Eric Bana, Jude Law and Guy Ritchie – King Arthur

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INTERVIEW WITH

Eric Bana, Jude Law and Guy Ritchie

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While Marvel may wish that I was saying this about the latest Avengers film, or Spider-Man, there is little doubt that one of the most eagerly anticipated comic book movies of 2017 is Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2. The succsess of the original movie even seemed to take Marvel itself by surprise… after all who expected a film based on characters that only the hardened comic book fans knew about was going to become just a raging juggernaut. Despite audiences at first raising an eyebrow at the film which contained a talking tree and a racoon the original Guardians film became one of the Marvel’s biggest pay days at the box office.

Now Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 has landed and to the producer’s credit they’ve been able to keep director James Gunn at the helm while the core cast of Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel and Dave Bautista also remains.

Aside from box office success Guardians also announced Chris Pratt as a genuine star. The one- time funny man was now a bankable star – something he has continued with Jurassic World and Passengers. But even he admits the rise of the first film even surprised the cast. “I think that everybody was at least a little bit surprised at the amount of success that the first movie had,” he says seriously. “I know that in making the movie we all thought we were doing something special and it was a great script but you just never know with projects that you are on. And this being an untested title and not one of Marvel’s quote-un-quote ‘first tier’ superhero stories… you know we were surprised.”

Pratt is also well aware of the huge gamble that Marvel took having him play the lead role of Star-Lord. “It’s hard looking back now and seeing what Star-Lord has become through the collaboration of James and myself working on it and what it was to begin with,: he says.

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“It is hard to imagine the differences, but what appealed to me the most was that this was a character that I could bring my own personal brand of humor to and bring that into the character. 

Bana says that Ritchie’s take on the King Arthur mythology shows its hand very early on. “We arrive with very little back story,” he says. “That’s nice in a way because you don’t get bogged down with over-playing and over-stating with what has happened between Uther and his brother Vortigern prior to that. It’s almost like we arrive mid-beat of something that has already begun so there is not time to waste we are pretty much straight into the action and Uther having to defend his people. I enjoy that side of it.”

Jude Law agrees but says his character has a very different handle on the story at hand. “Vortigern is on the throne,” he says forcefully. “From Vortigern’s point-of-view he is dominating and ruling the country with fear and also order as he sees it. He’s also in the middle of purging the country of the old ways and harnessing power solely for himself. I think I come to this knowing fully what Vortigern believes. You there is the talk all throughout the early part of the film of the prophecy of the King returning – the righteous King. I think Vortigern believes that he is the righteous King and he thinks this whipper-snapper Arthur – this peasant can’t possibly add or bring anything to the throne that he hasn’t already considered or answered.”

…continued below…

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“I enjoy going from very small films to big films. I think every actor does. To be on a film set in the U.K. with six hundred people on set and one hundred horses. The scale has to be embraced and as experience it is always fun to be on a set like that, it goes back to the monster movies like Cleopatra and Laurence Of Arabia and what have you…. it’s exhilarating to be part of. I think it is going to be a huge, physical and visual spectacle. I think it’s going to have the enjoyable signature of Guy Ritchie over it – which has humour and banter and swagger. Plus John Mathieson is a sensational director of photography so it is going to be a visual feast.”

While many punters were surprised that Charlie Hunnam landed the lead role of King Arthur… Jude Law wasn’t. “He’s a great actor and he’s someone that comes with his head screwed on and has a great work ethic. He is collaborative and open to ideas. He’s not scared, he’s nice and he a Guy have talked a lot. Leads and heroic leads at that can be tricky territory – you don’t want to be so good that you are a goody two-shoes, but you don’t want to be so bad that people are asking why is he the good guy and what I think they have come up with is plausible and attractive and cocky, smart every man who has greatness thrust upon him and he has to discover his own abilities through the journey of the film.”

The man himself Guy Ritchie says it was no easy feat bringing Arthur to the screen again. “It was actually hard work to create someone that was interesting enough but not earnest enough. You know King Arthur is a good guy which is a problem because good guys tend to be boring guys. “

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“So, we made him not so good and we gave him the journey, not necessarily of becoming good but a journey that is more about transcendence of self, which doesn’t necessarily make you good but it makes you interesting. So our job was to make Arthur interesting. King Arthur is really a story for every man that can transcend his limited small self of a victim to that of a King. The problem with the Arthurian legend is that is so dense and within two hours you have to try and condense all those characters. It just meant it was too rich of a stew to eat, but if you take out some of the ingredients and put in some of the fancy aspect – they were the fundamental aspects that first made the film possible to make and secondly it just added to the entertainment factor. I like entering new genres so it was a new genre for me and that was refreshing.”

Like Law Ritchie is also full of praise for Charlie Hunnam. “Charlie and I understood what we wanted King Arthur to be, I had a vision and he worked within that vision to bring in his own person. But we understood the frequency of a person if you will and we had a short-hand to that so we both knew what we wanted to extract from that character and he was just extremely efficient about making that manifest.”

King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword will be in cinemas on May 18th. It will be reviewed at heavymag.com.au

Written by Dave Griffiths

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