The Arthurian tale we deserve is here in A24's highly-anticipated film, The Green Knight.
The Dev Patel-led film was initially set to premiere at the 2020 SXSW Film Festival before it was axed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Its release remained in flux until A24 revealed that the film would officially come to theaters this summer.
Written and directed by David Lowery, the film also stars Alicia Vikander, Joel Edgerton, Sarita Choudhury, Sean Harris, Kate Dickie, Barry Keoghan and Ralph Ineson.
The official synopsis reads:
An epic fantasy adventure based on the timeless Arthurian legend, The Green Knight tells the story of Sir Gawain (Dev Patel), King Arthur's reckless and headstrong nephew, who embarks on a daring quest to confront the eponymous Green Knight, a gigantic emerald-skinned stranger and tester of men. Gawain contends with ghosts, giants, thieves, and schemers in what becomes a deeper journey to define his character and prove his worth in the eyes of his family and kingdom by facing the ultimate challenger. From visionary filmmaker David Lowery comes a fresh and bold spin on a classic tale from the knights of the round table.
Ahead of the film's release Patel and Edgerton spoke to Shadow and Act about the film finally making it to theaters and the importance of Patel's role as an Arthurian legend.
We asked Patel about the fact that he has recently starred in two period pieces (including The Personal History of David Copperfield) and what these roles mean to him as an actor of color.
"Look man, those two, I just really commend the filmmakers to give me the opportunity to be a part of this, in a way," he explained. "I used to joke on David Copperfield that everyone [would be like] there was an outrage when I was in it, and I'd say most of the time I would get offered to be holding a train in the background...that was cool. [laughs] But to be able to have a substantial role in the affairs is really beautiful. And it's really a kudos to David and Armando [Ianucci] and filmmakers like that. Because I get on the phone and I'm like, 'So wait, how are we going to do this? So is his mom like this? And did they come on a boat? Are we going to do a scene beforehand to kind of go down the rabbit hole on this?' And they're like, 'No.' It's colorblind in the truest sense of just [wanting] to capture an essence of someone. And we're actors playing these roles, and it's really an exciting time."
Edgerton spoke about the show being released after pandemic-related delays and having its initial SXSW debut scrapped. But now, it is one of the select films that has a solely theatrical release right now.
The actor explained, "It's interesting. This film to me and anyone that is in the sphere of this film, it definitely marks a bit of COVID time. For us, I remember I was literally a few days away from going to SXSW and then this weird news event world pandemic started that. We've become more and more affected by it and more educated by it. And all along the way, we've seen films that were made for the cinema fall away and drop onto streamers. And rightfully so to let people around the world who are sitting in front of TVs, locked at home [and] allow them to continue to watch new things."
The actor also co-signed the film waiting until theaters were back in action, which he says was at Lowery's urging.
"Here we also have David Lowery who's a cinema truest, who's created an incredibly opulent film, as you've seen and hopefully everyone else gets to see, that he was right to hold on to and say, 'I'm going to wait this thing out. It's a timeless story, written hundreds and hundreds of years ago. There's no rush for us to put it out right now, and I'm going to hold on to that dream of showing it in the cinema.' And I salute that choice as well. But it is lovely to think that it's a reward for all of us a year and a bit later to finally get to share it with everybody."
Watch the full interview below:
The Green Knight is in theaters on July 30.