King Arthur: Legend of the Sword will showcase an old character in a very new form. Therefore paving the way for English director Guy Ritchie to put his interpretation on the story. With a cast that boasts the likes of Jude Law, Eric Bana and Charlie Hunnam in the lead role, the $102m extravaganza will aim to bring the hero into the 21st Century.
Drawing the Excalibur sword from the stone before tracking down the evil Vortigern (Law) for retribution after the murder of his parents, versions of the narrative have spanned generations. But Ritchie will attempt to put his stamp on proceedings, offering a gritty and raw installment that takes cues from his previous work via Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Revolver and Sherlock Holmes.
All In Black, All In One Go
Running out of the blocks, Sons of Anarchy star Hunnam outlined that the director wanted a full rundown of the whole production in one take, a process that put the whole cast and crew on edge.
"We did something strange and wonderful," started Hunnam. "I didn’t think it was gonna work at all, but it did. Guy had this wacky idea that he wanted to take an afternoon before we started working and shoot the whole film in four hours on two or three cameras and in a room all in black. We shot the whole film, and that’s where we met. That’s where most of the cast met. It was a baptism of fire. It was such a high-energy, sort of anxiety-inducing experience."
Having seen a number of films of the character before, what can an audience expect in May?
"As you would imagine, it’s the origin story. It’s the sort of Arthur origin story, of his rise to the throne," he explained. "So it’s a reinvention certainly of the periods between him being estranged from his family and reuniting with his destiny, with sort of the royal lineage. It’s a very different sort of rendering. Much grimmer and grittier, and in a certain way probably much more modern. The camaraderie feels sort of modern and easily recognizable as boys’ banter, the sort of stuff Guy does very well. But I feel like the world and the pace of the whole thing feels very period. I don’t think it feels like an uber modern rendering of it."
Arthur No Superman, Just A Man's Man
Hunnam might be fairly new to whole blockbuster scene coming fresh off the Brad Pitt-produced feature The Lost City of Z, but he knew once he landed the position that he had a grounding with the content.
"Guy and I discussed a great deal who he was and what sort of version we found, between the two of us, most exciting. But I’m very familiar with Arthurian legend. In fact, my girlfriend is called Morgana, and one of my favorite films, that actually led me to want to become an actor, was Excalibur. I watched Excalibur ad nauseum as a child. So I’m very familiar with the world. But I just decided not to go back."
In an industry where superpowers are more the norm, how would Hunnam perceive Arthur in this context?
"I think they’re real guys. They’re real men. They’re certainly not antiheroes, but they’re not squeaky clean heroes either. They’re not Superman. They’re of that world that Guy Ritchie plays in. Which is sort of men’s men, that are not afraid of a fight, but are more often than not gonna do the right thing."
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword will debut in cinemas as of May 12, 2017.