By Kevin P. Sullivan
Updated July 24, 2015 at 05:41 PM EDT
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MARC HOM for EW

But why is that? In terms of universal recognition, King Arthur is somewhere between Sherlock Holmes and Santa Claus. Shouldn’t the tales of his adventures translate to film rather easily?

Guy Ritchie has a theory.

The Snatch director just wrapped shooting on King Arthur, the first film in what Warner Bros. hopes to be a series of films about the Knight of the Roundtable, and he has a pretty simple explanation for why past movies about the character haven’t totally worked.

Daniel Smith

“I think where the pitfall has often been is trying to make King Arthur bland and nice, and nice and bland. The two qualities make rather compatible bed companions,” Ritchie told EW on set. “Unfortunately, they’re not interesting to watch. Luke Skywalker was always the most uninteresting character in Star Wars because he’s the good guy. Good guys are boring.”

In short, King Arthur has a Superman problem. He’s always good, always noble, and rarely conflicted. A fix for that, as Ritchie posits with his take on the character, is to bring him down a peg. His Arthur starts out as far from nobility as possible. He’s an orphan raised by prostitutes in the streets of 5th century London. “That King Arthur was a good guy from the beginning,” Ritchie said. “Our King Arthur is not a good guy from the beginning.

In other words, he’s got room to grow, a key for Charlie Hunnam, the man who would be king in this case. “If somebody is walking around with noble aspirations and just looking for a vehicle to show how f–king noble they are and then they find out that they’re king of England, oh wonderful! We’re off to the races,” Hunnam said. “But it’s all a bit boring and Arthur looks like a bit of a c–t.”

Well, that’s a way to put it.

To continue reading the cover story on King Arthur, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands Friday.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

type
  • Movie
mpaa
  • PG-13
runtime
  • 126 minutes
director
  • Guy Ritchie

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