Coming off the biggest success of his career with the critically acclaimed Sherlock Holmes, director Guy Ritchie is poised to apply his unique cinematic talents to another legendary figure, King Arthur. According to Variety, Ritchie is currently attached to direct a “re-imagining” of King Arthur for Warner Brothers, based on a script from screenwriter John Hodge (Trainspotting). The film is being produced by Atlas Entertainment and Hollywood Gang.
Interestingly, the last thing we heard about Ritchie and King Arthur was that he might direct a re-imagining of the Excalibur legend. That project was to be written by comic book writer Warren Ellis, who is responsible for the comic series Red (now a film starring Bruce Willis), among other notable titles.
The fact that Ellis is not mentioned in the Variety article leads me to believe that perhaps Warner Brothers has decided to go in a different direction than an Excalibur re-imagining. On the other hand, the Variety article does say that Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur will be the primary source material for the film, which was also the source material for John Boorman’s famous 1981 version of Excalibur, so who really knows what’s going on. (I don’t even want to get into what this means for Bryan Singer’s Excalibur project, which is also at WB.)
From Monty Python’s 1975 comedy classic Monty Python and the Holy Grail, to Antoine Fuqua’s 2004 action-epic King Arthur, which starred Clive Owen as the titular king, the story of King Arthur and The Knights of the Round Table has been told and retold on film.
So what makes Ritchie the right man for the director’s chair? Perhaps it is the fact that he was so successful in breathing new life into Sherlock Holmes. That film, which was more action-packed than any Sherlock Holmes film to date, grossed more than $450 million worldwide.
Personally, the prospect of seeing a Ritchie-directed King Arthur sounds like a lot of fun. While they haven’t all been great, there’s something about Ritchie’s films that I’ve always enjoyed, and I think that he could bring a lot of style to a story that, frankly, could use a fresh take.
What do you think? Is Guy Ritchie the right man to take on King Arthur?