It's been emotional, Guinevere: Ritchie to take on Camelot

Classic King Arthur tale to be 'reimagined' for modern audience by Guy Ritchie

Lancelot, you muppet! One of England's most treasured legends, that of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, is to be "reimagined for a modern audience" by Guy Ritchie and the Trainspotting screenwriter John Hodge.

Mr Ritchie, who became famous for his "mockney" gangster film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and for his now-dissolved marriage to Madonna, has been signed to the project by Warner Brothers. This follows his recent box-office success interpreting another British icon, Sherlock Holmes, which has made $470m (£314m) worldwide and rehabilitated Ritchie's image in the eyes of Hollywood's money men.

The Dark Ages tale of the sixth-century Celtic king who defended Britain against Saxon invaders will be based in part on Sir Thomas Malory's 1485 tract Le Morte d'Arthur, a compilation of English and French romances which prompted the myth. Written in relatively penetrable Middle English, it touches on Arthur's struggle against the Romans, and includes a quite racy (for its time) account of Lancelot and Guinevere's affair.

The film will centre around the gathering of the Knights – industry observers have described it as "The Magnificent Seven in armour" – and this of course leaves the door ajar for potential sequels.

Further details are sketchy this early in the writing process, but the producers of the frenzied Spartan action 300 are involved, which should guarantee unprecedented historicity for the project.

Malory and Ritchie have more in common than one might think. Le Morte d'Arthur was probably written in the early 1450s while Malory was in prison for a range of misdemeanours, including burglary, sheep-stealing, and an attempt to ambush Humphrey Stafford, the Duke of Buckingham. Ritchie, of course, has a well-documented love of ostentatious criminology.

Although details of Sir Thomas's life are sketchy, he probably did enough to qualify for a movie of his own. Putting our present-day parliamentarians in the shade, he committed several of his crimes while sitting as an MP and twice escaped from jail, on one occasion by fighting his way out with a variety of weapons and then swimming a moat.

Arthurian adaptations for the big screen do not always succeed – the director Antoine Fuqua's 2004 film King Arthur, starring Clive Owen as a Roman soldier during the last days of the empire in Britain, was a critical flop, although it did bank $203m (£136m) around the world.

Nor is Ritchie's work the only Arthur-flavoured project in development at Warner Brothers. Bryan Singer, who has directed movies in the Superman and X-Men franchises, is attached to a remake of the 1981 movie Excalibur, supporting the argument that Hollywood is running short on fresh ideas.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Summer nights: ‘Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp’
TVBut what do we Brits really know about them?
Arts and Entertainment
Dr Michael Mosley is a game presenter

TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

    A nap a day could save your life

    A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
    If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

    If men are so obsessed by sex...

    ...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

    Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
    The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

    Rolling in the deep

    The bathing machine is back but with a difference
    Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

    Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

    Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory