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Trivia / King Arthur

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The myth:

  • Name's the Same: The Black Knight is a common epithet throughout fiction.
  • Recycled Script: The tale of Sir La Cote Male Taile is pretty much the exact same story as the tale of Sir Beaumains; a lowly servant becomes a knight and is given an insulting nickname by Sir Kay, they go on a quest with a damsel who mocks and degrades them endlessly, they wind up proving their worth and changing the damsel's view on them, and their true names are eventually revealed (Sir Beaumains = Sir Gareth and Sir La Cote Male Taile = Sir Breunor.) Both of these stories are told in Le Morte Darthur, so a sense of Deja Vu is inevitable upon reading them one after the other.

The film:

  • Actor-Inspired Element: Ray Winstone had boxed in his youth, so boxing was incorporated into Bors's character.
  • Box Office Bomb: King Arthur failed to make up its $120 million budget in North America, only gaining just under $52 million. It fared considerably better worldwide, though.
  • California Doubling: Shot in Ireland.
  • Creator Killer: This movie was one of several 2004 bombs that mixed together with Roy E. Disney's second Save Disney campaign and general turmoil at the Walt Disney Company to bring CEO Michael Eisner's 21-year long reign to an end. Eisner was forced out the year after this film's release in order to allow president Bob Iger to keep Pixar when they threatened to jump ship.
  • Deleted Role: Horton had a bigger part in the original film but most of his scenes ended up trimmed or cut, and he abruptly disappears from the film.
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  • Dueling Movies: Came out within a year of three other historical battle epics that were following-up on the success of Gladiator. Its competitors being Troy, Alexander, and Kingdom of Heaven.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Ioan Gruffud had to grow a beard for his role as Lancelot. But as the beard came out reddish, he had to have it painted black every day.
  • Executive Meddling: The film was originally envisioned and shot as an R-rated film with corresponding graphic violence. However, after the picture had been edited, Disney executives demanded it be changed to a PG-13, hence necessitating a lot of effects work to remove the blood from the battle scenes. Antoine Fuqua and Jerry Bruckheimer were not at all pleased with this decision and fought against it, but were ultimately overruled. They were both disappointed with the theatrical release and later released a much more violent Director's Cut on DVD. However, according to Fuqua's commentary track, even the Director's Cut version is considerably less violent than his ideal version. Ironically, when the film was released, one of the biggest criticisms was that the battles were mysteriously bloodless, hence undermining any sense of realism.
  • Fake Brit:
    • Irish Pat Kinevane as Horton.
    • Australian Joel Edgerton as Gawain and Danish Mads Mikkelsen as Tristan.
    • Downplayed by the Welsh Ioan Gruffudd, who puts on an English accent to play Lancelot.
  • Fake Nationality:
  • Follow the Leader: Made after Gladiator made Sword & Sandal films big again and the Lord of the Rings film trilogy popularized Medieval European Fantasy-style films. The film, set in 467 AD, straddles the two genres since it take place just a few years before the fall of Rome in 476 AD, which is usually considered the beginning of the Middle Ages. The connections with the first of those films extends to them even sharing a writer and the same composer.
  • Throw It In!: Producers worried that there wasn't enough humor in the film, so they added the scene where Bors reveals that his bastard children have numbers instead of names.
  • Uncredited Role: John Lee Hancock did an uncredited rewrite.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The original ending of the film was replaced after test audiences thought it was too depressing. Instead of Arthur and Guinevere getting married and the knights who died getting reincarnated as horses, it shows the graves of the knights and a boy trying to pull out the sword from one's grave like Arthur once did. Arthur tells him that his time will come.
    • Antoine Fuqa wanted Daniel Craig for the lead role, but he was vetoed by Jerry Bruckheimer, because he was convinced that Clive Owen would be the next James Bond. Russell Crowe, Mel Gibson and Hugh Jackman also passed on it.
    • Michael Bay was originally set to direct, but left the project due to budget concerns. Bay had developed the project for over 5 years.
    • In David Franzoni's original script, the love triangle so central to the original myth between Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot was a major part of the plot, as it is in most filmic adaptations of the Arthurian legend. However, during his research for the film, Fuqua came to believe that there was no truth to the love triangle aspect of the story and had Franzoni rewrite the script without it.
    • Stellan Skarsgaard turned down the role of Cerdic about three times before finally accepting. Antoine Fuqua didn't consider any other actor for the part.

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