Martin Lawrence, Black Knight
Credit: Black Knight: Nicola Goode

Director Gil Junger follows up his hit shakespeare update, ”10 Things I Hate About You,” with a riff on Twain’s ”A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.” But he initially planned to pass on the comedy, which finds a Medieval World theme-park employee (Martin Lawrence) getting conked unconscious and waking up in a royal mess. ”I figured I’d read 30 pages of another stupid comedy,” he says. ”By the end, my hands were shaking. It was weird.”

No weirder than seeing theater-bred thespian (and ”Full Monty” man) Tom Wilkinson swapping quips with the notorious improviser. ”A trained middle-aged English actor and the tradition Martin comes from — couldn’t be more different,” admits Wilkinson. ”But once you’ve worked opposite Vanessa Redgrave, you’re ready for anything.”

As for Lawrence’s reputation for being a set spoiler? ”You have to appreciate and respect what Martin needs to do to be comfortable and funny. He is, after all, the star of the film,” Junger says. ”So you do what you can to make Martin fly, because when he hits it, he’s truly incredible.”

Black Knight
  • Movie
  • 95 minutes