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 'Camelot' a dream role for Philip Winchester

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Join date : 2011-03-24

'Camelot' a dream role for Philip Winchester Empty
PostSubject: 'Camelot' a dream role for Philip Winchester   'Camelot' a dream role for Philip Winchester EmptySat May 28, 2011 4:57 am


Posted: Friday, May 27, 2011 12:15 am | Updated: 3:55 pm, Thu May 26, 2011.

RACHEL HERGETT, Chronicle Staff Writer

Philip Winchester may have roots in the Gallatin Valley, but he has branches that stretch the globe.

Winchester, who graduated from Belgrade High School in 1999, has dual citizenship in the United States and the United Kingdom, a fact that has served him well in his emergent acting career. Philip's mother, Barbara, is from England.

"That whole double citizen thing has been a good thing for him," said father Jay Winchester, of Belgrade. "There are less hoops."

As a member of the European Union and the British Commonwealth, it is much easier to live and work in other countries.

"Megan and I have been traveling all over the place," Philip said last week from South Africa, where he is filming his latest series for HBO/Cinemax, "Strike Back."

For many of his recent roles, Philip has been able to use his heritage, and the accent picked up from his mother and at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts.

"He can sort of turn (the accent) on and off when he likes to," Jay Winchester said. "But when he uses it all the time, it gets thicker and thicker."

The British accent has been put to good use. Philip starred in the cancelled NBC series "Crusoe," centering on British castaway Robinson Crusoe. He is currently Leontes, one of King Arthur's knights in the Starz series "Camelot." And he is filming a 10 episode season of "Strike Back," an action series focusing on a former U.S. Special Forces operative who teams up with a British military unit to stop an international terrorist group. "Strike Back" is set to air on Cinemax sometime late this summer.

"It's kind of James Bond meets Jason Bourne," Philip said in a British accent. "We run around with guns and drive fast cars."

In "Camelot," he said, it was swords and horses. Both are an actors' dream.

"When I was sitting in the dark, cold drama room in London doing training in sword fighting and movement, Shakespeare and poetry, I would think, ‘Wouldn't it be great if I could play these sorts of roles?"

"He's a boy's boy," Jay said. "He likes sword fighting and shooting and blowing stuff up. He's been doing it since he was a kid."

Winchester said he couldn't be happier, now that he's doing exactly the sort of roles he dreamt about.

"Of course, there's a lot of luck involved and a lot of hard work," he said.

After Winchester read a script from "Camelot," he accepted the role. That was on a Saturday. On Sunday, he got a phone call saying he had a 6 p.m. flight to Dublin for training and filming.

"It was one of those moments you sort of hope for," he said, then explained how he was grateful his wife, Megan, also a Belgrade High grad, is so understanding.

As for training, the "naturally sinewy" Philip – his words – said he had to "put on quite a bit of weight to become knightly, if you will."

He's had to do the same for "Strike Back," and said he has been trying to maintain a 3,500 to 4,000 calorie diet to maintain a physique much larger than his natural swimmer's build.

"In ‘Camelot' it was easier because we were drinking Guiness," he said.

Though he is still traveling the world, Philip hopes to be back home by the end of summer, to see his family and his beloved puggle – a half beagle and half pug named Nacious.

"Like Pugnacious," Jay explained.

Until then, Winchesters have been watching their son on the small screen, and have people over to watch "Camelot" each Friday.

"Camelot" is in reruns on Starz today. Episode 9 airs June 3 and the final episode of the 10-episode run airs June 10.
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