Why Chris Egan identifies with David in NBC's Kings

It's good to save the king's son—or so you'd think.

In Kings, NBC's upcoming contemporary retelling of the biblical tale of King David, a young soldier named David Shepard (Chris Egan) crosses enemy lines to save a soldier. Unbeknownst to David, that soldier is Jack Benjamin (Sebastian Stan), son of King Silas Benjamin (Ian McShane), ruler of Gilboa.

David's actions—and his subsequent interactions with Silas—forever change his life as he suddenly finds himself on the fast track to power, money and romance in a modern-day kingdom.

SCI FI Wire was on the line recently when Egan (Eragon, Resident Evil: Extinction) spoke to reporters in a conference call. Following are edited excerpts from that interview. Kings premieres Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

How well versed were you in the David vs. Goliath story, and what was it that most attracted you to the project and character?

Egan: I was always interested in the story of David growing up. I heard the story in church, and I was always very inspired by the story. Actually, I always imagined, ... it was kind of like a dream to do it, to play David. But I kind of imagined it as a sort of period piece, like a swords-and-sandals piece. But then when I heard that [creator/executive producer] Michael Green had translated it into a modern-day world, I was very interested to see how that would read. So, yes, I was very inspired by the character and to see a story like this come to life. I was happy to go for it.

How did playing opposite Ian McShane help you with the role of David?

Egan: Well, he is just such an incredible guy, and very talented. And I had some pretty sort of frightening stuff to do, some big scenes [with McShane]. I was a fan of his before from watching Deadwood, so I was a little nervous to meet him and just interested to see how it would all work out. Our characters have such an interesting journey together, so it is kind of this love-hate, back-and-forth relationship. And so [McShane], being such a great guy, and just so generous—and he really gave me a lot of great advice—helped me out a lot. So it was a blast working with him.

You mentioned that the story of David always fascinated you and inspired you. Was there ever a point growing up that you felt like you were in a David and Goliath scenario? Maybe with a bully? In your career?

Egan: Yes, well, I always found it fascinating that [in] the story of David and Goliath, this one young man would go out and face this giant. And when there was this army that was so afraid of this giant, he just went out there with five smooth stones and took this guy out with a slingshot. I came to the U.S. when I was 19 years old. And that, to me, felt like a pretty scary transition to come on my own and try to break into Hollywood. So I spoke up very much like a Goliath.

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