Tuesday, October 25, 2011

James Callis on BBC's Merlin: A Deep Dish Analysis.

("Camelot!" "Camelot!" "Camelot!" "It's only a model.)

I was going to say "deepish" anallysis, but deep dish sounds much funner and fits in with my favorite type of pizza. So we'll go with that. Ahem. This is a very serious post though, really. I'm putting on my academic glasses.

I was kinda hoping that James would play a valiant knight who can carry a damsel in distress - even a very plump one - into safety on his strong arms. But even if Julius Borden is the worst kind of scoundrel and I won't be fainting into his arms anytime soon, I really enjoyed this performance. The role isn't particularly layered, but James can do a lot with it; his expressions and voice add layers to the otherwise slightly two-dimensional character. He uses the gruff "bad guy" voice, but it's not too distracting, because he plays with the intensity. Some lines he almost barks from the throat, while others are slightly more high-pitched, closer to his usual voice. This makes it sound more organic than it has before (say in One Night With the King). Does he sell the evilness though? I find myself asking that, but it might be because I know he's really NOT like that. I find it very hard not to like James, no matter how the character is. So I kinda did like Borden there for a moment. He must have had a really tragic childhood or something, right?

Yes, he's really a good guy deep down. Very deep. Well, if nothing else, he's very handsome! *drool*

Speaking of which, it might have been nice to know a little more about Borden. You get a hint that he and Gaius have a shared past - he cheated Gaius in some big way and disappeared. But we don't find out how exactly. Also, I'd have appreciated more horseback riding. And where's that scene of Gaius climbing over a stone wall? We never see that. (Or maybe I skipped too much of the knights searching him, which was frankly a long boring bit.)

There are also many firsts, like James descending down a rope; jumping over a huge gorge (I'm not entirely sure he did this himself, but still) and climbing up the cliff bank; James shooting, first with some medieval gun thingy and then with a slingshot (hee!) and James waving a huge fiery fire..stick in rage. He's really pretty scary, but if you look upon it as a performance, it's just awesome and fierce.

And amazing faces of course! As Borden, James plays an arrogant, ruthless guy, and his faces range from sneaky to greedy (pictured) to fierce to pleading. It's enjoyable to watch him just for that. (It also makes for particularly good screenshotting!)

This seems to be a one-off episode, not something that would require previous knowledge of the show/myth. Basically, Julius Borden is an old pupil of Gaius* (Merlin's master), and he comes back to town to get a special magical KEY. The key leads to a dungeon containing the FINAL EXISTING DRAGON'S EGG. Merlin, as the last dragon lord, really wants to help with this, and does so against Gaius' ADVICE. Borden is a sneaky bastard and tries to KILL MERLIN, even after Merlin SAVES HIS LIFE. Then, Merlin runs away with the egg and Borden IS BURIED IN RUBBLE. But we don't actually see him die, so maybe he will come back to retaliate?!!! The DRAGON BABY is summoned out of the egg by Merlin, who names him "Aithusa". The dragon is WHITE.

This all sounds rather silly, but the show manages to pull it off with some seriousness, even with the CGI talking dragon. Borden's desire to get the egg is believable, and Merlin's dragon lord self is pretty impressive. However, the show loses some dignity when Merlin REMOVES ARTHUR'S PANTS WITH THE POWER OF HIS EYES. This was a fan favorite moment and OK, if someone removed James' pants, maybe I'd feel the same. But it was a bit, well, not so serious.

There's quite a lot of James, and I've already made a few photo sets over at Fuck Yeah James Callis! and will make more tonight. I've just been delayed slightly by people being wrong on the internet.

Just a quick couple of pictures here, re: his weapons on the show.

Bow and arrow of sorts!

 fire and fiery rage!

And the somewhat less impressive slingshot.

Last but not least - his mighty fists! 

I greatly enjoyed his look for the show, what with the gruffy beard (evil beard?). The hair could have been slightly less cropped, but maybe it was the style of the day. Now I made a promise to not mention certain issues re: his physique, and it seems I am being tested (possibly by the Lords of Kobol). But I will cheat a bit and show you, in picture form, how I feel about his body right now.

* yes, Gaius and Gaius, a joke that has been widely acknowledged. James himself noted it and appreciated the irony in May. I think all the jokes have already been told. Hmm. Two Gaiuses walked into a bar...

(I guess I could have picked a screenshot where Gaius isn't out of focus, but this is a James blog, so let us be partisan.)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Merlin Gush! O.o

Seen Merlin so excited OMG I will post more coherent stuff later but you can check my tumblr Fuck Yeah James Callis! for the first excited picspams. I'm trying to not post much yet because I'm just too excited for my own good and I have a feeling the post would not be very HOW GREAT IS THIS CAN YOU BELIEVE HE WAS ON TV AGAIN SO SEXY coherent.

I mean how exciting was that?! It was really exciting! Just... so exciting! I'm so excited!
*yip yip yip yip yip*

..so a very quick recap: he's kinda evil and he tries to kill Merlin. But his expressions, voice (gruff evil guy voice) and body language and everything, so fitting and so hot. There were quite a few firsts - descending down a rope! And jumping over a cliff! And just, being really scary and crazy! (Actually he did that in Numb3rs too so it's not strictly a first. Just a different kind of crazy.) Great performance, I'm proud to say. (Why am I proud? It's not like he's my son or something. I'll analyze this later.) Sadly, it seems like it will be only this one episode, but who knows?

And yes, in a slapstick moment, Merlin does pull Arthur's pants down with the power of his eyes. This seemed to take all the fans' minds to the gutter and it's hard to find commentary on anything else. But hey, I can relate. If someone pulled James' pants down, I doubt I could focus on much else buttocks. It'd be nice to see what the show's fans thought of Borden though. Maybe on a calmer day.

Ahhhhh *reaches nirvana*

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

James Callis in BBC's Merlin: Trailer!

"Borden is not a man to be trusted". Very intriguing indeed! James will be in this week's Merlin (but without a mysterious book of beasts I hope). He seems to be leaping and running and threatening people with knives too. (And we know from his tweets that he will be riding a horse! But he isn't in this clip.) He looks ruggedly handsome, although I'm not a fan of the hairstyle. His "deep voice" is employed here, so we know we're dealing with a masculine, perhaps not altogether good guy. I'm not sure how I feel about another "villain" type character, but oh who cares it's JAMES ON TV AGAIN!

James will play Julius Borden. (Ah, I wonder if they thought of Gaius Baltar's father, and the fact that he's an ex-pupil of another Gaius on this show!) Apparently the plot has something to do with dragon eggs, and the show also includes a giant talking dragon. I've never watched, so I'm very confused indeed. There's an episode synopsis here.

This episode, titled "Aithusa", will air this Saturday on BBC One, and I'll probably see it on Sunday, completely legally of course. Screenshots and descriptions coming. I might not know enough about Merlin to give a really good analysis or whatever, but when it comes to James' acting, I'm really the expert, so you're in good hands. (Well, right after James himself.) I'm open to guest posts though, if a Merlin fan would like to write about it.

This is so exciting! We haven't seen James in a new episode since... is it since EUREKA?! O.o That would mean over a year ago. I've almost forgotten what it was like. I faintly remember it was glorious and gave plenty of material for screenshotting, analysis, and fangushery. Much drool was spilled over various parts of his physique which I've promised to no longer comment on. However short-lived, this bliss will soon be ours again. I should start getting in the mood.

Re-Uniting the Rubins: Clip, Dates, and Trailer!

The time has finally come that we may SEE Re-Uniting the Rubins! If we're in the UK, that is. But I'm pretty sure that a DVD release will follow.

Check out the Facebook group Re-Uniting the Rubins: the Movie for all details. You can also see the show dates here, and helpfully the site tells me my distance to the cinemas - the nearest one is ONLY 1443.7 miles away. Um, I probably won't be there.

If a reader is going and would like to write a review, I'd be more than happy to publish/link to it here. Just let me know in the comments. I'll write a report of my own when I finally see the film. I'm certainly buying the DVD from play.com as soon as it comes out.

Orange.co.uk has an interesting clip with James Callis as Asshole Businessman (Danny Rubins). Or should I say - a right plonker? Is that correct British? He's really rude and unlike himself here. (The Behind the Music mockumentary comes to mind.) Also, he can apparently speak Chinese! The Facebook group has a few other clips up.

Here's the official trailer:

This looks like such a fun film. I've enjoyed the little clips we've been given. It's a bit weird to know that the film was completed two years ago and has been shown in a festival or two, but the large audience is learning about it now. It's like new, yet not. I wonder how it feels for an actor to see something emerge two years later; it's a bit strange but delightful to a fan.

Unfortunately, the two clips I linked to earlier have been password-protected, and I took down those posts. I never meant to step on anyone's toes, and I did link back to the site which was public, so it feels a bit odd. But obviously, if I leaked something that wasn't meant to be out, I apologize. If you see something on my blog that you'd like me to take down, please let me know. I only publish things when they're already public, or I have specific permission from the person who owns the rights. But these lines are hard to tell online.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

It's YoungJames! Eating Toffee!

OMG THIS IS A TREASURE! A young James Callis playing the Colonel in "Patience". This is from his University days, so it's YoungJames. The wig is very interesting indeed!

This is hilarious! I've never seen this play before, but it looks like so much fun.

Also it's James...eating... toffee. And taking more. And.. and.. *stares tantalized*  COSMIC! O.o

(I always thought toffee was called "fudge" in English-speaking countries?)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

James Callis in BBC's Merlin: New Pics and a Blooper!

Two scrunchy new HI-RES photos have been posted of James in BBC's Merlin! See here at the farfarawaysite's gallery. This is only promotional photos so far, so it doesn't tell us much about the character, but does speak volumes of James' sexy posing stylings. Mmm hmm. The hair is unusually short (not my favorite style but not bad) and perhaps dyed darker than usual? Hmm. The outfit is very layered. This is, of course, a bad thing; I hear he plays "guy in a mac" in Threatre of Dreams too. One day soon, I hope he'll play "guy who wears nothing but tight T-shirts and shorts". But outfit-wise, it looks quite fascinating with its strings and details. Have we ever seen him in wrist-length gloves before? The pants seem sort of modern to me, but then, I'm not that up-to-date on the latest pant developments. There's some mustache and beard, which looks quite...virile, I might say. Chest hair visibility is at about 15 % (margin of error 3 %). Definite eyebrow action.

James will play "Borden" (not to be confused with Lizzie Borden, hopefully), an old pupil of Gaius (!). Nice bit of irony there with the names. Apparently he's in episode 4, at least, so it should air in a couple of weeks!

Also: a fun detail in the Merlin season 4 blooper reel. At about 2:54, James is having trouble putting something into his pocket. This is so adorable. I've seen very few failed takes with James. The BSG gag reels were funny, but they had very few actual bloopers.