5 things to know about Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur

The Hamilton Spectator - - A&E - AN­DREA MANDELL

There’s a new king car­ry­ing Ex­cal­ibur’s sword. This weekend, Char­lie Hun­nam will be crowned in “King Arthur: Leg­end of the Sword,” a new take on the Mer­lin leg­end from di­rec­tor Guy Ritchie.

Five things you need to know about the big-bud­get spec­ta­cle: This is an ori­gin story. In the su­per­nat­u­ral-in­fused re­boot, Arthur’s fa­ther (Eric Bana) is wres­tled from his throne by his mur­der­ous brother Vor­tigern (Jude Law). Young Arthur es­capes and is raised as an or­phan in a brothel, where he takes up the life of a thief. A decade later, thanks to Vor­tigern’s para­noid edict forc­ing all young men in the king­dom be tested on their abil­ity to wrest the sword from the stone, Arthur’s birthright proves hard to avoid. “One of the big prob­lems with the Arthurian leg­end is it’s so sprawl­ing,” says Hun­nam, 37. “So what Guy had wanted to do, very smartly, was just tell the first chap­ter of the story.”

Char­lie Hun­nam has been ready for years.

The Bri­tish ac­tor launched his 2017 sil­ver-screen of­fen­sive last month with “The Lost City of Z,” rose to fame as a dan­ger­ous biker on “Sons of Anar­chy” and in­fa­mously pulled out as the lead in “Fifty Shades of Grey.” He moved to Hol­ly­wood 20 years ago to launch his career. “It’s not like he’s new to any of this,” says Ritchie.

Um, he’s re­ally, re­ally ripped in the role.

Let’s just say Hun­nam didn’t have much work to do to get in shape for King Arthur. “He never seems to carry more than 6 per cent body fat,” says Ritchie with mock an­noy­ance. Hun­nam’s rou­tine? “I did some Thai box­ing, Jiu-Jitsu,” he told Kris­ten Bell when she filled in on Jimmy Kim­mel Live! last week. “I set my­self a goal of do­ing 1,000 pushups a day min­i­mum for six months. I’m a lit­tle bit crazy so if there was a day that I didn’t get the thou­sand, I would pun­ish my­self and have to do 2,000 the next day. You’ve got to get af­ter it. Eye of the tiger!”

More ‘Arthur’ could be on the way.

Hun­nam has signed on for more in­stal­ments, should the box of­fice be fruit­ful. Is he up for it? “Ab­so­lutely,” he says. “I grew up on (1981’s) ‘Ex­cal­ibur.’ I must have watched it four dozen times. It’s one of the great sto­ries. I would hope (fu­ture movies) would be with Guy. That’s al­ways the roll of the dice for an ac­tor who signs on to these type of things.”

Yes, that’s David Beck­ham with the bad teeth.

Look closely: Beck­ham has a cameo as a solider watch­ing as Hun­nam at­tempts to pull Ex­cal­ibur from its stub­born rest­ing place. How could you miss him? Well, Ritchie dec­o­rated his fa­mous friend in a pros­thetic nose, fa­cial scars and rot­ted teeth. “I sat next to him as he was watch­ing his bit, and I could feel him shrink­ing in his chair,” says Ritchie with a laugh, who last hired Beck­ham to ap­pear as a movie pro­jec­tion­ist in 2015’s “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” “He’s the most won­der­ful man.”

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