Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur won’t boast the talents of Idris Elba after all, but the film’s cast is coming along nicely nonetheless; Ritchie has named Pacific Rim and Sons of Anarchy beefcake Charlie Hunnam as his number one choice to play the legendary ruler of the Britons, while Astrid Bergès-Frisbey (Pirates of the Caribean: On Stranger Tides, I Origins) signed on to play Guinevere just this past September.
Elba or no Elba, that’s not a bad start, particularly considering that Ritchie went from eyeing the project to beginning the casting process within just a few months. And now he’s scored the latest acquisition to his growing troupe: Jude Law, fresh off his stay at The Grand Budapest Hotel and his leading turn in Dom Hemingway. Law, it seems, has been tapped to play the big bad next to Hunnam’s Arthur, though details of Law’s villainy are currently being held in reserve.
The report comes to us from Variety. Regrettably, there’s little else to be made of Law’s newfound involvement with King Arthur; he’s the heavy, and that’s more or less the end of that. The big question about his casting, of course, is longevity. Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow mean to make Ritchie’s King Arthur movie (the first of which is still being unofficially titled as Knights of the Round Table: King Arthur) into a six entry franchise, with each entry telling a part of the story.
Ritchie’s flagship installment hits theaters in 2016, so that long-term plan means we’ll be hearing about Arthur and his knights well past 2020 (assuming that box office permits the franchise’s continued existence). So how does Law figure into the studio’s designs on this germinating sextet of blockbusters? Will he just serve as the antagonist of the first picture, or is his an integral role that will span the passage of more than one King Arthur movie? Examining the full lexicon of Arthurian tales, there are any number of nemeses Law could end up portraying; one of many Red Knights, for example, or the many Black Knights.
The Red/Black Knights as characters are generally transient in nature and thus they don’t really seem like they could serve as proper villains for even a single movie. (One exception: Sir Ironside, a vicious brute who is eventually brought around and becomes a member of Arthur’s Round Table.) If Law is up to play a real-deal malefactor, though, it seems far more likely that he’d play a man of power like Galehaut (another opponent whom Arthur eventually befriends), Claudus, or Lucius Tiberius.
Whoever Law ends up depicting, he’ll be a solid to the film’s burgeoning line-up; given his proclivities as an actor, it’s tempting to peg him as more the nefarious emperor type, but that’s just speculative. Knights of the Round Table: King Arthur (if that is indeed the movie’s real name) will also reunite him with Ritchie after their work together on Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, so there’s that, too.
We’ll see how the film shapes up from here.
King Arthur hits theaters July 22nd, 2016.