Pajiba report that Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes, Snatch) has been hired by Warner Bros. to direct Warren Ellis’ King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable origin movie Excalibur.
A treatment is greenlit and it could well be his next project after a Sherlock Holmes sequel. Hollywood Gang Productions are producing.
Last year, we reported that Bryan Singer had slowly been developing a remake of John Boorman’s 1981 cult classic Arthurian movie Excalibur, ironically also at Warner Bros (via Legendary Pictures), but with Jack and the Giant Killer, his return to the X-Men franchise and his Battlestar Galatica reboot in development – he hasn’t even gotten around to hiring a writer yet for his Arthur picture. It’s little more than an idea at this stage.
(After the jump, talk of a third Arthur movie in development)…
Warner Bros. clearly see a King Arthur movie as a potential tentpole release and aren’t waiting on Singer, not when Ellis has a treatment complete and can attach someone like Ritchie to helm. The next task is to hire a writer for the project.
Coincidentally, The L.A. Times reported on Friday that Slyvain White (The Losers, Stomp the Yard) was in talks to board Pendragon, another King Arthur origin movie, this one written by newcomers Lee Shipman and Brian McGreevy.
Their pitch is setup at New Regency is a Star Trek origin take on the property as Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot etc meet each other for the first time at Camelot.
Obviously, only one Arthur movie will eventually see the light of day at Warner Bros, and it’ll probably be Ritchie/Ellis’ as it’s further down the road and Singer’s slate is full right now. Slyvain White’s Pendragon at New Regency, with it being an origin movie, will be in a race against time with WB, as Hollywood suggests if you’re second to the finish line (Infamous) – you don’t usually stand a chance.
Recent King Arthur movies include the ultra-boring Antonie Fuqua movie of 2004 that starred Keira Knightley, Clive Owen and Ioan Grufford and was marketed as being the true tale, and none of the legend – and The Last Legion, a 2007 flop that starred Colin Firth and Ben Kingsley – which also purported to be a new take on the Arthurian legend featuring Roman soldiers.