THE LAST KINGDOM Interview With Charlie Murphy (Queen Iseult)

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC THE LAST KINGDOM Interview With Charlie Murphy (Queen Iseult)

Enjoy some lush BTS pics too!

Q: What can you tell us of Iseult? She’s Peredur’s wife…

A: Yes. Peredur has two wives, a regular queen and then a secondary wife, a shadow queen. She is this aloof, pagan presence in his very small kingdom. She has premonitions and things like that; she’s linked to the occult. She’s a little bit witchy, though I hope I don’t look witchy!

Q: No! In fact, that outfit is rather fancy…

A: Silver is her thing so I wear a lot of silver jewellery. This dress is for riding because I ride astride on horses. The costume department is fantastic and they have made this costume so that it will actually fit around the horse at the same time because you have this problem when your legs are separated in a big dress. They are fantastic, working night and day to make costumes that serve in a practical sense, as well as looking beautiful.

The Last Kingdom

The Last Kingdom | Episode Two | Behind The Scenes
© Carnival Film & Television Ltd
Photographer: Joss Barratt
Chas Bain (Director of Photography), Alexander Dreymon (as Uhtred), Emily Cox (as Brida) and Levente Lezsák (Stunt Coordinator)

Q: Are you good on a horse?

A: Yes, not too bad, actually. I learned years ago as a kid so I was a bit apprehensive coming back in but I got a few lessons to start off with. I haven’t fallen off… yet!

Q: What is the first scene like when we meet Iseult?

A: The introduction for Iseult is a reveal in Peredur’s castle, or his tiny little hut, more like. She is introduced to Uhtred that way. Peredur has a proposition for Uhtred to use his troops and to join forces together and to attack a neighbouring village that he wants to take back. Peredur is quite a superstitious man. So in order to make sure that Uhtred is telling the truth — because he doesn’t really know him or whether he can trust him — he brings Iseult in to verify what Uhtred is saying.

The Last Kingdom

The Last Kingdom | Episode Three | Behind The Scenes
© Carnival Film & Television Ltd
Photographer: Kata Vermes
Alec Newman (as King Aethelred)

Q: In the books, she doesn’t really care for her husband…

A: Yes, definitely there’s something going on. She is quite misleading to Peredur and she encourages him with just one line that Uhtred is telling the truth. So they go into battle and Peredur is slain. Then we rock on in and she is waiting for Uhtred to come back so that is her premonition, I suppose. She is all set to go.

Q: Is she a natural fit for Uhtred because his wife is Christian and yet he is pagan?

A: Yes, they’re both on the outskirts of society. For this chapter of his life, she is definitely a good fit for Uhtred. She is kind of an outcast. She doesn’t really have relationships with many of the other characters. She is always set aside so it is a welcoming thing to meet Uhtred and not to be judged by society. She can just be herself.

The Last Kingdom

The Last Kingdom | Episode Four | Behind The Scenes
© Carnival Film & Television Ltd
Photographer: Kata Vermes
Simon Kunz (Odda The Elder) and Harry McEntire (as Aethelwold)

Q: Is it good fun playing someone dark and mysterious?

A: It is good fun. For the introduction scene, I’m coming down these stairs, trying to feel dark and seductive but also aloof and in control. But, at the same time, you’re counting the steps so you don’t fall over! You have to try to tread a fine line between being graceful and being in control as well.

Q: How have you enjoyed shooting in Hungary?

A: It is good fun. I am enjoying filming here. The crew is fantastic. Because my character doesn’t come in until Episode 6, which is the second book, there was always the concern, ‘Oh, how am I going to fit in?’ The others have been filming together for quite some time,’ but it was great. After a few hours you just settle in and carry on.

The Last KingdomThe Last Kingdom | Episode Three | Behind The Scenes
© Carnival Film & Television Ltd
Photographer: Kata Vermes
Emily Cox (as Brida)

Q: Do you have some sexy scenes to film as well?

A: Yes, and from the books we can gather what is going to happen. There will be some liberties taken and some differences but they are going along on the same lines as the novels for the most part, so there will be some scenes like that.

Q: Did you read the books?

A: I did. I read the first two books and then I started reading book three. I got halfway through three and then I just had to stop because I started getting confused with the scripts, thinking, ‘What the hell is going on?’ I can’t wait to start reading them again, though, because I just gobbled them up; they are so fantastic. The scripts are great as well, just fantastic. It is really a treat.

Q: What’s with this marking on your hand?

A: It’s a tattoo. Harry [McEntire] has some as well. He doesn’t have them at the moment because he is back to being a Saxon but earlier, when he is going through the plunder and bits and bobs, he has some on his face.

The Last KingdomThe Last Kingdom | Episode Three | Behind The Scenes
© Carnival Film & Television Ltd
Photographer: Kata Vermes
Alexander Dreymon (as Uhtred)

Q: Is there anyone from screen or from books or from pictures that you studied to help develop the character?

A: No. I think the books are fantastic and a brilliant insight. It is such a treat to have a book to back up something. Everything is so condensed and Bernard Cornwell does a fantastic job bringing in so many characters and keeping track of everything that is going on. It is so useful. It is such a treat to have extra little bits here and there, knowing what has happened through the book. It is nice to have that kind of foundation for the character and her story.

Q: What’s it like filming in a kind of man’s world with lots of bravado?

A: As an actress you get used to that, unfortunately! I have been in two films before where I’ve been the only girl, so I am used to it. I have burst into this man’s world again but that is fine. I think this character is fantastic because she is not the norm for back then. She is following her own path and that is not normally portrayed at all, especially in a period like this.

The Last KingdomThe Last Kingdom | Episode Three | Behind The Scenes
© Carnival Film & Television Ltd
Photographer: Kata Vermes
Anthony Byrne (Director, Episodes 3 and 4) and Alec Newman (as King Aethelred)

Q: What sort of journey does the character go through?

A: For her, it is liberation in a way, being liberated from life in a small country. It is a coming of age, I suppose. She meets Uhtred at the right time because — and this is only my own opinion — I think this is the first adult relationship he has, where they can get on and actually be good for each other and help each other to grow. Uhtred meets people at the right points in his life to help service his needs and his destiny. He definitely does. But life will go on for him, after her, and she knows that.

Q: So you must have good chemistry with Alex Dreymon, who plays Uhtred?

A: No, he’s a bastard (laughs)! I’m kidding! Definitely, we have great chemistry. He is an absolute gent. All the boys are, and they’re really good fun.



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Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC.  Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.



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