By Janeece Woodson, Staff Writer
Though the tale has been woven throughout the arts for hundreds of years, it has not been touched by anyone with the visceral, upbeat mind of Guy Ritchie, until now. King Arthur has been framed in such conflicting ways throughout literature— a noble soul, a cuckolded tyrant, and even an ordinary mildly arrogant teenager.
“It’s a story of all people; most of us can relate to this king,” said Hounsou.
“King Arthur is one version of the telling of the hero’s journey, which is one of the archetypal stories—three or four stories that we dress up different ways, that we tell over and over and over again. Storytelling by nature or historically has been the way in which we understand the human journey, and having Guy Ritchie at the helm immediately makes this fresh and original and unique because there’s nobody out there that has that vision that he has as a filmmaker and immediately you know it’s going to be cheeky and irreverent and fresh and unexpected and original.”
Djimon Hounsou, who has starred in such films as Guardians of the Galaxy, Blood Diamond, and Gladiator, takes the special role as an adaptive knight and the right-hand man of the yet-to-be-crowned King Arthur. Charlie Hunnam, who is known for Sons of Anarchy and Pacific Rim, will play the titular character.
Guy Ritchie has directed Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Revolver, and others. He is known for his high-adrenaline action sequences. The director is also notable because he did not undergo formal training in filmmaking, but learned his tricks by working his way up through the business.
Hunnam discussed how Ritchie has a much looser and animate approach to filming; though some elements are heavily structured, the atmosphere of the set is said to be quite lighthearted. The actor noted how this differs from his typical approach to roles.
“Guy said, ‘That’s all well and good, but I don’t know what we’re going to be shooting, so you’d better come ready to be a little bit more light on your feet,’” said Hunnam. “If we’re having fun, the material we get will be fun.”
The two went on discuss why they believed the film will differ from other versions of the story of King Arthur. Hounsou indicated that this story’s king will endure more hardship than previous versions of the character. Hunnam agreed.
“I firmly believe, as I think Djimon does, that anybody in this world is capable of anything. You just have to cultivate a sense of belief in yourself and know that the journey is going to be difficult and you’re going to have to endure failures, but you get knocked down five times, you get up six,” said Hunnam.
About the reasons the two actors had for choosing to be involved in such a project led by Guy Ritchie, they both seemed to agree.
“His body of work speaks by itself,” said Hounsou. “He’s becoming a quite iconic person as a young director, he’s still pretty young…”
“Guy Ritchie’s not much of a preparation man; he really has an extraordinary ability to work in real-time, and so the script for guy Is really just a blueprint and the whole thing is going to come alive on the day which is why he’s specific about the team that he puts together,” said Hunnam.
The pair of actors could not reveal a great deal about the story’s plot, or about their own characters, but they did feel that audiences will find more depth in the film than expected at first glance.
“Arthur has always historically been rendered as this very noble man who goes on this noble quest to become the noble king […] What we wanted to do was make Arthur an everyman, just somebody that everybody could relate to, and felt accessible,” Hunnam said. “The most exciting about film is that it’s a universal language so I think that people form all parts of the world and all cultures can take something from this.”
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword will be released in the United States on May 12 of this year. To view trailers or see cast information, visit warnerbros.co.uk.