The best directors in the business manage to put their unique creative stamp on a title, no matter how complex or otherwise the movie is. In the case of 48-year old Englishman Guy Ritchie, that is very much the case as the man who brought us Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, Revolver, Sherlock Holmes and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. prepares to reinvent a classic courtesy of the 2017 reboot King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.
Before that film makes a debut on May 12 in the US, Ritchie spoke in depth to Variety about a number of topics, including his drive to make more features, his preferred tone and what projects remain on the horizon.
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Having seen so many version of King Arthur occur before on screens big and small, was it a challenge attempting to follow those interpretations?
“It didn’t occur to me that it was a dusty or unexciting title,” Ritchie replied. “To me I fancy the challenge of — a bit like Sherlock Holmes — I thought, ‘Oh, I’m familiar with that. I think I can do something with that.'”
So accustomed to the underworld of British gangsters, how did he feel working in the realm of knights and swords?
“It was a challenge,” Ritchie says. “(Could) I go into the epic fantasy genre and create something that feels different and fresh? My principal concern was, ‘Would it translate — my vision, if you will — or would it congest the experience?'”
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As talk has cooled down on the link between Mel Gibson and Suicide Squad 2, Ritchie understands that DC and Warner Brothers are on the search for a filmmaker. If it were not for a scheduling conflict, he would throw his hat into the ring.
"I quite fancy doing Suicide Squad 2 because I felt like I could do a good job with it," he asserts. "I can't do it because I'm doing something else...but I felt like I could really do something with that."
Busy with a live-action remake of Aladdin, Ritchie is aware of the cultural stereotypes that the original was criticized for.
“Decency is decency. Humanity is humanity," he argues. "I think the film will dictate exactly what the tone is supposed to be and who’s supposed to be in it. You just don’t want to feel like you’re muscled into it, because you’re bullied into it. It will be what it will be, because it should be what it should be. It will have its own authentic voice, and you don’t want that voice contaminated by a PC army.”