Warning: Illegal string offset 'side_text' in /var/sites/s/spindlemagazine.com/public_html/wp-content/themes/spindle2018/content-single.php on line 7

Interview: Alexander Vlahos

Thursday 08 November 2012
Words Spindle

After initially walking in on the wrong photo shoot down the corridor, I eventually found my place in the delectable dining room of The House Of Wolf. Alexander Vlahos, the new dude from Merlin, had taken time out from castle drama and chain mail disguise to share a packet of Fizzy Haribo with me. A mystery was set upon us straight away however…why were there ear plugs and sleep masks politely lined up with the cutlery family? It took intense Jenga-like focus and inquiries to find out that the venue host food tasting evenings that play with the senses. But enough of our Scooby Doo’ing, time to ask Alexander about his flavoursome career to date.

So how did acting become ‘the thing’?

Initially I wanted to work in post-production, as I had a desire to do everything behind the scenes. I LOVED the Jackass films; when I was young I’d get my Dad’s video camera and do the craziest stunts. But I realised that an editor’s job can be quite boring and for me, I couldn’t touch any of the important buttons at placements because they were too expensive. So my Drama teacher at school basically did my UCAS application for me. I had no clue about acting and when I found out 3,000 people applied for a class of 20, it blew my mind. I put all my eggs in one basket, but it worked.

On the topic of ‘actors in the UCAS making,’ I embarked on a rant about my fear of kids who have the personality and confidence that mimics an established adult. (Only Honey Boo Boo Child and The Olsen Twins are given the exception sticker.)

Either they’ve landed on their feet or they’re incredibly hard working and they tell you about it. I’m quite humbled by where I’m at, blessed even. A lot of actors have to do bartending between jobs and luckily I skipped that.

*I call Alexander a bastard*

Haha, I really do realise how fortunate I am. There tends to be little work around Christmas if panto isn’t for you, but I won’t be sitting in a pool of disappointment, as I always know I’ve got something starting in January or February. As long as I can pay the rent and eat beans on toast, I’m happy.

*Cue discussion about the undervalued appreciation of baked beans on some buttered toast*

It reminds you of mornings and cut grass reminds me of summer.

*Wise, very wise, I nod in agreement like I’ve just met The Oracle*

So Doctors was your first gig, in a rather magically named script titled ‘Master Of The Universe’….

It was based on the Columbine shootings, so it was quite heavy hitting and brave for Doctors. I kidnapped people in school, and got shot through the chest by a sniper. The show really drilled in what television was about though, like an acting crash course. I did one take and thought it was awful, asked If I could re-do it, the director checked his watch, and said “No.” It taught me quickly to be precise with my work, to nail it on take one. Then we found out that the script was up for ‘Spectacular Scene Of The Year’ at The Soapies. The night was bloody mental, they get shit faced afterwards. But it made me appreciate soap actors as it’s basically a full time office job; they live the character 9-5. We didn’t win The Soapie, because it’s Doctors. But everyone’s watched it at some point and as an actor? it’s a rite of passage as an actor. You have to do Doctors, Holby City or Casualty: that’s the way it works.

So onto Merlin, the prime-time show that switched you from the NHS to a fix of Saturday night fantasy.

They were recasting Mordrid, and I knew he had dark hair and bright blue eyes, so half of the battle was already won. I was like the new kid at school on set though; it was terrifying. On my first day we were filming along some mountains and they covered it all in fake snow (tissue paper) and my first scene is running up to a gorge where they’d put a green cloth down. Apparently this green cloth was running water from CGI, but they don’t teach you how to do this in drama school. I was like. “What’s the green cloth for…?” So if my confused expression met a review of ‘an amazing piece of acting’, that’s because I didn’t know what was going on. What looked like a proper castle was made of Plasticine; it was mental.

Must have been daunting to face the Merlin-ites fanbase?

They’re really die-hard and will tell you if you’ve done wrong, but it was a bigger mountain to climb as I was taking over a role of someone they already loved. I care about what I do and understand that recasting someone without explanation can be quite terrifying for the fans. A bit like changing Buffy The Vampire Slayer. The fans have been amazing though and really supportive. I wouldn’t say I’m a Warhammer kind of guy, but this fantasy been a great genre to work in.

Alexander has also indulged in a guilty pleasure horror flick called Truth Or Dare. Say what you like about this sort of script, but I’m sure everyone recalls Scream as a fond movie memory and who can forget Paris Hilton getting into a pickle with waxworks… and Alexander couldn’t agree more with me.

I got impaled on a rake after slipping on a champagne bottle. It was blood and gore and I got to say the cheesiest lines.

Cue another Charlie rant, this time on the topic of ‘real footage’ horror films. After complaining about the video camera spooks that should have been left alone after that ole Blair Witch did her thing, Alexander got me going ‘touché’ after saying, “Well you dished out the money to see the latest Paranormal Activity, so they’re doing something right.”

So what can people expect from you next?

Privates is the thing I’m most proud of. We filmed in Ireland in a real life army base, and the atmosphere was chilling, as it wasn’t a set, it was real life; definitely a role that stays with you. I played someone completely different, as in there’s a Yorkshire accent, my hair was shaved off and I’m a passive angry young man. It’s coming out in January, and will show people a transition from Camelot chain mail to 60s crew cut activity.

So there you have it, a chat with the down to earth trendy boy who clearly loves every minute of the acting industry. And who wouldn’t when they’re tasting all the genres in such an impeccable fashion.

As for me, while the photo shoot was taking place, the photographer asked me to top up the meter for his car. I clearly don’t know my vehicles well, as it turned out I was accidentally trying to break into the wrong Ford. Those Fiestas all look the same.

Words: Charlie Matthews

Photography: Jean-Luc Brouard

Stylist: Rickardo Mattocks-Maxwell

Alex is wearing Casio, Gabicci, Medwinds, New Love Club, Peter Werth and Uniqlo.