The royal treat­ment

Chris Pine heads to the High­lands to tell the epic story of Robert The Bruce

Empire (UK) - - REVIEW - OWEN WIL­LIAMS

AS ONE OF the four Movie Chrises, Chris Pine is one of the most bank­able names in Hol­ly­wood. So it’s some­what in­con­gru­ous to see him in a scrag­gly beard near Ed­in­burgh, just off the M9. This is Out­law King, a his­tor­i­cal film shot in a style that Scot­tish di­rec­tor David Macken­zie dubs “epic re­al­ism”— and as Em­pire watches Pine re­ceive his crown dur­ing a corona­tion scene at Lin­lith­gow Palace, it all seems re­mark­ably real. Here’s how he pulled off an un­likely epic.

PICK THE RIGHT STAR

Out­law King sees Macken­zie con­tin­u­ing the ac­claimed part­ner­ship he es­tab­lished with Chris Pine on Hell Or High Wa­ter. “We set about try­ing to do this in the same free­wheel­ing spirit.” Pine, he be­lieves, “has a heroic look to him but there’s also vul­ner­a­bil­ity.” And his Scot­tish ac­cent? “It’s very good!”

FIND YOUR FO­CUS

The ap­proach Macken­zie hit upon in adapt­ing The Bruce’s sprawl­ing story was to fo­cus on a sin­gle year in his life. “It’s one of his­tory’s great come­backs,” the di­rec­tor ex­plains. “A rapid down­ward tra­jec­tory and then the grab­bing of op­por­tu­ni­ties to pull him­self back.” The fa­mous Bat­tle of Ban­nock­burn hap­pens eight years af­ter the events of the film. “We don’t get as far as that. We chose the lesser known Bat­tle of Loudoun Hill as our cli­max.”

EX­PLORE THE HERO

Hav­ing made a ca­reer out of anti-hero movies, Macken­zie was at­tracted to the theme of hero­ism. “I’ve al­ways thought of Robert The Bruce’s story as be­ing heroic,” he says, “although he’s a flawed hero. He was the sec­ond-big­gest landowner in Scot­land, but he gave up ev­ery­thing to set his coun­try free.”

STICK TO THE HIS­TORY

Po­si­tion­ing it­self as some­thing of an anti-brave­heart, Out­law King is fas­tid­i­ous about get­ting its his­tory as ac­cu­rate as pos­si­ble, and care­ful not to thump an ide­o­log­i­cal tub. “It’s im­por­tant to me not to make any sort of su­prem­a­cist, blood-and-soil na­tion­al­ist sort of movie,” Macken­zie in­sists. “This film is much more about per­son­al­i­ties than it is about na­tion­al­i­ties. I’m not try­ing to make any con­tem­po­rary par­al­lels. This is a story that hap­pened 700 years ago and in the past it must re­main.”

OUT­LAW KING IS ON NET­FLIX FROM 9 NOVEM­BER

Em­pire was on set in Scot­land in Septem­ber 2017, and then spoke to David Macken­zie in his Lon­don flat in Au­gust 2018.

Clock­wise from main: Crown­ing glory: Is­abella Mac­duff (Kim Al­lan) crowns the ‘Out­law King’, Robert The Bruce (Chris Pine); James Douglas (Aaron Tay­lor-john­son) is bat­tle ready; Di­rec­tor David Macken­zie is deep in thought; Robert The Bruce ar­rives on shore with his band of out­laws; The king with wife El­iz­a­beth de Burgh (Florence Pugh).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.