Am I the only one who remembers the Jerry Bruckheimer “King Arthur”?
Warner Bros. is definitely hoping to find something that will stand in for “Harry Potter,” something that gives them a long-term recurring franchise, something that gets viewers hooked early and that keeps them on the hook for a decade or so. This is, of course, the model that every studio is chasing at the moment, but it must be frustrating for Warner Bros. because they had one of the biggest of all time, and they managed it just right.
Part of that, of course, was thanks to the involvement of Lionel Wigram, who was also the producer who brought them their “Sherlock Holmes” movies with Guy Ritchie directing Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. While they did get a second movie out of that series, it doesn’t seem like there’s any real urgency to making another one.
Now there’s word that Guy Ritchie may be onboard to direct a tentpole fantasy film that is designed to kick off a six-movie retelling of the King Arthur legend with a script by Joby Harold.
They were talking not long ago about making a King Arthur film from a David Dobkin script called “Arthur & Lancelot,” and they were looking at Colin Farrell to play Lancelot with Gary Oldman as Merlin. They ended up getting Joel Kinnaman attached as Lancelot instead, and Kit Harington would have been Arthur, but they never got the budget to a place where it made sense to them. I know several filmmakers have taken a crack at getting an “Excalibur” remake off the ground, and Bryan Singer in particular was crazy for it at one point.
What’s not clear right now is whether or not this new Guy Ritchie film has anything to do with the version that John Hodge wrote for Wigram and Ritchie before the Dobkin version sidelined them. Warner must be feeling good about what they’ve seen so far of “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”, and I’m curious to see if that kickstarts a new series for Henry cavil and Armie Hammer, and if so, how that impacts Ritchie’s involvement with these King Arthur movies. The other big question I have is whether or not there’s an appetite from the audience for this particular story, especially when it’s dragged out for six whole films.
“The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” arrives in theaters later this year, most likely.