Here’s some Hollywood-style irony for you. In order to play the reincarnated spirit of King Arthur in tomorrow night’s (11/12) Disney Channel Original Movie, “Avalon High,” handsome 18-year-old London-born actor Gregg Sulkin had to quit acting British and become American.
First, there was playing American football, something the life-long soccer player had never done before.
“I’d never even picked up this weird-shaped ball before,” admits Sulkin, who is familiar to “Wizards of Waverly Place” viewers as Mason, werewolf love of Selena Gomez. “My character is a quarterback, the brains behind the operation, so I had to look like exactly that — completely comfortable. Four weeks before shooting, they got me an American football coach, who was great.”
Despite his nerves his first time out of the field, complete with pads and helmet, Sulkin says that the coach, and his on-camera team mates including Christopher Tavarez, made the job fun.
“Avalon High” shot in New Zealand (hey, why not!), where “Chris and I and the boys, we bonded straightaway. We practiced playing a lot and the team became friends.”
But the American challenges didn’t end there. Reports Sulkin, “Two days before we started shooting, the director asked me, ‘How’s your American accent?'” According to Sulkin, “In his point of view, the story is so football orientated, so American, basically, that calling out plays with an English accent stuck out like a sore thumb. I’m happy. It’s better this way ,” adds the actor, who had already invested time with a dialect coach and “months of practice” to perfect his Yankee voice.
Sulkin was also called upon to do sword fighting — another new skill — for the movie based on Meg Cabot’s award-winning fantasy novel. “It’s a lot different rehearsing indoors wearing a t-shirt and track suit bottoms than it is shooting on the beach with the wind whipping around, wearing armor and using real swords. The cast definitely got into it,” he reports.