Not many of us can say we have king-like qualities let alone get to play one of the most famous Kings on television but Bradley James shot to stardom playing King Arthur on the vastly successful show ‘Merlin’, now available on Netflix. He has co-starred in the Underworld franchise and starred as the title character in A+E’s ‘Damien’ (sequel to ‘The Omen’), with appearances in ‘iZombie’ & ‘Homeland’ to name but a few.
We had a special opportunity to chat with the delightful British actor over ZOOM on life and career and the first thing you notice is he has that special British charm. At the time of this interview I was the 1st to see Bradley’s home self-quarantine haircut and he had done pretty well. “People smarter than I will figure out the best way for us to adapt but there will be a period where people won’t be rushing to be in a packed cinema. I believe there is potential for some very innovative adjustments to come out of this” says Bradley when asked how he sees the movie industry moving forward after COVID-19. Though most projects are on hold during these unusual times press and other things are still happening, just not in the traditional way.
Bradley first fell in love with acting as a kid and now feels very fortunate to be able to call that passion his occupation. The first time he took to acting was as a six year old when classmates were disappearing to drama class “I couldn’t believe that these kids were getting out of class while I was having to stay, so I had to find out how they were doing it. Turns out they were disappearing off to drama class” says Bradley. “Then in high school the girl I fancied was looking at the sign up sheet for the school play and so I signed up, but soon I’d forgotten about her and was back into acting” He later attended drama school at ‘The Drama Centre’ in London. Affectionately known as ‘Trauma Centre’, here he started to understand the craft required to nurture his passion.
He’s been filling his pandemic isolation time with reading, cleaning every inch of his home, workouts with make shift gym equipment and painting miniature soccer players gifted to him by his parents when he was young. A huge Arsenal football (soccer) fan, he is suffering during this shutdown with no action. He has recently reached out to his fan base by doing Youtube videos and IGLives. Some of these have included guest appearances by former cast-mates. According to Bradley “I’m a huge technophobe so these platforms scare me. I am the guy that you will explain the exact steps to and I will inadvertently somehow find a flaw so it won’t work.” “I am the one guy that can take a simple problem to the Apple store genius bar and they will start scratching their heads saying that they have never seen anything like this before,” laughs Bradley.
He shot the series ‘Damien’ in Toronto and was amazed at the extreme winter cold. He would later become involved with Redemption Paws, a Toronto-based charity for homeless dogs from all over North America. In April, all the way from England, Bradley hosted an Zoom event for the charity and helped raise over $15,000 for them–not bad for a technophobe.
“When you are Ryan Reynolds or Chris Hemsworth you can pick and choose your roles as many are thrown at you. At my current level you have to box clever. You have to be strategic with your choices when they present themselves.”
His latest role, as Felix Sparks in the Netflix series ‘The Liberator’, is set to come out hopefully before the end of 2020. It is a WWII drama based on the book by Alex Kershaw. “The visual effects will be something the audience has never seen before. I remember the first time I saw ‘300’ and the visual impact it delivered. I believe this has the potential to have a similar effect on an audience” says Bradley. The series is the first project produced in Trioscope, a new enhanced animation technology that combines state-of-the-art CGI with live-action performances. “The cast of the Liberator are faces you may not have had much exposure to yet, but I believe the audience will quickly root for and love them”. The show is based on the compelling real life story of the bloodiest victory in World War 2 of US army maverick Felix Sparks, who led his unit of the 157th infantry through over 500 days of battle to liberate Europe. The unit consisted of cowboys, native-Americans and Mexican-Americans who had not fit into other units.
When asked what is his mantra he replies “Variety is the spice of life and I am lucky to have a career to allow me to explore that variety,” spoken like a man that understands his swagger.