Hollywood is a land of near-misses. Kit Harington rose to fame playing the role of the king-in-waiting Jon Snow on the blockbuster show Game of Thrones. But before the series became the phenomenon it did, Harington almost played the role of King Arthur in a film by David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers). Dobkin recently revealed to Collider that Haringon brought the same everyman-vibe to Arthur that made his turn as Jon Snow such an audience favorite.
"When he read for King Arthur, the way he does it by the time you understand who he is in that he's honorable, his character works against him sometimes 'cause he's so pure of heart. He carries you through Game of Thrones in such an amazing way to the end, and that is exactly what we needed for that character for the way that I wrote the script."
"He was supposed to be an everyman King Arthur, not someone who pulls it and goes, 'I won the lottery,' but someone who pulls it and goes, 'I'm not even equipped to do this.' The minute he pulls the sword, the entire kingdom is trying to kill him. To me, that was what was cool."
David Dobkin had big plans for his King Arthur movie, which had already cast Joel Kinnaman in the role of Sir Lancelot. The filmmaker goes on to reveal that he was inspired by Christopher Nolan's reimagining of the Batman franchise in allowing a strong cast of talented actors to carry the movie.
"We had Gary Oldman for Merlin. We were trying to talk Marion Cotillard into playing Morgana. We were going out to Liam Neeson for Galahad. The whole idea was the Batman formula. Christian in the beginning of Batman playing Batman with all these big actors around him, and you let the storytelling kind of carry the movie."
"He was him, but he was American Psycho him, he was not Christian Bale as we know him today. So that was the design, and when I sold the film to Warner Bros., there was no cast contingency. After I showed the screen tests of Joel and Kit together, we got greenlit, and a day later, the international department who saw the screen test kind of came in and were like, 'We don't think we can sell the movie with these two guys.'"
"And the pressure got harder and harder, we had already scouted Hungary. We were greenlit and on our way to making the movie. I had a DP, Philippe Rousselot was shooting the movie. There was a production designer. Everything was up and running, and then international Warner Bros. put the brakes on the movie, and they told me we had to recast."
But before Dobkin could get started on recasting, he received the script for The Judge, and started work on that film instead, with Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall. Harington went on to become inextricably linked with the character of Jon Snow instead, and Guy Ritchie was brought on board to put his personal spin on the legend of King Arthur. Hey, at least two of those three outcomes ended up working out. This news originated at Collider.