Merlin Series 5: Mordred Interview

Alexander Vlahos on taking over from Asa Butterfield as Mordred in Merlin Series 5.

Were you nervous on your first day on the set of Merlin?

Alexander Vlahos: For want of a better word, I was bricking myself. The level of banter and familiarity with the cast is unlike anything, so to come in as the new kid was a little daunting. The jokes, especially with the knights, left me going “What the hell are they talking about?”

Was there any additional pressure that comes with the character?

Asa [Butterfield], who played Mordred originally, did such a good job, and he was so well-loved, so I try and live up to what he did. I watched all of Asa’s work as Mordred to try and make sure I don’t mess it up. There’s a big time jump, though, so I’m having to fill in what happened. The audience aren’t stupid, they know it’s a different actor playing the part, so I’m having to bring a little bit of me to it.

Are you mimicking any ticks Asa had?

There is one thing that he does that I wanted to get in as quick as I could and then that be it, almost like a little nod, and even if the audience didn’t pick up on it that’s fine, but Asa has this great thing where the last time you see him he has this brilliant smile and then he drops it within a second and looks as evil as anything. I wanted to bring that in as a nod to the past and from then onwards it would be my approach to Mordred.

Will your costume be very different?

There were lots of photos of Asa and his iconic cloak, and I quite clearly said I wanted to get away from that. If I’m drawimng parallels with him acting-wise and costume-wise, it’s like we’re trying to cheat the audience into believing it’s the same person playing him. I wanted him to be who I pictured him to be when I read the script. He’s older, had life experiences and I’m pleased with the introduction, it’s not as you expect at all. I know a lot of people are drawing comparisons to Agravaine and thinking Mordred’s going to fulfil that same role, but wait and see is what I’m saying…

Merlin Series 5 will return to BBC One this Autumn.