Not many actors can claim that they’ve played King Arthur AND the Anti-Christ, but Bradley James can. James plays the titular role in Damien, A&E’s new series from The Walking Dead’s Glen Mazzara that takes place 30 years after the events of the classic film The Omen.

In a splendid conversation, the Merlin and iZombie actor delves into the “warped mind” of creator Glen Mazzara, discusses his life as a long-suffering Miami Dolphins fan and shares one of his favorite New Year’s traditions.

You’ve now played King Arthur and the Anti-Christ. Your roles are getting harder and harder to follow. Do you seek out mythic roles or do you just get lucky?

It’s not something I think of until afterwards, in terms of like, ‘Oh, I suppose that had iconography to it.’ Those two worlds in particular have quite contrasting aspects to them. That in itself is very attractive for an actor. I was attracted to the characters themselves. In Damien’s case, it was the writing of Glen Mazzara. I keep saying, although I don’t think I’ve said it to his face yet, ‘the warped mind of Glen Mazzara.’ I mean that as a compliment because it’s warped and it’s honest. It’s not weird for the sake of it. It’s truth within that weirdness.

Were you a fan of the original The Omen or the subsequent sequels?

The script made it very clear that Damien is set off the first one. I had seen it when I was too young to really understand what it was about. When I read the script, I went back and watched the film and realized how great it is. It was actually on the other night, and I watched it again, and I’m really growing to love it.

While storytelling has slightly moved on since the 70’s, and our social collective consciousness has obviously moved on, and we demand more from our characters, Damien keeps a level of truth to the original Omen, which was somewhat ahead of its time.

Horror is really hot on TV right now. Do you watch any horror shows? Have you watched Lucifer to see your Dad in action?

I have not seen Lucifer. I know Tom [Ellis], we’ve worked together before, and been to Arsenal games. I assume our shows are very contrasting in styles.

For sure.

Damien’s a show that perhaps doesn’t have many…it’s not quite a laugh a minute. Like The Omen. You weren’t quite rolling on the floor when the nanny threw herself off a roof into a window.

But I’d be a little nervous to call Damien straight-up horror. It certainly has horror elements, but it’s more…


Yeah. It’s not a scare-fest, it just has a creepier vibe to it. Which allows your mind to do a lot of the work.

The mind is one of the scariest places to be.

You’ve clearly been in my mind at some stage.

Do you believe in omens?

As you can tell from my accent, I’m from British shores, and we tend to be quite a cynical bunch. We don’t fall foul of things like that. While I wouldn’t completely disregard it from existence, it’s not something I have too much experience with.

You were born in England, moved to Jacksonville, FL, and then went back to England for school. What was it like shuttling back and forth? In a way, your TV roles have mirrored this.

I moved around a helluva lot as a kid and grew up in all sorts of places. I seem to hear about many actors who moved around a lot when they were younger and I don’t know if that has something to do with the idea of reinventing yourself when you move to a new place and that develops the part of you that likes to create new characters. There’s probably a deeper psychological conversation to be had there with someone much wiser than me on why that is.

In terms of the roles I’ve done, I’m not sure if that had a direct effect on what I look for. But I certainly look for variety, to mix things up and keep things interesting, which parallels how I grew up.

Say I’m visiting Jacksonville, what’s the best thing to do there?

The first thing I do when I get there is I look up one of my best friends Chris, who I went to school with. He’s now a sports coach at a school, and he’s got a family. So he’s not quite up for the crazy things that he used to be.

His birthday is on New Year’s Day. There were a few times where I would get on a plane and fly out to Jacksonville and he’d hire up this limo and we’d drive around Jacksonville until midnight. We’d get out for the fireworks and then get back in. There aren’t a lot of sights to see in Jacksonville, so it was just driving around. You weren’t spending too much time looking out the windows.

There’s Jacksonville Landing, which has a good atmosphere about it, and in my memory banks there’s always live music playing there. And of course you’ve got the beach.

I love the idea of a Jacksonville New Year’s tradition. You didn’t mention the Jaguars! You’re a Miami Dolphins fan, right?

Yeah, I’m a Dolphins fan. The Jaguars weren’t around when I first got to Jacksonville. I found myself supporting the Dolphins and ignoring the Bucs at the time. Then Jacksonville got an NFL team. I’m a supporter of them as a second team, but I don’t suffer the same pain that I suffer every time Miami loses, which is pretty much every week. I’ve been a long suffering Dolphins fan for a while now.

I can appreciate that. I’m from Seattle. Now we have good things, but before recently it was…

I was gonna say. In 2012-2013 all of a sudden you got this good team that wins and shouts in everyone’s faces…

Now we’re @$$hole fans. That’s all it took.

Now all of sudden, there’s a lot of you. It’s funny, in LA, there was a period where all sorts of Seahawks t-shirts and things would come around and people started talking about them. You see the stereotype of it on Saturday Night Live and then you actually see it in real life. ‘Oh yeah I’ve been a Seahawks fan my whole life.’ You mention Shaun Alexander…

And they wouldn’t know who he is.


I moved to LA in 2013 right when all that happened. I was grouped in with those people.

You were one of those guys! Your street cred didn’t stand a chance even though it came from a place of truth. I feel your pain sir.

It’s easy to root for the Dolphins.

We’re a very honest team, in the sense that we don’t offend anyone because we don’t tend to win that much.

You guys still kind of trade off that perfect season.

It was a deal with the devil at the time, and the cost is that we will never be any good, EVER AGAIN.

Is Damien going to make any deals with the devil?

That is what we get to find out! If any deals are made, thanks to Glen Mazzara, they will be ingrained in truth, and they won’t be straightforward.

One thing that is straightforward? Damien premieres March 7 on A&E at 10/9c.

[All images courtesy of A&E]


  Save as PDF