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King Arthur (2004) Poster

(2004)

Trivia

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The horse ridden by Bors (Ray Winstone) in the film is the same horse that was ridden by Maximus (Russell Crowe) in Gladiator (2000).
According to Ioan Gruffudd (Lancelot), the camera operator wore a motorcycle crash helmet and was constantly surrounded by men with riot shields because of the intense action sequences happening around him.
Keira Knightley reportedly nearly killed a horse while practicing her archery for the film.
Stellan Skarsgård played the role of Cerdic as if he was bored with killing and conquering and was simply doing it out of instinct and because he had nothing else better to do; this is why he raises his arms into the air and cheers after meeting Arthur; he has found someone worth getting excited about fighting.
Ioan Gruffudd was spotted curling his eyebrows by Ray Winstone one morning before shooting. Winstone spread the word, and Gruffudd earned the nickname "Sir Lashalot" for the duration of the shoot.
Clive Owen got the the role of King Arthur after Russell Crowe, Mel Gibson and Hugh Jackman turned it down, and producer Jerry Bruckheimer vetoed the director's choice of a then comparatively unknown Daniel Craig because he was convinced Owen was going to be the next James Bond.
Stellan Skarsgård turned the role of Cerdic down three times before director Antoine Fuqua was able to persuade him to take it. Fuqua never approached any other actor for the part.
The film was originally envisioned and shot as an R-rated film with corresponding graphic violence. However, after the picture had been edited, Disney executives demanded it be changed to a PG-13, hence necessitating a lot of effects work to remove the blood from the battle scenes. Director Antoine Fuqua and producer Jerry Bruckheimer were not at all pleased with this decision and fought against it, but were ultimately overruled. They were both disappointed with the theatrical release and later released a much more violent Director's Cut on DVD. However, according to Fuqua's commentary track, even the Director's Cut version is considerably less violent than his ideal version. Ironically, when the film was released, one of the biggest criticisms was that the battles were mysteriously bloodless, hence undermining any sense of realism.
Althrough Cerdic is the villain of the film, his name is not mentioned once in the entire film.
Although the weather seems very cold and dreary, the movie was shot during near-record high temperatures in Ireland.
In an interview with Express Magazine on 24 July 2004, ("Keira Slays The Knights" by John Millar) Keira Knightley disclosed that her breasts were digitally enhanced on the American movie posters to make them appear larger.
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Ivano Marescotti didn't speak any English when he was cast as Bishop Germanius, and had to learn the language simultaneously as he rehearsed the role.
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Over 400 extras were used as Saxon warriors. Most of them had never had fight training at all.
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Although all of the crowd scenes and extras used fake swords, for all of the one-on-one encounters in the film (such as between Arthur (Clive Owen) and Cerdic (Stellan Skarsgård) or Lancelot (Ioan Gruffudd) and Cynric (Til Schweiger), real swords were used.
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Most of the major battle scenes were filmed using 18 cameras simultaneously. Apart from the mounted cameras, camera operators also dressed as extras and shot from within the action. Cameras were also mounted on shields, swords and horses.
In David Franzoni's original script, the love triangle so central to the original myth between Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot was a major part of the plot, as it is in most filmic adaptations of the Arthurian legend (such as John Boorman's Excalibur (1981) for example). However, during his research for the film, director Antoine Fuqua came to believe that there was no truth to the love triangle aspect of the story and had Franzoni rewrite the script without it.
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The ice battle took the entire length of the production to create - from storyboards and pre-viz to filming and CGI to editing and scoring; approximately 9 months of continuous work.
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The climatic Battle of Badon Hill took five weeks to shoot.
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The replica of Hadrian's Wall built for the film was a kilometer long, nearly 400 foot high, with a ten foot wide walkway on top and took a total of 300 crew over four months to construct. Director Antoine Fuqua was determined not to use CG to create the wall as he wanted the actors to be able to see it and stand on it.
In total, 2500 different costumes were made for the film.
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Costume designer Penny Rose prepared for the film by studying the famous book "The Bog People: Iron Age Man Preserved" by P.V. Glob. Glob discovered both Tollund Man and Grauballe Man in Denmark, both dating from roughly 400 A.D., and both with almost perfectly preserved clothing.
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All of the principal actors attended a two week boot camp under the supervisor of stunt coordinator Steve Dent. The training included horse-riding, combat riding, archery, boxing, sword fighting, weight training and wilderness social bonding. Because of his age, Ray Winstone didn't attend boot camp, but he had boxed in his youth and this was incorporated into his character.
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The Woads in the film are supposed to be Picts. The term Woads was created for the film because the producers felt the term Picts didn't sound right. The word comes from the blue plant that the Picts may have used to paint themselves prior to battle.
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After several poor test screenings, the producers became concerned that there wasn't enough humor in the film, and on June 16, thirteen days before the US premiere, the scene in which Bors (Ray Winstone) reveals that his numerous children have numbers instead of names was shot.
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According to Ioan Gruffudd (Lancelot), it took him months to grow the "scraggly" beard his character sports during the film. In addition, due to his Celtic heritage (Gruffudd is Welsh), the beard kept growing in red and had to be "painted" each day before filming, to match his brown hair.
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In total, 300 swords, 700 spears and 350 axes were made for the film.
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The language spoken by the Woads in the film is a combination of ancient Gaelic and ancient Welsh, as the actual language spoken by the Picts has been lost.
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When Antoine Fuqua took over the project, he wanted Daniel Craig to play Arthur but was overruled by producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who believed that Clive Owen was going to be cast as James Bond, which would greatly increase the film's commercial shelf-life on DVD.
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Laurence Fishburne narrated the teaser trailer.
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Michael Bay was originally set to direct, but left the project due to budget concerns. Bay had developed the project for over 5 years.
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Despite the fact that this was filmed in Super 35, the theatrical release listed "Filmed in Panavision" in the end credits. It was removed from the credits of the home video releases.
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John Lee Hancock did several late uncredited rewrites of the script.
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The X and P seen on soldier's shields are not the Roman letters X and P but the Greek letters Chi and Rho, the first letters of the word Christos. This was the sign that the Roman Emperor Constantine had placed on his soldiers shield, and identifies the soldiers as Christians.
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

Originally, there was no wedding scene at the end of the film; the scene on the battlefield with Lancelot's (Ioan Gruffudd) body is longer and involves a short monologue from Merlin (Stephen Dillane), where he tells Arthur (Clive Owen) he hasn't failed his knights despite the death of Lancelot and Tristan (Mads Mikkelsen). This scene is then followed by the funeral scene, which is also longer, with Bors (Ray Winstone) giving a short monologue. This is then followed by a scene of Lucan (Johnny Brennan) trying to remove Excalibur from a stone. He fails, but Arthur tells him that one day he'll be strong enough to do it. Black smoke then rises from Lancelot's pyre and there is a fade to the slow motion shots of the horses riding. However, after several poor test screenings, the audience's biggest complaint was that the ending was too melancholy and needed a scene to finalize the romance aspect of the story. As such, the wedding scene between Arthur and Guinevere (Keira Knightley) was added. Director Antoine Fuqua dislikes the new ending, and on his DVD commentary states that he much prefers the original, darker ending.

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