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KING ARTHUR

Arthur And Guinevere
From the beginning Jerry Bruckheimer and Antoine Fuqua were intent on assembling an international cast that was true to the historical strands of their story. "I felt that it was appropriate for the subject matter to try and keep it as authentic as possible,” says Jerry Bruckheimer. "One way of doing that is to have representatives from various countries be part of this story.”

In order to assemble some of the finest actors from Ireland, England, Europe, and Australia, Bruckheimer and Fuqua enlisted the services of veteran casting director Ronna Kress ("Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” "Remember the Titans”). "I wanted a whole new, fresh idea on the screen, and I wanted that reflected in the actors,” says Fuqua. "I wanted guys that were European, who were familiar with the history of the subject matter. ‘King Arthur' is their story: it's about a guy who is half-British, half-Roman. I sometimes think it hurts to see a famous face playing a role such as King Arthur when there are talented people who can give the role a certain authenticity.

"If you have a big star in the role, you're expecting Arthur to do what he does,” Fuqua explains. "With a face who's a little less well-known, you don't know what will happen to any one of them. They are much more human.”

The leading English actor Clive Owen was cast as Arthur, the commander of the Sarmatian knights. "I saw Clive in ‘Croupier' a few years ago and thought he was a really interesting and talented actor,” says Jerry Bruckheimer. "I wanted to figure out something to work with him on and then this came along and we thought it was just right for him. He has an authority and presence on screen that is just perfect for ‘King Arthur.'”

"Clive brings a lot of intensity, a lot of internal struggle, and a bit of mystery, all of which are perfect for Arthur,” says Fuqua. "I wanted a leading man who had presence, power, grace, and ability to pull it off, and when I met Clive, I just couldn't get him out of my head.”

Owen's interest was piqued not only by "King Arthur's” epic scale and narrative sweep, but by the character details and in particular the ambiguous nature of Arthur. "This movie is a journey of how Arthur changes, how he becomes a man of his own people,” Owen says. "In other words, Arthur discovers who he is. I have always seen this film as ending where the myths begin. There is a huge battle at the end of the film and it is at this point that Arthur becomes a leader and the stories really begin. So his character arc is that of a man who faces up to who he is and takes on the responsibility of himself and of his people.

"I'm intrigued by the duality of Arthur's upbringing,” says Owen. "He feels Roman, but as Rome changes and pulls out, he comes to identify with his British side more and more. As his beliefs and faith are challenged, he changes accordingly.”

English actress Keira Knightley ("Pirates of the Caribbean”) plays Guinevere, a tough, tenacious Briton who is very much a product of her time. Jerry Bruckheimer immediately suggested Knightley as the warrior. "Keira was fresh, extremely beautiful and a wonderful actress in "Pirates of the Caribbean,” he says. "She did an amazing job in that movie, it was a huge hit for us and we wanted to bring her back.” For Jerry Bruckheimer, the young woman was ideal to play the beautiful, Machiavellian Guinevere, a woman who is driven by an overwhelming ambition to liberate her people and will do just about anything to realize her goals.

"Keira is amazing,” agrees Antoine Fuqua. "She just lights up the screen. Jerry told me about her because he had worked with her on ‘Pirates of the Caribbean.' Then I met her and she was tough and funny and just a great person. When I put her in the film, she ju

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