Once upon a time Warner Bros. was pretty gung-ho about putting together a new version of the King Arthur story. They tried to develop an Excalibur remake with director Bryan Singer, they paired Guy Ritchie up with Trainspotting writer John Hodge for another take, and they bought David Dobkin’s script Arthur & Lancelot for a cool $2m. Dobkin’s version came pretty close to getting made, and had Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington all ready to play Arthur and The Killings’ Joel Kinnaman set to be Lancelot, but ultimately things fell apart.
In trying economic times, the film’s proposed $130m budget was deemed just too much to risk, especially with a couple of actors who hadn’t been proven on the big screen stuck in the lead roles. After the deal with Warner fell apart, Dobkin was free to once again shop his script around town, but nothing much came of his efforts.
That’s reportedly changed, however. According to Deadline Malahide, Colin Farrell is now interested in the film, which gives it considerably more star power than it ever had before, and which has rekindled interest on the part of Warner Bros. If the project gets back on track Farrell would be playing Lancelot, which is considered to likely be the breakout role of the film. There’s no word on who they would be looking at to play Arthur (get Brendan Gleeson!), but Deadline does claim to have knowledge that Gary Oldman will be re-approached to play Merlin, a role he initially turned down during this film’s first go-around in pre-production.
Seeing as John Carter just underperformed at the Box Office, this might be a bad time to start trying to rekindle a big fantasy epic, but if Ferrell’s upcoming remake of Total Recall manages to hit, that would probably cancel out any such bad mojo. With visions of Colin Farrell and dollar signs dancing through studio heads, a project that’s been stuck spinning its wheels for a long time could suddenly see some pretty quick movement.