Compiled by: Jack Foley
Q. How was it pitched to you and when?
David Franzoni: I basically walked in and said, ‘so
what do you say we do King Arthur as The Wild Bunch’?
Q. And was that all?
A. Not quite. He had a really worked out story. All the
beats that you see in the movie had been worked out. It was like
the fall of Saigon, is what he really said. It’s the end
of the Roman Occupation of Britain and they’re all leaving,
and leaving the country behind, so it’s these last few refuges
of valour and honour, to protect the British Isles from the Saxons.
That’s what he told us, so I wanted to see that movie. It’s
like the Special Forces going to England from Rome and Sarnatia.
Q. You’ve made films all around the world. How
long did you have to search for Ireland, or was it a first choice?
A. Ireland was a place that you could do those big epics,
because you could go 45 minutes outside of Dublin and find vistas
that are pretty much 360 degrees, with no houses, no television
antennas, or cell towers. It made it really easy for us. We couldn’t
do that here. We took a helicopter to Hadrian’s Wall and
you could see that it’s just so populated around there,
you’d have to paint everything out digitally and Antoine
didn’t want to do that, which is why we built this wall
that was almost a mile long. We built our own Hadrian’s
Wall because we were looking for authenticity and to do everything
real within the camera, other than the ice battle.
Q. In terms of the casting, you have English actors,
Danish actors, and German actors, and that obviously gives you
a commercial influence in each of those countries, but also a
universality to the story. Is that what you were looking at?
A. We were just looking for terrific actors, and the
fact that a lot came in from different countries, enabled us to
find some that were perfect for the movie, and perfect to play
knights. None of it was calculated, in my mind, to go and get
Til Schweiger, from Germany, or Mads Mikkelsen, from Denmark,
because I didn’t know that they were big stars in their
home countries. Antoine knew Til from another movie they did together,
but I wasn’t aware of it…
Q. But had you pretty much
ruled out a big American star? Brad Pitt didn’t interest
A. I think that takes away from the authenticity of the
story, especially if you’re trying to do the historical
King Arthur. You want to keep it true to British actors, or international
actors to play the knights. We weren’t interested in Brad
Q. How is work coming on for Pirates of the Caribbean
2, or even 3? Has filming started yet?
A. No, we hope to start filming in February, and we’re
just negotiating deals with all the actors right now. We have
Gore Verbinksi, who is close to his deal, so we’ll have
the same basic team back. Johnny wants to do it, Keira’s
very close to her deal getting done, and it leaves just Orlando,
and we know he wants to do it. So we’ll get it done, I think.
Q. Were any of the scenes cut? What will become of them?
A. They’ll be in the DVD. Sometimes you get a little
off story, and your film is always too long… Antoine shot
a lot of phenomenal action that, in order to get the PG-13, we
had to delete some of it. But that will all be exposed in the
DVD, for which we’re going to do an R-rated version. That
will be quite spectacular.
Q. How did you pitch it to Jerry?
A. I basically walked in and said, ‘so what do
you say we do King Arthur as the Wild Bunch?’
Q. Was this script an opportunity to bring together your
Celtic roots and your Latin roots?
A. I completely pulled the wool over everyone’s
eyes, yes! Obviously not. I thought it was an opportunity to go
back to a period of time that hadn’t been done on film,
take a look at the possible roots of Arthur; the guys who came
from Sarmatia, and obviously not wanting to be in Britain, who
stayed and fought, even after the Roman Empire pulled out. The
idea of giving them back their place in history was the one that
appealed to me the most.
Q. What is it about Arthur and this whole story that
makes it timeless? And yet makes it appropriate for today?
A. When I was a kid I grew up with Mallory and Arthur
and all those types of stories. And I remember seeing a fighter,
from World War Two, with Excalibur on the front of it, so it’s
a timeless thing specifically for the British and I did want to
tread lightly. I think we attempted, in most cases, to honour
as much as possible the legend. But, also, again, I felt that
we had to create a timeless period about a universal soldier.
A man, not unlike a Vietnam soldier, away from home, killing and
not liking what he was doing, seeing those people at the end of
the war being able to pull out and not being able to… I
felt that there was a resonance and a timelessness that worked