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On Location with Graham Shiels

The star of Olympus on filming a bit closer to Earth

Despite the blood and the gore and the general mayhem that comes with filming Olympus, SyFy’s mythological drama, Graham Shiels, who plays King Aegeus, says he’s having the time of his life.

“Filming the first season was a total dream,” he says. “To swing around swords and be a king and speak in a British accent, and the whole nine yards, it was the best.”

What was it that made the show, which filmed in Vancouver, BC, so exciting for the 44-year-old actor?

“There are 13 episodes,” he says of the first season, which ends in June, “and I think I had three swordfights and four sex scenes. For a bald, 6-foot-tall dude who usually plays bad guy, that’s pretty amazing.”

And while modern-day Vancouver is a far cry from the ancient worlds that Olympus depicts, Los Angeles denizen Shiels says he was just fine with that. 

“Vancouver in the summer time is incredible,” he says. “I kept talking to my buddies down in L.A. who were saying it was 110 degrees, that there was a heat wave and they couldn’t stand it. Meanwhile I was up in Vancouver where it was 80 degrees and just gorgeous. Beyond that, the city is so beautiful, and so clean and the people are unbelievably nice.”

On camera, however, nobody’s too kind to Sheils, whose character spends a large part of his time defending his throne. Not that the actor, a veteran of Arrow and Guardians of the Galaxy, minded too much.

“This was a real learning experience for me, because I usually play all these heavies—vampires or skinhead Aryans in prison,” he explains. “So, to play someone with some vulnerability is something I’ve been trying to do—and it was wonderful.”