By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist July 25, 2011 at 8:24AM
Snow White, Hansel & Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood and now, Arthur and Lancelot. Fables and fairy-tales continue to get Hollywood studio types excited and when Warner Bros. dropped $2 million last month for David Dobkin's "Arthur & Lancelot" they weren't messing around. As is usual, without a cast or firm start date nailed down, the film already has a release date so Dobkin will have to get his motor running.
Let's get our calendars and highlighters as "Arthur & Lancelot" now lands on March 15, 2013, one week after another fairy-tale movie, Sam Raimi's "Oz: The Great And Powerful" is being released in theaters. So what has the studio so excited? Speaking with Collider recently, Dobkin compared it to one franchise that undoubtedly put dollar signs in the eyes of the suits. "...it’s kinda put like somewhere between 'Sherlock Holmes' and, I don’t know what, I don’t know what you would call it. I loved 'Excalibur' as a kid I just never, you know I watch it as an adult [and] it’s hard for it to hold up because of the special effects and all that...you know the great thing about fantasy films now [is] all this fantasy stuff and digital effects have finally had their moment when you can create those worlds for real. The opportunity’s never been this cool, and so it’s really exciting as an audience member and as a filmmaker to jump in that arena and get to play in there."
"I pulled the legend apart. I only kept a few things. I kept certain characters, I recreated the entire launch of the legend and why it starts the way that it starts, I don’t want to give away too much but it’s always had a flaw," Dobkin revealed about his upcoming film. "I pulled the flaws out, I reinvented the characters as grounded characters. I took a much more realistic and grounded approach towards everybody, you know why would this character be this way and why would this character be that way? You know Arthur’s superpower is compassion and vision. I will tell you this, the whole thing is wrapped around the birth of democracy as a concept and it’s positing Arthur as the first man to say all men are created equal."
It certainly sounds ambitious and perhaps even character driven (as far as tentpoles go), but we're mostly curious to see how Dobkin -- until now known for comedies like "Wedding Crashers," "Shanghai Knights" and "Fred Claus" -- adapts to a big budget (it's priced around $90 million) special effects heavy film. Relax boys and girls, this won't be in 3D and Dobkin told Collider that January was a tentative start date which seems about right. The next question is who to get to play the titular leads. At any rate, it certainly seems that Warner Bros. is very excited about period based actioners, and if they can have another "Sherlock Holmes" on their hands, the investment will be worth it. [Deadline]