With a decade gone by since Antoine Fuqua's take on the legend of King Arthur, the figure of English folklore is being revived once more by director Guy Ritchie in a new retelling of the story, which is being filmed under the working title Knights of the Round Table. Charlie Hunnam (Pacific Rim) plays the lead, described in the official synopsis as a "streetwise young Arthur," and Astrid Bergès-Frisbey (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) stars opposite him as Guinevere.
Ritchie brought another iconic British figure to life in period action films Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, and more recently directed a movie version of 1960s tV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (with Henry Cavill and Alicia Vikander), which will arrive in theaters this summer.
Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures have now announced that principal photography has begun on Knights of the Round Table, with the bulk of filming taking place at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, UK. Further shooting will take place on location in Wales and Scotland. Ritchie's directing from a screenplay by Joby Harold (Awake). Here's the full synopsis:
The bold new story introduces a streetwise young Arthur who runs the back alleys of Londonium [sic] with his gang, unaware of the life he was born for until he grasps hold of the sword Excalibur—and with it, his future. Instantly challenged by the power of Excalibur, Arthur is forced to make some hard choices. Throwing in with the Resistance and a mysterious young woman named Guinevere, he must learn to master the sword, face down his demons and unite the people to defeat the tyrant Vortigern, who stole his crown and murdered his parents, and become King.
It sounds like Excalibur may end up rising from the waters of the River Thames, in which case Arthur would be well advised to give it a bit of a wash before he tries wielding it. Maybe soak it in disinfectant overnight just to be on the safe side.
First day on KORT. pic.twitter.com/JPv8esPDnu
— Guy Ritchie (@realguyritchie) March 10, 2015
Ritchie also shared the above set photo of himself with Hunnam on his Twitter account, revealing that the lead actor will be wearing a roguish beard for the role. The "KORT" mentioned in the Tweet confirms that, for now, the movie's title is Knights of the Round Table - unless of course it's actually going to be called K.O.R.T. as Arthur and co. embrace the world of acronyms.
Here's a breakdown of the cast, some of whom we've heard about before.
- Charlie Hunnam - Arthur Pendragon, street rat and future King of Britain.
- Astrid Bergès-Frisbey - Guinevere, member of the Resistance and presumably a romantic foil for Arthur.
- Djimon Hounsou - Bedivere, leader of the Resistance and Arthur's mentor.
- Aiden Gillen - Goosefat Bill. No character details here but that sounds like the name of a street gang member.
- Jude Law - Vortigern, the bad guy.
- Eric Bana - Uther Pendragon, father to Arthur and former King of Britain.
The synopsis makes Knights of the Round Table sound a bit like a 5th century version of Ritchie's gangster movies (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Crossbows?) but in the vast sea of King Arthur movies and TV shows there's enough room for that, just as there was a room for an action-packed Sherlock Holmes movie. There's also room for another Sherlock Holmes sequel, so feel free to make that next, Guy.
Knights of the Round Table arrives in theaters on July 22, 2016.
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