By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com November 7, 2011 at 9:21AM
King Arthur: a prestigious part to play, but not always the most fun. Played over the years by names as diverse as Richard Harris, Nigel Terry, Malcolm McDowell, Sean Connery, John Gielgud, Pierce Brosnan, Clive Owen, Justin Timberlake, and Monty Python's Graham Chapman, few of those names have truly made an impression in the part. Despite his legendary status, he can often come across as... well, kind of dull. Hopefully "Wedding Crashers" director David Dobkin has found a way to make it a little more interesting for his new version of the tale, "Arthur & Lancelot," which is gearing up over at Warner Bros, but he's certainly got some promising names in the mix.
The film cast "The Killing" star Joel Kinnaman last week as Lancelot, and according to The Hollywood Reporter, there's a few rising stars who'll test this week. Joining the previously-reported Kit Harrington, who plays Jon Snow on HBO's "Game of Thrones," are his TV half-brother Richard Madden (who plays Robb Stark on the show), Luke Evans of "Immortals" and "Tamara Drewe" fame and Toby Kebbell, who had a breakthrough in Guy Ritchie's "RockNRolla" before going on to tentpole films like "Prince of Persia" and the upcoming "Wrath of the Titans."
Clearly Dobkin isn't under duress to hire big names here, with young, cheap and experienced in swordplay seeming to be the order of the day, although the higher-profile Evans probably has an advantage -- the actor came close to taking lead roles in "The Bourne Legacy" and "The Great Gatsby" back in the summer, so he's been on the up for a while. But we imagine chemistry with Kinnaman will be more crucial than anything else, hence the testing. Also interesting to note, in what must be something of a watershed moment in the history of shortlist stories, 50% of the actors in the mix for the part are openly gay. Filming begins early next year, and we imagine we'll start to hear some names banded about for Guinevere, the woman who comes between the king and his knight, soon enough.