For a while there it looked like Arthur & Lancelot was destined to linger in development hell for the next several years. Warner Bros. put the project in motion last year with David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers, The Change-Up) set to direct his own script. The pic landed a couple of promising leads—Game of Thrones star Kit Harington as Arthur and The Killing star Joel Kinnaman as Lancelot—but the studio abruptly put the project on hold just before its January start date to address budget issues. When Harington and Kinnaman signed on to other projects (Haringon to The Seventh Son and Kinnaman as the lead in the Robocop remake), the film looked to be in doubt given that both would have to return to their respective TV series later this year. Cue: Colin Farrell. Hit the jump for more.
Variety reports that Arthur & Lancelot is now back on with Colin Farrell in talks to star. The report doesn’t specify which role he will take, but WB seems to be happy with a more recognizable star in place. They were apparently wary of two lesser known actors toplining the film, so it looks as though they’re going the star route as both Harington and Kinnaman dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. Farrell’s casting is a bit of a surprise; a number of young actors vied for the two leads culminating in multiple screen tests and chemistry reads.
Though Dobkin has a comedy background, he’s planning on playing Arthur & Lancelot straight. He previously told Steve that he basically rebuilt the Arthur legend from the ground-up:
“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. 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.”
Though I’m a bit wary of a “realistic” take on the Arthur legend (remember King Arthur?), Farrell’s involvement is reassuring. He’s got incredible charisma and I’m interested to see what actor they choose to star alongside him. Charles Roven (The Dark Knight) and Richard Suckle (The International) of Atlas Entertainment are producing. The film was previously set for release in March of 2013, but I think it’s safe to say that date is blown. Farrell will next be seen in the reboot of Total Recall.