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'Camelot': A new spin on Arthurian legend

Tamsin Egerton in "Camelot"

Tamsin Egerton in "Camelot" Credit: Handout

The Arthurian legend has been fertile territory for entertainment, inspiring adaptations everywhere from Broadway to Disney.

Now Starz has returned to the legend for its new series “Camelot,” debuting Friday. Joseph Fiennes stars as Merlin, who anoints young Arthur (Jamie Campbell Bower) as ruler, which provokes considerable ire in Arthur’s half-sister Morgan (Eva Green).

amNewYork spoke with Tamsin Egerton, 22, who stars as Guinevere, betrothed to a knight but pining for Arthur.

What drew you to this role?
I’ve wanted to play Guinevere since I was about 4 years old. That was one of the big draws. Second of all, it was a very beautifully written script. The character just leapt off the page for me. She’s this innocent young girl who’s got her life mapped out, and then suddenly she falls in love [and] her life is turned upside down. ... It’s one of these dream roles that has such diverse scenes and scenarios to play. It’s fantastic.

Who are some of your favorite interpretations of Guinevere?
Keira Knightley was a great version of Guinevere as a warrior [in 2004’s “King Arthur”]. I would love to channel that a little bit, in her feistiness and her masculine energy.

This is your first big American role. Are you ready to break out in the States?
Absolutely. I’ve been acting since I was 11. I’ve done a couple of American jobs, but on a lot smaller scale. It’s thrilling — I’ve never done such a big job. As an actress and a young lady, it’s hugely exciting.

Does this production have a more American or European feel to it?
I think having American producers, it’s a little bit glossier than maybe an English production would be, a bit smoother and more glamorous and more action-packed. I think us Brits like to stay on the negatives. In this one, it’s got happy and sad moments, and it’s got a lot more sex.

On TV: “Camelot” premieres on Starz Friday night at 10.

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