Trivia / Excalibur

  • All-Star Cast: Patrick Stewart, Liam Neeson, Gabriel Byrne, Helen Mirren, Nicol Williamson, and Ciaran Hinds. This is actually an inversion, as none of them were especially big at the time, at least not in the United States, and John Boorman chose them because they were relatively unknown and didn't want big stars to overshadow the production. Which makes this Hilarious in Hindsight.
  • Dawson Casting: Nigel Terry was 35 playing Arthur from a teenager to a 20-to-30-something king, and then finally as an old man. Similarly, 29-year old Cherie Lunghi played Guinevere from teenager to full adult queen to an old woman living out the rest of her life in quiet misery as a nun.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: John Boorman originally wanted to do a film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, compressing the trilogy into one very long film, but he couldn't get the rights to it so he made Excalibur instead. Reportedly his screen treatments sexed up Tolkien's story quite a bit, including but not limited to giving Frodo Baggins nude scenes with Arwen and Galadriel and having the House of Healing scene between Eowyn and Aragorn feel like a sex scene (as he planned to have Eowyn settle down with Aragorn, which reportedly was Tolkien's original idea). Generally the Arthurian myth sounds like it was better suited to him than Tolkien!
  • Fake Nationality: Patrick Stewart as a French King.
  • Missing Trailer Scene: The trailer has Lancelot defending Guenevere from a forest bandit. This doesn't happen in the film.
  • Real-Life Relative: Queen Igrayne and her grandson Mordred (as a boy) were played by John Boorman's daughter Katrine and son Charley. Another daughter, Telsche, played the Lady of the Lake.
  • Reality Subtext: The animosity between Merlin and Morgaine wasn't just acting. Nicol Williamson and Helen Mirren had previously co-starred in a disastrous production of Macbeth, where they couldn't stand each other. John Boorman cast them because he thought their natural animosity would be perfect. Neither realised the other would be in the film until filing started.
  • Re Cut: The original cut was three hours long. John Boorman has confirmed that the original cut exists, but he has no plans to release it.
  • Throw It In: When Uryens knights Arthur with Excalibur, he's visibly trembling from emotion. In reality the actor was shivering from the cold; they were in the castle moat.
    • Baby Arthur grabbing a hold of Igrayne's hair was a coincidence.
  • What Could Have Been:
  • Working Title: John Boorman had wanted to call this "Merlin" but CBS had a show called "Mr Merlin" so they had exclusive usage of the "Merlin" name. It began shooting as "Knights" but Ridley Scott had registered "Knight" for a medieval epic he was planning with Walter Hill as his follow- up to Film/Alien. They were already shooting before they decided on "Excalibur".
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Trivia/Excalibur