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A Knight's Tale

Ledger's Knight Rider in action, cheered on by Mark Addy

STARS: Heath Ledger, Mark Addy,
Rufus Sewell, Paul Bettany PRODUCER / WRITER / DIRECTOR: Brian Helgeland

A Knight's Tale is Film of the Month in Film Review #609

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Film Bytes by Judy Sloane
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Read the review from
Film Review #609


"We decided early on that the production design was going to be the straight man as far as the movie goes - it's very historically accurate. The costume design was more creative. The designer said to me, 'These guys should look like the Rolling Stones in 1970.' I thought, 'Yeah, that's great.' If you think of the Stones back then, they looked kind of medieval. We wanted to create a world where you could make your own rules."

"Brian is wonderful to work for. He wanted to share his vision, and you wanted to make him proud and tell his story. He's really a smart man. He got us to Prague about three weeks before to rehearse, and we just drank for three weeks. And that's all we needed, because he cast a group of people that he knew was going to click together as friends. Our rehearsal was to become friends, and our job was to translate that friendship onto the screen. When I watch the movie I get a sense of the friendship and affection that we feel for each other."

SEWELL on the hardest thing about portraying a villain:
"Bad guys conduct more heat because they wear black! They had to find a way of pouring water into the joints of the armor because it would get so hot that your flesh would burn - literally. So they poured Evian down these little holes - I was wet inside all the time."

BETTANY on his character's job of announcing William at the tournaments:
"We wanted it to have the sensation of when John Lennon said at the Royal Command Performance, 'The people in the cheap seats clap your hands, and the rest of you rattle your jewelry.'"

ADDY on working with the jousting horse:
"They couldn't use the usual term, 'Roll camera,' because the horse we were using was pretty intelligent, and after a couple of passes it knew that when they were shouting that, it was getting ready to go. So the First Assistant, instead of shouting 'Roll camera,' would say, 'Ready darling?' But as soon as they clapped the board, the horse knew, 'Okay, I'm on!'"

"The way Brian works he encourages you to improvise and there were certain scenes where he'd say, 'I'm having trouble finding a way of making this work. Any ideas?' Sometimes we'd get some really good and very funny stuff."

"(William) goes for the gold, the nobility and fame, but ultimately discovers that the friends who surround and support him are the real stars in his life. The real nobility is finding your head and your heart."

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All images © Columbia Tristar Pictures

Film Review Special #36, Summer Blockbusters 2001 - cover coming soonXpose #56, Summer movies - available soon
Feature © Visual Imagination 2001. Not for reproduction