EXCLUSIVE: Setting the leads for Arthur & Lancelot is proving as elusive as pulling the sword from the stone. Colin Farrell, who’d been in early talks to play Lancelot in the latest configuration of the David Dobkin-directed film for Warner Bros, is out. Scheduling is the reason, I’m told. There is a lot of prep and training required for the action heavy role of Lancelot, and it didn’t work out. Warner Bros, which rejected the project because it cost $20 million more than the $110 million that the studio was willing to spend, got back in the mix with the idea of pairing Farrell with Gary Oldman (for Merlin) and an actor to play King Arthur (I heard the studio approached James McAvoy and other actors). Warner Bros, which paid $2 million to acquire Dobkin’s script last summer, is eager to make the movie and cast will materialize quickly, I’m told.
This is the second cast configuration. Warner Bros, which dated the film for a March 15, 2013 release, had cast Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington to play Arthur and The Killing‘s Joel Kinnaman to play Lancelot. Even though Kinnaman was subsequently cast in the title character of MGM’s Robocop remake and Harington returns as a major character in the second season of the HBO series, the studio was being nervous about a big budget with unproven stars.