Casting a spell
Rebecca Ferguson promises to bewitch in new Brit fantasy The Kid Who Would Be King
EVER SINCE MISSION: Impossible — Rogue Nation catapulted her into Hollywood’s field of vision, Rebecca Ferguson has shown up with such regularity (Florence Foster Jenkins, Life, The Greatest Showman, The Girl On The Train) that we began to suspect that she was actually trying to take over the world.
Now, though, with her new movie, The Kid Who Would Be King, she is trying to take over the world. Joe Cornish’s movie, the long-awaited follow-up to his cracking 2011 debut Attack The Block, is an updated, family-friendly take on the legend of King Arthur. There’s a young boy (Louis Ashbourne Serkis as Alex) who discovers the fabled Excalibur, and just might be the fabled king of ancient prophecy. There’s a Merlin, played as a teenager by Angus Imrie, and as an older, more traditional version by Patrick Stewart. There are variations on Lancelot and Bedivere and the knights of the round table.
And there’s a villain. A Morgana, the powerful sorceress of lore. Which is where Ferguson comes in. “She’s been dormant, sleeping under the soil of Britain for centuries,” says Cornish. “She’s been waiting for Britain to become lost and leaderless and divided. She’s decided that the time is right for her to reclaim what she thinks is hers.”
So, she’s taking the country back, in other words. Taking back control. It’s hard not to espy a Brexit analogy here, although Cornish is keen to downplay that. Morgana won’t be writing slogans on the side of a bus. “I think it’s serendipitous,” he says. “It’s not that the film will have no relevance. I think we’re alright there. But that’s just one strand. It’s basically just a big old bunch of spectacular fun. It’s got battles, demons, underground caverns, the British landscape, kids, Patrick Stewart, Rebecca Ferguson, special effects, and all the good shit.”
Cornish doesn’t have to do the hard sell — we’re glad to see him back behind the camera after far too long an absence. But as hard sells go, that one will take some beating. Bring on the good shit.
THE KID WHO WOULD BE KING IS IN CINEMAS FROM 15 FEBRUARY 2019
__Before she became embroiled in galactic warfare or developed the ability to shoot energy blasts from her hands, Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) trained as a US Air Force pilot. In this frame, we see her working with Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch), mother of Monica, who in the comics took the mantle of Captain Marvel during the ’80s.
__ It’s been confirmed that Captain Marvel will have her powers when the film begins. Born Carol Danvers on Earth, it’s only when she becomes NASA’S head of security that she embarks on missions among the stars. In the comic book, Danvers becomes superhuman after her DNA fuses with that of a Kree soldier named Mar-vell (the original ’60s Captain Marvel), when an alien device called the Psyche-magnetron explodes. However, here she appears to be rigged up to the superpower-imbuing machine directly. Either way, a side effect of her empowerment is the wiping of memories of her home planet.
__ We know Captain Marvel will team up with Iron Man and co in Avengers 4, but she was part of a different group back in the 1990s: Starforce. This shot sees Danvers flanked by Starforce members, including Gemma Chan as Minnerva, all sporting the team’s green-and-black uniform. In the comics, they’re not the friendliest (they fought the Avengers), and are led by Guardians Of The Galaxy baddie Ronan — who will appear in Captain Marvel.
__ Brie Larson just punched an OAP in the face! But things may not be as they seem. We already know Captain Marvel is going to focus on the interstellar Kree-skrull war, and seeing as Danvers is in her Starforce uniform here, it’s quite possible that the woman is a nasty, shapeshifting Skrull in disguise. Either that or, er, Captain Marvel has a dark side none of us saw coming.
__ In the early comics, Captain Marvel has a collapsible helmet that pushes her hair into a fauxhawk — a helmet we see twice in the trailer. The first time we see Captain Marvel wearing it, she’s using it to breathe underwater.
__ Finally, in the closing frames, we get our only look at Captain Marvel in her iconic red, blue and gold get-up, as she fully harnesses her cosmic powers. With strength that could rival Hulk’s and the ability to fly and manipulate energy, it’s clear why Marvel boss Kevin Feige reckons she will be “by far the strongest character we’ve ever had”. Is it March yet?
CAPTAIN MARVEL IS In cinemas From 8 march 2019
Top: Rebecca Ferguson springs to life as sorceress Morgana. Above: Alex (Louis Ashbourneserkis) stumbles upon the magical sword Excalibur.
Empire spoke with Joe Cornish on his Leavesden set on 24 November 2017.