After critical acclaim with The Pillars of the Earth and Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Starz is preparing yet another epic fantasy/period piece for cable viewers. According to a press release, King Arthur’s legend of Camelot will premiere on April 1st – honest.
Starz has kept Camelot pretty close to the chest. While plot and production details are thin, we know that the same team that brought Showtime’s The Tudors to fruition will be behind the camera.
Exectuive producing are Morgan O’Sullivan and Michael Hirst, along with newcomer Craig Cegielski. Tudors was well-received, and the team should feel right at home with Anglican lore. Chris Chibnall, of British projects like Doctor Who, Torchwood and Law & Order: UK, is writing.
The cast is skewing young to fit the series’ focus on King Arthur’s adolescent years, fitting somewhere between the sword in the stone and the formation of the Knights of the Round Table in the T.H. White version of the legend.
Arthur will be played by Jamie Campbell Bower, whose previous roles in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and New Moon should make him recognizable to younger viewers. Tamsin Egerton, the series’ perennial love interest, Guinevere, is an unknown outside of UK projects like 18.104.22.168. More veteran cast members will include Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love) as a somewhat less-wizened Merlin and Eva Green (Vesper in Casino Royale) as the eternal antagonist, Morgana (see below).
Camelot won’t be wanting for competition when it debuts: HBO is also readying its highly-anticipated adaptation pf George R. R. Martin’s fantasy epic Game of Thrones for an April debut. If the casting is any indication, the Starz series will be aiming for a more lighthearted adventure feel – possibly hoping to appeal to Harry Potter and Twilight fans looking for their fantasy fix on the small screen.
Camelot will also join a renaissance of fantasy/historical dramas, including the aforementioned Thrones and fellow Starz projects The Pillars of the Earth and Spartacus, the latter of which will continue in January with Gods of the Arena. According to Chibnall, multiple seasons of medieval action are planned – of course, whether or not Camelot is renewed after its initial 10-episode run has yet to be seen. Without a better look at series (which is currently filming) it’s hard to gauge how it will stack up to its predecessors and contemporaries.
Camelot premieres on Starz on April 1st.