If 2011 was the year when big studios wizened up and shelved big expensive tent poles, then 2012 is the year that those same studios are cutting costs to resurrect a handful of the projects including “Wedding Crashers” helmer David Dobkin’s “Arthur & Lancelot.” While that project kicked back to life when actor Colin Farrell entered into talks with Warner Bros. to take the lead in the film, it looks as if things may become a little grim for the production all over again.
Deadline is reporting that Farrell is bowing out of playing Lancelot due to scheduling issues. Apparently the role would require Farrell to commit to several hours of prep and training understandably required for the action heavy role, and we’re guessing with publicity rounds for films like “Total Recall” and “Seven Psychopaths” coming up, Farrell’s schedule is going to be pretty booked along with whatever else he’s doing next. You’ll remember that “The Killing” star Joel Kinnaman originally had the roll locked down, with “Game of Thrones” actor Kit Harington set to play Arthur. Granted, that was before Warner Bros. sent Dobkin packing to another studio, with his expensive medieval tent pole with him.
Losing Farrell could be another unfortunate step on the road to production. But then again, Farrell couldn’t make last year’s “Fright Night” or 2006’s “Miami Vice” open big, so perhaps from a financial stanpoint, it's for the best. Warner Bros. is understandably worried about sending out a big budget film with unproven talent, helmed by gross-out comedy director like Dobkin making his first action movie. But they continue to search for names to pad out this thing with Gary Oldman being mentioned for Merlin (though WB seems to pass every project under their roof across his desk) and James McAvoy apparently being approached at one point as well.
Originally, Warner Bros. had “Arthur and Lancelot” slated for a March 15, 2013 release, but it has since been replaced by "Jack The Giant Killer." So the search starts over for who will wear the chainmail in this brewing blockbuster.