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Charlie Hunnam stars in KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD, directed by Guy Ritchie – in theaters March 24, 2017
Acclaimed filmmaker Guy Ritchie brings his dynamic style to the epic fantasy action adventure “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.” Starring Charlie Hunnam in the title role, the film is an iconoclastic take on the classic Excalibur myth, tracing Arthur’s journey from the streets to the throne.
When the child Arthur’s father is murdered, Vortigern (Jude Law), Arthur’s uncle, seizes the crown. Robbed of his birthright and with no idea who he truly is, Arthur comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city. But once he pulls the sword from the stone, his life is turned upside down and he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy…whether he likes it or not.
Starring with Hunnam (FX’s “Sons of Anarchy”) and Oscar nominee Law (“Cold Mountain,” “The Talented Mr. Ripley”) are Astrid Bergès-Frisbey (“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”) as Mage; Oscar nominee Djimon Hounsou (“Blood Diamond,” “In America”) as Bedivere; Aidan Gillen (HBO’s “Game of Thrones”) as Goosefat Bill; and Eric Bana (“Star Trek”) as Arthur’s father, King Uther Pendragon.
Guy Ritchie (“The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” the “Sherlock Holmes” films) directed the film from a screenplay is by Joby Harold (“Awake”) and Guy Ritchie & Lionel Wigram, story by David Dobkin (“The Judge”) and Joby Harold. The film is produced by Oscar winner Akiva Goldsman (“A Beautiful Mind,” “I Am Legend”), Joby Harold, Tory Tunnell (“Awake,” “Holy Rollers”), and “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” and “Sherlock Holmes” producers Steve Clark-Hall, Guy Ritchie and Lionel Wigram. David Dobkin and Bruce Berman are executive producers.
Ritchie’s behind-the-scenes creative team included two-time Oscar-nominated director of photography John Mathieson (“Gladiator,” “The Phantom of the Opera”), Oscar-nominated production designer Gemma Jackson (“Finding Neverland”), editor James Herbert (“The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” “Edge of Tomorrow”), costume designer Annie Symons (Masterpiece Theater’s “Great Expectations”), makeup and hair designer Christine Blundell (“Mr. Turner,” the “Sherlock Holmes” films), and Oscar-nominated VFX Supervisor Nick Davis (“The Dark Knight”). The music is by Daniel Pemberton (“The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”).
Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, a Weed Road/Safehouse Pictures Production, a Ritchie/Wigram Production, a Guy Ritchie film, “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.” Slated for release on March 24, 2017, the film will be distributed in North America by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, and in select territories by Village Roadshow Pictures.
I am super excited to see Charlie as King Arthur. This version may not be historic in terms of Arthurian history, but it is historic for a theater release. I don’t think any Arthurian scholars, myself included, are ever happy with someone outside our circle telling their rendering of the Arthurian legends and/or history, but we should at least try to enjoy it. Next March I will try to forget what I know, I’ll walk into the theater as an enthusiast instead of an Arthurian scholar and enjoy watching this version of King Arthur.
Nay, I may not so, for I have promised to do the battle to the uttermost by the faith of my body, while me lasteth the life, and therefore I had liefer to die with honour than to live with shame; and if it were possible for me to die an hundred times, I had liefer to die so oft than yield me to thee; for though I lack weapon, I shall lack no worship, and if thou slay me weaponless that shall be thy shame.
~King Arthur to Sir Accolon, 117
There are many examples throughout Le Morte d’ Arthur of knights refusing to yield out of honor. Such examples provide strong instance of the fame that knights pursue. Here, Arthur will not yield in a fight, even though he is weaponless. He knows there is some trickery at hand, but he also knows that the lives of the knights he is fighting for hang in the balance. His honor is more important to him than his life; at the same time, he would rather die than be shamed by yielding. Thankfully, Nimue steps in to help Arthur regain his sword, suggesting that honor breeds reward.
Arthur was the first born son of King Uther Pendragon and heir to the throne. However these were very troubled times and Merlin, a wise magician, advised that the baby Arthur should be raised in a secret place and that none should know his true identity.
As Merlin feared, when King Uther died there was great conflict over who should be the next king. Merlin used his magic to set a sword in a stone. Written on the sword, in letters of gold, were these words: “Whoso pulleth out this sword of this stone is the rightwise born king of all England.” Of course all the contenders for the throne took their turn at trying to draw the sword, but none could succeed. Arthur, quite by chance, withdrew the sword for another to use in a tournament. Following this he became King.
He gathered Knights around him and fought back against the Saxons who, since the Romans left Britain, were slowly but surely taking the country over. After many great battles and a huge victory at Mount Badon the Saxons’ advance was halted.
Arthur’s base was at a place called Camelot. Here he built a strong castle. His knights met at a Round Table. They carried out acts of chivalry such as rescuing damsels in distress and fought against strange beasts. They also searched for a lost treasure, which they believed would cure all ills – this was the ‘Quest for the Holy Grail’.
Under the guidance of Merlin, Arthur had obtained a magical sword from The Lady Of The Lake. This sword was called ‘Excalibur” and with this weapon he vanquished many foes.
Queen Guinevere, Arthur’s beautiful wife brought romance to the story while his equally beautiful half sister Morgan le Fay added a dark side.
Unfortunately, as peace settled over the country things turned sour within the court of Camelot and civil war broke out. In the final battle at Camlan both Arthur and Mordred, Arthur’s traitorous nephew, were mortally wounded. Arthur was set upon a boat and floated down river to the isle of Avalon. Here his wounds were treated by three mysterious maidens. His body was never found and many say that he rests under a hill with all his knights – ready to ride forth and save the country again.