King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is a project of director Guy Ritchie’s that has been on the back-burner for a long time now. The first images of Charlie Hunnam – best known for his role on the show Sons of Anarchy – as the titular king surfaced over a year and a half ago, and since then we’ve only been granted the trailer that aired at 2016’s San Diego Comic-Con.
Needless to say, this film has had plenty of time to live up to fans’ expectations, all the more so because it seems to be tonally different to all the other iterations of King Arthur we’ve seen over the years. How did Guy Ritchie seek to both usurp and honour Arthurian mythology, and what were the challenges of that?
Entertainment Weekly recently spoke to Ritchie about the delays on the upcoming film, which will finally reach theatres this May:
“The date kept shifting, I think, simply because of competition. We could have wrapped up a year, but since we didn’t have to wrap up a year ago, you keep this visual effects things going on so that you can get the best out of them. But it’s such a crowded market out there, trying to find a weekend that you stand half a chance in is tough… I quite like taking some more time because I can see the trouble people find themselves in by forcing a visual effect, which really does need more time. We’ve had the luxury of sitting back. If we did not have that luxury, your visual effects aren’t going to be there. We’ve had a year, haven’t we? We’ve have a year to improve them, and today is the last visual effects meeting. It’s a year’s extra work.”
EW also questioned Ritchie on the kind of story he was seeking to tell:
“I quite like John Boorman’s Excalibur, and I think Boorman touched on things that I thought, “Oh, I’d like to have a go at that.” He did a pretty good job at some aspects of it. It’s a genre that’s hard to tackle, and I wanted to tackle it… The challenge really is finding a tone that a contemporary audience can relate to and that you believe works. That’s it. There is no other challenge. There’s your story. You like the story. We’re in with the story. Now it’s a tonality that needs to be consistent. It’s finding the voice of the genre and the tone of the genre. That’s the only challenging aspect of making a film. I’m not bothered by all of the other stuff.”
Ritchie then spoke of how his version of the still nascent king would appear in his film:
“It’s the difference between the ability to handle power and the inability to handle power. If you’re ambitious in life, there’s no avoiding at some point having more authority over others. The question is which part of your personality does it nourish. That’s really what this story is about. Arthur is going to be powerful, but the question is can he handle the power. Are you corrupted by power, or are you not? He’s a product of his environment. He’s not a conventional good guy. He’s a squirrel trying to get a nut in the environment that he’s brought up in, so he must be judged in the environment he’s brought up in. So much of what a character is to me is whether he’s charming. Do you like that character? It’s amazing what you can get away with when someone is charming.”
Check out a still from the film below. You can read the full interview at EW.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is scheduled to be released on May 12th.
Source: Entertainment Weekly