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Exclusive: Guy Ritchie Attached to Direct Excalibur

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | March 4, 2010 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | March 4, 2010 |

You remember a while back when we announced that Bryan Singer was attached to direct a remake of John Boorman’s 1981 film, Excalibur? Yeah, that’s still happening, at least inasmuch as the movie is still in development over at Warner Brothers. But, to be honest, Bryan Singer has some other gigs with higher priority, namely X-Men: First Class and a big-screen version of Battlestar Galactica. Not to mention Jack the Giant Killer.

So, get this: Warner Brothers also put a competing production into development. But this one is not a remake of the Boorman film, it’s a big-screen adaptation of Warren Ellis’ Excalibur treatment . Now, the fact that Warren Ellis is working on a Excalibur movie isn’t new — he announced it on his own blog last July. (Coincidentally, Ellis also had a run as a writer of Marvel’s Excalibur — a series that featured Captain Britain and a number of former X-Men members — early in his career).

The news here, actually, is who is angling to direct this version of Excalibur: Some dude named Guy Ritchie. Yes. Ole Lock Stock and Two Holmes. Ritchie’s version is set up at the Hollywood Gang production studio (while Singer’s version is set up at Legendary). Moreover, the take is different. While Singer’s version is closer to a remake of the Boorman film, Ritchie’s possible take is more in the tone of Star Wars, and, as Ellis noted last year, his version “differs from the prior 751 King Arthur movies in many ways, but perhaps most obviously in that it is very specifically about the gathering of the Knights.”

But yes: There are two Excalibur movies in development, and both are set up at Warners, and both are in the script stage. My guess is that Ritchie’s actually has the edge — Ellis has wrapped his treatment, it seems, while there’s no writer yet for Singer’s version. Moreover, Ritchie’s plate isn’t as full — he’s got the Sherlock Holmes sequel, and The Gamekeeper, but we also know that the Brothers Warner is taking another pass on Oliver Butcher and Stephen Cromwell’s Gamekeeper script. So, it’s not ready, either (there’s no hurry on either project; one or both could be finished by the time Holmes 2 is done, which is when Ritchie will likely make the decision on his next project).

I’ve not read any of Ellis’ work in the comics, but I have read Crooked Little Vein and the best I can tell, the man is batshit weird, in the best kind of way. He is brimming with awesome. How that translates into adapting an Arthurian legend, I don’t know. But with Guy Ritchie aboard, and his new mainstream sensibility, I could see this version of Excalibur being huge.

And finally: Just to cover my bases, there’s also some indication that they’re now looking to turn Ellis’ treatment into a full script, and that project is out to writers. That’s not a 100 percent, but my guess is that Warners probably wants to get someone a little more mainstream friendly in there to round out Ellis’ batshit edges.

(Source: The Bad Ass Hollywood Cog)

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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