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Anthony Head Talks Playing Uther Pendragon on Merlin

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Anthony Head, or as you Whedonites know him as Rupert Giles of cult classic TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame. Enters his fourth season as Camelot’s monarch Uther Pendragon. He’s been busy as hell with Merlin, h NBC’s Free Agents, and acting in The Iron Lady alongside that “I always look like a pretentious bitch” Meryl Streep and hell, he might be the only reason to watch the upcoming sequel Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. Don’t forget MERLIN returns to Syfy for its fourth season at Friday, January 6, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT) Previous seasons are available on DVD or on iTunes. I’m practically ready to burst I’ve been waiting for this season to come out, so be prepared for a flooding of all Merlin related postings coming soon.

Head offered answers to a few queries leading up to this Friday’s fourth-season premiere of MERLIN. Take a look:

QUESTION: After all that happened in Season 3, how has Uther’s perspective changed entering Season 4 … and how does that change things in Camelot?

ANTHONY HEAD: Uther is broken man. Everything that he basically believed in and held as reality has shifted. I’d say he’s not playing with a full set of marbles. And all of that means Arthur has more responsibility, and there isanother – Nathaniel Parker has joined the cast as Agravaine – who has been drafted to act as the chancellor, to politically help Arthur. It’s aninteresting and kind of logical progression from where we were.

QUESTION: There were some notable deaths and disappearances at the end of MERLIN’s third season. Does any character truly die in a fantasy story like MERLIN?

ANTHONY HEAD: It’s a bit like Buffy or any of those shows. Basically, in a fantasy story, nothing is reality, and everything is reality, and audiences will find this is especially true in Season Four. The boundaries of what is and what isn’t are going to shift. It’s a really, really thorough arc, and it will have repercussions throughout the season. Season Four is really interesting.

MERLIN returns to Syfy for its fourth season at Friday, January 6, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT) Previous seasons are available on DVD or on iTunes.QUESTION: How does Uther rank within the grand scheme of roles in your career?

ANTHONY HEAD: I think he’s up there. He’s been a very interesting character to play, and he’s developed a lot – glad to say, Johnny (Capps) and Julian (Murphy) have always given me something to play. There’s always some underlying thing going on – he’s not just moody. I always like that challenge. Compared to a lot of other things, Uther is just fun to play. When I was first told about it, I was nervous because I thought he might be too two-dimensional. But once they really told me what they wanted, I saw the role had a lot of scope – and they always wholeheartedly embraced ways I suggested to play it.

I like to bring a whole person to the role. I like to believe that there’s a reason for everything somebody does, just not somebody being bad or good or dogmatic or tyrannical. They’ve got plenty of pathology going on, and it’s fun getting inside and finding out all about that mythology. It makes the characters who they are. The best roles are always three-dimensional.

QUESTION: Is Tony Head as stubborn as Uther?

ANTHONY HEAD: No, I can’t afford to be. I live with three women – my daughters and my partner/wife. There’s no way I could get away with it. Uther is very old school, very old-fashioned, and no one’s ever stood up to him until Morgana. And basically he’s now reaping what he sowed.

Series photo courtesy of (c) Shine Ltd./FremantleMedia Enterprises, Head Photo: Gary Miereanu

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