Category: King Arthur
How did you come to work together?
DJIMON HOUNSOU: The call came in, and my agent said, “Charlie Hunnam,” “The guy from the biker show?” “Yeah,” my agents said. “He’s nice. He’s really cool. You’ll like him!” That was it. I came and met Charlie and it was a great rapport. Some people you just meet and have an affinity for. [There’s] no ego. It was a nice rapport.
CHARLIE HUNNAM: We did something strange and wonderful. 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.
HOUNSOU: I landed the night before and I got here and met quickly for wardrobe, and I [heard] we had a video shoot the next morning. So I was highly stressed to say the least.
HUNNAM: But we came down really well right away. As soon as I came up and shook your hand I was like, “Ah, this motherfucker’s cool.” [Laughs.]
We’ve seen many versions of the King Arthur story. This one has a contemporary sensibility. Can you talk about what we’ll be seeing that we haven’t seen before?
HOUNSOU: The one obvious thing that you’ll see more of in this story is that it’s really about the Knights of the Round Table. How all of those knights came to make the king who he is.
HUNNAM: : As you would imagine, it’s the origin story. It’s the sort of Arthur origin story, of his rise to the throne. 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.
Was it intimidating to take on a role that has such a history to it?
HUNNAM: No, if you think about that stuff you’ll completely get head-fucked. So I just don’t think about that at all. I just try to get to know the character on my own terms. 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. I’d read The Once and Future King years ago, and I’ve always loved this world. But I decided to just try to forget everything I’d ever seen, and just come in with it fresh, and not feel that pressure of having to do justice to this beloved story. It just felt like it was much healthier and more fun and more exciting and more free just to approach it as though it was a completely original story and a completely original character; and not feel beholden to any of the shit you’d seen before, you know?
Can you elaborate on Guy shooting the whole film in four hours on a stage?
HUNNAM: I think there were several elements as to why it was useful to him. First and foremost it was sort of like a table read, but where he could actually see everything edited. Sort of like an elevated table read. Just to see the pace and the tone and a little bit of the dynamics between the characters. So that was the pre-production benefit of it. As we’ve gone on and they’ve been assembling different sequences that we’ve been shooting, we’ve been able to fill in the gaps with that stuff. So from about halfway into the filming they’ve had the whole film sort of edited with those sections that we hadn’t shot yet filled in with that four-hour thing. Which has been really interesting and helpful to Guy. He’s been going back and rewatching the film quite a lot. I’m sure if you talk to him there would have been other benefits too. But they were the obvious big ones. Continue reading
The live chat originally took place on February 21st. You can watch it below in case you missed it.
“From nothing comes a king,” promises this new trailer for Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, and the filmmaker’s certainly found a new way into the Arthurian mythos. Starring Charlie Hunnam as the man with the Excalibur, King Arthur looks more action-packed and stylish than we’re used to seeing in our ancient English folklore.
The clip, which is set to air during today’s AFC/NFC broadcasts, opens with Hunnam’s Arthur intoning, “I am here now because of you – you created me.” Who the “you” is remains something of a mystery, which presumably will be answered when the film hits theaters May 12.
In addition to Hunnam, King Arthur stars Jude Law as his power-grabbing uncle, and Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen and Eric Bana. Ritchie directs from a screenplay by Joby Harold and Ritchie & Lionel Wigram, with a story by David Dobkin and Joby Harold. The film is produced by Akiva Goldsman, Joby Harold, Tory Tunnell, and Steve Clark-Hall, Ritchie and Lionel Wigram. David Dobkin and Bruce Berman are executive producers.
The film will be distributed in North America by Warner Bros. Pictures and in select territories by Village Roadshow Pictures.
I’ve added high quality digital scans of Charlie from the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly magazine.
Back in the days of yore — specifically July 2015 — EW brought you the first look at Charlie Hunnam as a gritty, wisecracking sovereign in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. A year and a half later, fans are still waiting to see the former Sons of Anarchy star pull the sword from that stone.
EW caught up with director Guy Ritchie, who’s putting the finishing touches on the special effects for the film (set for release on May 12), to talk about the delay and how he planned to make King Arthur a hero audiences in 2017 will care about.
We last spoke about a year and a half ago. Where are you in the process right now?
As of five minutes ago, it was the last visual effects meeting I had, so I am at the end of it, as of five minutes ago. It has gone on for some time.
The release date shifted three different times. What was the main reason for the date changing?
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. That’s the only reason.
Did the shift allow you to do anything other than take more time with the special effects?
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.
This King Arthur started as three different projects, including one you were developing. What was different about your initial project?
This is the one, essentially, except in this one we’ve got 300-foot elephants. Though really, that’s the only difference. It’s the same story, but this one has more of an element of fantasy in it, which is consistent within the tone, but other than that, it’s pretty much the same story.
Your big idea was to bring this guy down to the street level, right?
Yeah. 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.
What makes it a hard genre to crack?
All genres are hard to crack if you’re familiar with a particular genre. It’s easy for a filmmaker to stay within the genre he’s familiar with. It’s more challenging when you get outside of that. You have to use reference points that you’re sympathetic to. What is a reference point to King Arthur that you’re sympathetic to. The only thing I could think of is elements of Excalibur. There wasn’t anything to copy, right? I have opinions about what they got right, what they didn’t get right. So now you’re going, “Well, you have to run that gauntlet. Are you funny? Are you unfunny? Are you funny and serious?” All of that takes a while to find your tone and your voice, and it’s challenging, like in Sherlock Holmes. That was a genre I hadn’t tackled before, so you have to find a voice within that. So it’s challenging, and you doubt yourself. Then you’re confident and you doubt yourself and you’re confident again. For me, I’m trying to think of a film in the genre that I really like…. And I’m quite quiet on that. There isn’t too many. There are elements within different films that I really like, but as a whole film, there’s not one I can think of.
Do you think audience expectations have changed in the last 10 or 15 years?
Yes. Film, like everything else, is subject to fashion. If you watch how films were made 15 years ago and watch how they’re being made now, the tonality is totally different. We’ve moved toward technically exponentially, so you can get away with visual effects from 15 years ago. But you have a broader tapestry, which means you can be more ambitious about the visual effects. In turn, it affects everything else. Once you change the tone and rhythm of one thing, it affects the tone and rhythm of everything else.
What did having Charlie Hunnam mean for that task, of updating Arthur?
To be fair to Charlie, Charlie won the role because he paid for his own flight. I wasn’t even thinking about Charlie. He wanted to be screen tested, and he won it, as did Astrid [Berges-Frisby]. They won it through the good, old-fashioned route.
What did you need from the guy who was going to be your Arthur?
I need someone who was going to understand my vision and have a similar disposition. I needed to realize that we were going to be on the same page, so that anything I said was going to mean something to him. I needed him to trust me. Those things were conspicuous in Charlie.
You can read the full interview with Guy Ritchie over at EW.com