: This is Adetomiwa speaking. I also did watch Merlin before. Sorry. I've got Eoin Macken here making some extraordinary faces and it's quite distracting.

Eoin Macken: I just want to know what episodes you watched before you were cast.

Adetomiwa Edun: I watched the whole first three seasons.

Eoin Macken: What happened?

Adetomiwa Edun: You want to go through all of it? Okay. Episode one -- because (inaudible) job and I was enjoying it.

Rupert Young: This is Rupert speaking. When you auditioned for the show, you -- normally -- I had a couple of days so I tried to watch as many as I could. So I also watched -- and since being in it, I've watched it even more. (Inaudible crosstalk). My mom makes me.

Tom Hopper: We all now watch the show because we're all narcissistic. This is Tom speaking,

Steve Eramo: Hi, guys. This is Steve Eramo from The Morton Report. I have a question for all of you. Speaking of auditions, I wanted to find out if maybe you could perhaps tell us a little about your initial audition for Merlin and getting started in your respective roles.

Tom Hopper: This is Tom speaking. Basically, I just did a -- when I heard I was going for Percival -- so first of all, I just did a lot of research and then -- in character -- which actually came to not a lot of avail to what they actually decided to do with the character in the show. It was slightly different from what they (inaudible) took on it. But yes, basically the audition consists of -- and I (inaudible) this is the same for the other boys as well -- is that you get your script through and you read it through with the director and if you're right for the part, then they'll give you the offer.

Rupert Young: This is Rupert speaking. When I first auditioned, I was up for two parts. One was the (inaudible) Sir Leon, which I now play. I really was -- and the other was another part who actually died another night. Luckily, they cast me as Sir Leon. Otherwise, I wouldn't be employed anymore.

Unidentified Participant: Would he be dead? Is that --

Rupert Young: And I was only meant to be in a couple of episodes and then they kept (inaudible) back. So I've kind of developed the character with the writers so it's been quite exciting.

Eoin Macken: This is Eoin speaking. I just sent a video being topless in a bed, and that was my audition.

Unidentified Participant: No lie. It's true. Tomiwa, how did you get cast?

Adetomiwa Edun: This is Adetomiwa. I went in, I met with them -- the director of the block that was I was set cast in, and -- yes -- I think (inaudible) in the offices of (inaudible) who made the (inaudible). It seemed to have the desired effect.

Eoin Macken: This is Eoin. I did consider before Merlin I was going to write them letters just asking to be in the show, but I thought (inaudible).

John Singh: And then as a follow-up -- again, for all four of you guys -- can you tell us a little bit about some of the acting challenges you found working on the show, and then also maybe how have you seen your characters sort of grow and develop as you've been playing them out this season?

Rupert Young: This is Rupert speaking. I think -- to answer the second part of your question. What's been quite lovely, or nice, (inaudible) the group of us working together is the right (inaudible) managed to get, the kind of relationship we had off-screen and into their characters. So it was quite nice to get that group dynamic which the writers found and also we found off-screen. So that was really fun.

Eoin Macken: This is Eoin speaking. I think the characters have aggressed since we began and (inaudible) written very well and then we came in and ruined it. So they might have to save it for a really solid ending.

Adetomiwa Edun: This is Adetomiwa speaking for Tom and myself when I say that I think we just agree that -- (inaudible) we beg to differ. With one character (inaudible) --. Personally, one of the challenges I found is shooting in Wales, although I love kind of --

Unidentified Participant: Because you don't like white people.

Adetomiwa Edun: All the stuff out in the forest -- is that it can be quite cold, and I'm definitely solar-powered.

Unidentified Participant: Yes. Sometimes it gets as low as about 10 degrees Celsius down there, so it's really difficult. I (inaudible) with sarcasm.

John Singh: I don't want to take up too much more of your time in case there's someone else to jump in, but I'll just again another question all four of you guys. Loved the season 4 opener. Thought you guys did a terrific job. (Inaudible) in your minds specifically about the filming of the season 4 opener, what maybe you enjoyed most about shooting that 2-parter.

Rupert Young: This is Rupert speaking. First of all, we were -- it was a new -- we were shooting on 35-mm (inaudible) and everything was bigger and better and so it just -- when we were filming, it was us coming back together after being away from each other for a few months and it was the first time the unit of knights were really huge. So it just felt much more exciting and it was just a -- there was an excitement even from day one that it becomes to be a specialty.

Adetomiwa Edun: This is Adetomiwa. Also, it was -- sorry. I beg your pardon.

Eoin Macken: This is Eoin speaking because Adetomiwa has lost his train of thought. I think what was fascinating about the opener was the fact that because it was a much darker tone than the previous series and because we had this great big (inaudible) quest feel and it was all of us together, as Rupert said, going on an adventure, and with the Derocha -- which had a lot of special effects -- it was -- we didn't really know what was going on, which kind of lends to what was happening with the characters. Because you can't see the Derocha and we didn't know what was happening, it kind of -- our confusion was real and that was really great.

Adetomiwa Edun: If Eoin will let me speak -- this is Adetomiwa. What I was trying to -- what I was going to say was that the scale of the first two episodes was massive and we shot in some fantastic locations that were -- that sort of really -- were really evocative and (inaudible) and added to the experience of shooting it, which was a lot of fun.

John Singh: Was it tough with the special effects? I know there was a lot, especially with the Derocha. Was it tough filming with those special effects?

Rupert Young: This is Rupert speaking. I think what's quite interesting is when you're filming them, you don't actually know what you're trying to attack. So if somebody tells you attack from all sides while looking in this general direction and hold a flame, and so you do it to nothing. And so it's not until you actually watch the episode -- you go, "Oh wow, that is actually quite scary."

Eoin Macken: This is Eoin speaking. (Inaudible) working with the Derocha -- when you're acting -- acting is about reacting. You need to react off someone doing something to you. The Derocha don't really give you anything back, so it was hard to act (inaudible).

Rupert Young: This is Rupert. It's like working with Eoin.

John Singh: Well, I have some other questions but I'll step back and let someone else jump in and I'll wait a few minutes. Thanks a lot, guys.

(Inaudible crosstalk)

Crystal Taylor: Great. Crystal Taylor. Are you there?

Unidentified Participant: Hello.

Unidentified Participant: Yes?

Crystal Taylor: Hello. Okay. First question is for Eoin Macken. Being the feisty bad boy, Sir Gwaine seems to have friendships both with Arthur and Merlin and they're kind of different. So I was wondering how Gwaine would describe his friendships with each of them.

Eoin Macken: This is Eoin in response to your question. I think that the initial friendship with Arthur was actually more of a competitive relationship that became a friendship through respect because initially, Gwaine as a character didn't have any time for Arthur because he was royalty. And Merlin was more respectful towards him and they became friends much quicker. But I think as it developed this year, I think that Arthur and Gwaine became much stronger friends, as Arthur did with all the knights, and to virtue of they're fighting battles together so you're fighting side by side. So Merlin and Gwaine haven't been as strong friend-wise because Gwaine doesn't know what actually Merlin does in terms of his magic, so Arthur and Gwaine would fight alongside each other, as alongside Percival and Elyan. And so we -- because we have a stronger bond that way, I think, than -- yes.

Unidentified Participant: Thank you, Eoin.

Crystal Taylor: Okay. Great.

Eoin Macken: Does that answer your question?

Crystal Taylor: Yes. It's for Adetomiwa -- you're Elyan?

Adetomiwa Edun: Adetomiwa.

Crystal Taylor: This series is wonderfully color-blind, and I don't know much about British history but I think that blacks came to England at the same time they came to the US. So when you were discussing creating your character, I wonder whether you were discussing, like, playing a color-blind character or whether they were talking about just making an international type of cast -- a global feel to the knights?

Adetomiwa Edun: I believe that there were some Africans in the UK certainly as far back as (inaudible) at the very least. As for sort of being in this cast, I think -- I don't think there was any intention -- I don't think the thought process was to bring -- I don't think race basically was part of the casting. I was brought in to join the cast as Gwaine's brother, but I think beyond that -- I don't -- and I'm not -- I don't think the series or the show is worried about making any kind of particular statement in that respect. But I guess you might -- yes. That's what -- this is what I believe, yes. I guess you could ask the producers.

Unidentified Participant: But she's not asking were you color-blind, correct?

Crystal Taylor: Okay. That's wonderful. And I was wondering, Rupert, Sir Leon's been around with Arthur for a long time and, for the most part, he would have seen Merlin as Arthur's servant. And now, things have kind of changed, like when you guys were all out being subversive when Morgana was on the throne. So I was just wondering if his picture of Merlin has changed. Have they -- will they become sort of friends? Will they interact? That type of thing.

Rupert Young: I think that with the relationship with Merlin is that because he's been around and he's always at Arthur's side -- as has Leon, in many ways -- they have grown to like each other. However, there's always that status. So I'm always going to be a slightly higher status than Merlin. So we all -- I will -- I think my character and all the knights -- we have a joke with him, we have a laugh with Merlin, but there's always a line, in the same way -- to a point -- but not as much -- as Arthur and Merlin. They -- there's that respect there, but Merlin always knows his place and we've always got to remember that he'll be our friend, but when he needs to be, he is still a servant. (Inaudible.)

Crystal Taylor: Okay. Great. And one little quick question for Tom Hopper. I had asked one of you. We have -- all these pictures are kind of beefcakes. Can you tell us, like, where that photo shoot came from?

Tom Hooper: Oh, the GT -- the Gay Times shoot?

Crystal Taylor: Okay. Yes.

Tom Hooper: Is that -- that's the one you're talking about?

Crystal Taylor: Yes.

Tom Hooper: Yes, we did a shoot for a magazine earlier this year for the promotion of the opening of the series, and we were asked by this magazine to dress in -- well, not a lot -- with swords and shields and stuff, but also making it kind of a fashion thing as well. So yes, we did it. I think that's quite a popular magazine in the UK, so the producers thought it would be a good idea for us to do that. Is that a popular thing over there?

Crystal Taylor: I don't know, but they're great pictures.

Unidentified Participant: It's going to be now.

Crystal Taylor: They're great pictures, so --. Thank you very much.

Unidentified Participant: Thank you.

Unidentified Participant: Thanks.

John Singh: Oh, and it will be a popular thing now.


Crystal Taylor: Especially with us women.

John Singh: Next question?

Tiffany Vogt: This is Tiffany Vogt with The TV Addict again. I was wondering, can we expect to see more about the knights' backgrounds or personal lives, and if not, what can we expect to see more of in the fourth season?

Tom Hopper: I think -- this is Tom -- and I think as the series goes on, there (inaudible) things that happen (inaudible) story (inaudible). I think you don't really get to see that much about our backgrounds because this series very much focuses on the development of Arthur becoming who he's going to be. And I think it's more about the knights being there for him on that journey -- this series. So potentially next series there may be more (inaudible). I think this series is more about us being on the side of Arthur and being there for him on his (inaudible) years.

Adetomiwa Edun: This is Adetomiwa. Yes, adding to what Tom was saying, I think this (inaudible) sort of (inaudible) of this season is quite epic and it focuses on the overarching theme. So like I think you can expect through the evolution of a slightly different Camelot, there are issues raised by Arthur's relationship with Guinevere and things like that are sort of foreground. And I think you do. You get glimpses of the knights, but you see them primarily as actors in a -- or agitators in the formation of this new sort of Camelot.

Eoin Macken: This is Eoin Macken and I agree with everything Adetomiwa said, in general.

Tiffany Vogt: So will we see you fighting more with supernatural beings or with actual people?

Unidentified Participant: Do we prefer? I think you'll see that there's a kind of a nice mix of (inaudible) to the supernatural beings. And then (inaudible) there are (inaudible) actual beings. But no, the supernatural beings are throughout the series as well. You get a whole mix -- something for everyone.

Unidentified Participant: And I think it's kind of 50/50 spread in that regard, like (inaudible).

Unidentified Participant: It's -- we have a lot of really great fight sequences and -- coming up in terms of really epic battles and -- because we can. We have horses and swords and that's what we do.

Tiffany Vogt: And for each of you, what was your favorite scene to do?

Eoin Macken: My favorite scene personally -- this is Eoin Macken -- was myself and Rupert have a really great scene coming up in I think episode 8 -- 7? -- where we're just really interesting. There's an episode that basically mainly focuses on the knights, so I'm sure the fans will look after that because we're pretty brilliant in it. And the scene -- it was quite interesting because a lot more conflict between the knights in terms of creating a different dynamic to our relationship. So I enjoyed a scene with Rupert which we had in the forest which got quite heated and it was fun.

Adetomiwa Edun: This is Adetomiwa. Tom and I did a little bit at the opening of the series which was quite fun, rescuing the children from the Derocha. That was good. And then following on again from what Eoin said, I think that sort of -- if I may call it the knights' episode -- has some really nice stuff -- interplay between us all -- all four of us, which was a lot of fun to do.

Tom Hopper: This is Tom. Certainly my favorite had to be saving the kids with Adetomiwa in episode 1. That was a lot of fun. And saying again really, I think the knights' episode -- which is, I believe, episode 8 of this series -- so I think for all four of us it was a lot of fun to do that though because we all got to get a peek or hint of something that was really on the story line of the episode. So that was a lot of fun.

Rupert Young: Yes. This is Rupert. Same. As I have said, it's the first time we all go out -- (inaudible) often, so there's a -- and it was just nice to -- I think the characters developed a little bit in those, as Eoin said, conflicts and that was the most fun to shoot. The rest were not quite as fun.

Tiffany Vogt: Fantastic. Thank you.

Rupert Young: Thank you.

(Inaudible crosstalk)

Unidentified Participant: I think we're going to leave Rupert to handle that one.

Unidentified Participant: Well, we couldn't quite hear what you were saying. You're -- I think you're breaking up with me.

Tina Charles: Can you hear me?

Unidentified Participant: Yes.

Unidentified Participant: Yes. Go ahead. (Inaudible.)

Tina Charles: Okay. So this is Tina from TV Goodness. I was wondering what kind of feedback do you get from fans about your characters.

Tom Hopper: This is Tom. I think it's varied really. Three of us are on Twitter and you get kind of mixed feedback, which is some girls and guys that, I guess, have an attraction towards them and then I guess there are some that just want to know every single fact about the show. And I think they know more about the show than we do. But generally, the feedback is good. It seems like we have some very nice, loyal fans. It's nice.

Adetomiwa Edun: This is Adetomiwa. Yes, it's really nice. It seems that this show has a really supportive family, which is awesome. I think a lot of girls are very jealous of Eoin Macken's hair. I get a lot of questions about what products he uses -- Pantene Pro-V, I believe.

Unidentified Participant: Head and Shoulders.

Adetomiwa Edun: And Head and Shoulders. Sorry.


Unidentified Participant: Yes, pretty much.

Adetomiwa Edun: And I get asked a lot as well how I feel standing next to Tom's arms, and I always -- as I always tell people, if they'd let me get my arms out, then --

Eoin Macken: This is Eoin Macken. What Tomiwa was talking about is not euphemistic. He's actually being (inaudible) literal. Myself, Rupert and Tom are all on Twitter so we really get interaction with the fans. Adetomiwa doesn't know how to use Twitter. He's not very tech-savvy, but we're trying to teach him. And I think the fans have actually been great. And (inaudible) come to fans to have a chat. And being on Twitter and so forth allows you to engage with someone, and they've all said some -- I've actually learned an awful lot more about Merlin and the show from them because, as Tom said, they do know everything about it. And when we don't pay attention to what's going on, they remind us.

Rupert Young: This is Rupert. I think that's the amazing thing about the fans of the show is it's all age groups. You do see -- there are a lot of children -- that the age goes up to 80. It's a family show and it's -- there are a lot of different people. And so what's interesting is just seeing that dynamic and seeing people around the world who love the show and know the show. It's (inaudible) to be a part of.

Eoin Macken: Yes. It's been -- I can say one more thing. So this is Eoin. It's been genuinely fascinating because Merlin does have such a wide-reaching fan base. It does hit all demographics and you do get people all over the world, which is (inaudible) -- but it is great because you get to see how everyone's got a different subjective take on it from all the different (inaudible) of the world and because we all seem to be connecting with it. It's great. Sorry. Rupert Young is just trying to distract me, but --

Tina Charles: Can you talk about working with Bradley James and Tom Morgan?


Tina Charles: Can you talk about working with Bradley and Colin?


Unidentified Participant: Are they in this show?

Unidentified Participant: Yes. They're great. Obviously, there's -- as you can tell, there's a lot of banter between the boys here and it's all a lot of fun. So having us all together, working with those two -- they (inaudible) what we have joined and it's been great working with those guys on their journey of making the show and it's -- they're good people -- very good actors.

Eoin Macken: This is Eoin. Colin and Bradley -- what's great -- what's actually genuinely great with working on Merlin is the actors on Merlin are all of a really high caliber. They're bringing some great guest stars and so forth like Nathaniel Parker and different people. But the actors on the show are the main (inaudible) -- which is Colin and Bradley and Katie. They often (inaudible) the actors. And Colin and Bradley, in particular, are both brilliant and it is always great working with them. And as people, Colin's Irish and Irish people are generally great, and Bradley's British and that's cool, too. So it's great working with them.

Rupert Young: This is Rupert. I think when you first set up on the show, you can see -- Colin, Morgan and (inaudible) -- they're the hardest-working people I've met. I know it sounds like we're sucking up to them, but they generally are brilliant. The show wouldn't be (inaudible). (Inaudible) work that hard and they're working flat-out for 8 months, and so they make us all raise our game. So it's -- yes, it's a great -- two great people to work with.

Adetomiwa Edun: This is Adetomiwa.

Tina Charles: Great. Thank you.

Adetomiwa Edun: I guess our interaction with them is -- as a group, it's slightly different, like Bradley is very much sort of (inaudible) one of the lads and we have a lot of good times with him, and Colin is just like one of the warmest, nicest sort of most generous people you'll ever meet.

Unidentified Participant: (Inaudible)

John Singh: Operator and group, we have time for one last question from the group.

Unidentified Participant: Can I ask please?

John Singh: Yes, of course.

Unidentified Participant: Hello?

Unidentified Participant: Hi.

Unidentified Participant: Hi. So since you guys are such a diverse group, I was wondering if you could assign superlatives to each other, like who would get -- hello?

Eoin Macken: This is Eoin speaking. I would call Adetomiwa "enigmatic."

Unidentified Participant: Sorry. Could you repeat the question? We missed the question.

Unidentified Participant: -- assign superlatives to your character.

Unidentified Participant: Hello?

Unidentified Participant: Hello?

John Singh: Can you repeat your question real quickly?

Unidentified Participant: Oh, sorry. I was just wondering, since you guys are such a diverse group, if you had to assign superlatives to each other, what would they be?

Eoin Macken: This is Eoin speaking. I would call Adetomiwa "enigmatic" and "superlative."

Tom Hopper: I would call Rupert -- as a character -- as Leon or as Rupert as a person?

Unidentified Participant: I -- either -- whichever works for you.

Tom Hopper: Okay. Rupert -- I would call "Baby."

Adetomiwa Edun: This is Adetomiwa. Tom "Big Guns" Hopper -- I think -- what would I say? (Inaudible.) A good man to have in your corner.

Rupert Young: This is Rupert. I'd call Eoin "confusing." Did you get all that?

Unidentified Participant: Yes I did. Thank you. One more question. Do you guys think you'll ever get a love interest or do you think that Arthur will continue to have a monopoly on the only girl in Camelot?

Unidentified Participant: I was going to say that because I wondered where all the women were. I think Gwen just kind of just got rid of them personally.

Adetomiwa Edun: This is Adetomiwa. Look, I'm sure you know the show is influenced by fan feedback, so if the fans (inaudible) love interests --

(Inaudible crosstalk)

Eoin Macken: There should definitely be more sex scenes.

Rupert Young: That was Eoin Macken.

Eoin Macken: That was Rupert Young.

Unidentified Participant: With an Irish accent.

Eoin Macken: He does a good Irish accent apparently.

John Singh: Well, thank you, everybody, for your time. Thank you for participating and thank you to those who participated for your patience as we got things underway this morning. We will have a transcript available of this call, and now the guys needs to go off to a very fancy awards show wearing their tuxes. Thank you all.

Unidentified Participant: Thank you, America. You're beautiful.

Unidentified Participant: Thank you.

Unidentified Participant: We love you, America.

Unidentified Participant: Thanks a lot.

John Singh: And this ends the conference call, but as I said, we will have a transcript for you. Thank you very much for participating.

Operator: This does conclude today's teleconference. You may now disconnect.

Photo courtesy of 2011 Leigh Kelly/GT/FremantleMedia Enterprises

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