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Charlie Hunnam Says at ‘King Arthur’ Premiere That ‘Excalibur’ Inspired His Filmmaking Journey

Variety logo Variety 5/9/2017 Dave McNary
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Hollywood transformed into Britain in the Middle Ages on Monday night at the world premiere of Warner Bros.’ “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” at the TCL Chinese.

Charlie Hunnam fondly recalled watching John Boorman’s 1981 film “Excalibur” as a young boy growing up in England.

“I watched it about 15 times when I was six or seven, and I was a little bit young to understand some of the big things that they were exploring — big questions, eternal questions,” he admitted. “I don’t think I was cognizant of that beyond just the action and adventure. But it was the first time I looked beyond the action and wondered how you would put action scenes together.”

Hunnam plays the legendary king in the new film. He said that “Excalibur,” which starred Nigel Terry in role of Arthur, had a profound influence on his artistic life. “It was the one that I just latched on to and started me on that journey of exploration of what filmmaking is all about.”

Djimon Hounsou , who plays Arthur’s ally Sir Bedivere, said that “King Arthur” has a contemporary feel with racial integration among the key characters.

“I think it’s one of the big attributes of the story and it resonates about what’s going on in the world,” he admitted. “There were a lot of Moors during that period that were so instrumental. No one really talks about that.”

Director Guy Ritchie shot the film in 2015 and co-wrote the script with Joby Harold and Lionel Wigram. He noted that while the movie is meant to be accessible to audiences, it was also crucial to keep in mind the original King Arthur legend that dated back to the 5th and 6th centuries.

“You’ve got to honor the essence of the narrative for the story to resonate,” Ritchie added.

The premiere festivities kicked off with costumed knights arriving on horses on Hollywood Boulevard.

The after-party at the Roosevelt Hotel featured plenty of coats of arms decorations and several large swords in stones. “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” opens May 12.

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