By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist October 21, 2011 at 10:51AM
For the moment, David Dobkin's "Arthur & Lancelot" is mostly known as being the fantasy pic that killed both Bryan Singer and Guy Ritchie's competing "Excalibur" remakes at Warner Bros. With a project that was further along, WB threw their weight behind "Wedding Crashers" director David Dobkin's pic and with shooting scheduled to begin next year, they are beginning to start casting it up and as usual, a plethora of names have come out of the woodwork.
Speaking to the power of cable TV, "Game of Thrones" and "The Killing" stars Kit Harington and Joel Kinnaman (respectively) have emerged as the frontrunners, and while it's unclear who is up for Arthur or Lancelot, the duo did a screen test together in London a couple of weeks ago. The pair apparently beat out a bevy of other contenders including Sam Claflin, Dominic Cooper, Hans Matheson, Jim Sturgess, Ben Walker and Liam Hemsworth, notable in that none of these thesps are big names or proven tentpole actors. Walker and Hemsworth will find out if they've got what it takes when "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" and "The Hunger Games" are released next year (and the duo have booked other profile roles since , the former in "Paradise Lost" and the latter in "The Expendables 2"). That said, with roles in "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo," "Safe House" and "Lola Versus," Kinnaman's profile will certainly be much bigger by the time the movie lands in 2013. But it's interesting to see these lower profile names leading the pack, though we wonder if these are just Dobkin's preferences and if the studio is holding out for someone potentially bigger. Because this one ain't cheap.
Budgeted at $90 million, the film will take the classic figures of history and legend and rework them into a contemporary re-imagining. “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 said about the movie over the summer. “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.”
We're not sure about the political allusions in there, but we figure that will be buried under FX and explosions and shit. "Arthur & Lancelot" arrives on March 15, 2013