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KING ARTHUR

The Knights
Welsh actor Ioan Gruffudd plays Lancelot, Arthur's right-hand man and deadly killer. "Lancelot doesn't know anything else except being trained to be a killer,” says Gruffudd. "He is incredibly loyal, he's passionate and arrogant and cocky. He knows that he is incredibly skillful with his swords. I also believe that he is honest, he does show fear, and he is incredibly disappointed and torn between his loyalty to Arthur and his freedom when they have to go on this last mission. Because of his love for Arthur, he does start to grasp what Arthur is about and why he is committed to going on this final assignment.”

"Lancelot is Arthur's knight of knights,” says Owen, "and closer to Arthur than any of the others. If Arthur is always thinking about the bigger picture, his idealistic view of the way the world could be, Lancelot is the grounded one, the realist, always questioning Arthur. He even questions whether Arthur should be asking the knights to go on this last mission – but, of course, he follows Arthur nonetheless.”

Ray Winstone plays the pugilistic Bors, a fiercesome fighter, who is also the veteran of the pack: the oldest of the knights. "His specialty is hand-to-hand combat,” says Winstone. "He is down and dirty and all that fancy swordplay is really his thing. He fights with his axe and his fists. He likes getting in there but he is getting a bit old. He is slowing up a bit, a lot like me and he hurts a lot more. Bors has 5 children and 3 wives and could be kind of a big shot in his own town.”

In casting of the remaining knights, the filmmakers turned to Hugh Dancy ("Ella Enchanted”) as Galahad, Joel Edgerton ("Ned Kelly”) as Gawain, Mads Mikkelsen ("Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself”) as Tristan, and Ray Stevenson ("At Home With the Braithwaites”) as Dagonet. "All these guys are great actors,” observes Antoine Fuqua.

For Jerry Bruckheimer and Antoine Fuqua, these knights are the kernel of the story: specialized killing machines who are prepared to give up their lives for each other and Arthur. Each knight has his own story, but as a unit they are virtually unstoppable.

"At that time, in the fifth century, the knights were the closest things to a police force,” says Antoine Fuqua. "Then you have these guys, the ‘Magnificent Seven' or the ‘Dirty Dozen' or whatever you want to call them. These knights are tough guys and they are unpredictable as well. They would be walking around armed all the time, not knowing what is going to happen at any moment. They live in a world lit by fire, and they are out there in the elements. Rome came in and civilized the area by building these forts and Hadrian's Wall, but once you are outside that wall, you're free game.”

The Newcastle-born actor Ray Stevenson was cast as the formidable Dagonet: a traditionalist with a strong code of honor. "Dagonet comes from the old order of knights,” he says. "He knows that Arthur is the future; without him as a leader, they would just be a band of mercenaries. Dagonet is a quiet observer of things and he has a sense of place and time. He knows that we are reaching a major fulcrum in history but doesn't know what it is. He is someone who believes more in action than dialogue. Dagonet is a consummate warrior even down to the clothes he wears. You get hold of someone's face and can smash it into his studded jacket, which he uses to great effect as a close-quarter weapon.”

Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen assumed the part of the mysterious and deadly Tristan. "Tristan is a lone wolf,” he explains. "He's the scout so that means he s

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