The Green Knight: Why David Lowery and Dev Patel Reimagined Arthurian Legend

“The hunt itself is about a knight traveling towards his inevitable death,” Lowery explains. “And there was something about it that always appealed to me … And it quickly became not just the template. I was obsessed with the work itself to say the least and really wanted to make a film that did it justice or at least scratched the surface of it. “The filmmaker even adds in a confessional tone that the project” has been using my life for a few years. I do not think I have ever been so much interested in doing justice to the source material as I have done with this. ”

A major facet of paying for this fidelity is in the cast Lowery gathered to tell his faithful, yet quiet deconstructionist version of The Green Knight saga. There’s Ralph Ineson buried under layers of dentures and makeup as the title Green Knight – arriving at King Arthur’s party on Christmas Day to demand that one of the king’s men play a game. Sean Harris is also ready to play a more weakened Arthur than some audiences might be used to, as well as the invaluable Kate Dickie as Guinevere. And yet, the most crucial cast of all, of course, is Dev Patel, who breathes new life into Gawain for a 21st-century audience.

An Oscar-nominated actor best known for his work in Slumdog Millionaire, Lionand Hotel MumbaiPatel is, among other things, a naturally leading man whose charisma is almost overwhelming in the role of Gawain. It’s a great performance from a young actor whose first brush with King Arthur was Monty python. Next to Lowery, Patel constantly makes intelligent and humane choices as he inhabits the character, including leaning into Gawain’s anxiety. Lowery only elevated the last element by changing Gawain from being a knight to a knight aspirant and one with even more conflict in his heart.

“I think he’s definitely a flawed individual,” Patel tells us. “He is spoiled, and at the same time I think there is a deep uncertainty there that I could relate to. The idea of ​​not belonging, this kind of fraud syndrome among Knights at the Round Table, that’s what I liked: David removed him from his chivalry and made him the dark horse, the litter of the litter in a way. He is King Arthur’s young nephew, so he will feel worthy. ”

When it comes to reformulating Gawain and his quest, as well as ambiguous play with elements like the motivation of a mysterious gentleman and lady from a mansion that Gawain encounters on his travails – played cryptically by Alicia Vikander and Joel Edgerton in the film – Lowery thinks he offers its modest contribution to the Arthurian tradition.

“There are all these different interpretations of the characters,” says the author-director. “Whether you agree Post-Vulgate cycle or Arthur’s death, or whatever you want to go with in relation to the canon of Arthurian lore, there are all these differences, all these different readings and variations of the characters. And it kind of gives us permission to introduce yet another variation. In the original text, Gawain was actually a virtuous knight. He was one of the most virtuous of all the knights at Arthur’s round table. And yet he is still fallible. He was still struggling with the weaknesses of humanity, and that’s what the original poem is about. ”

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