The upcoming film called The King is a modern Shakespeare drama adapted from the Henriad plays. David Michôd serves as director and also wrote the screenplay with Australian actor Joel Edgerton. Edgerton also stars in the film as Falstaff, alongside Timothée Chalamet (Hal/King Henry V), Robert Pattinson (The Dauphin), Sean Harris (Michael Williams), Ben Mendelsohn (Hal’s father/King Henry IV) and Lily-Rose Depp (Catherine).
Previously, we knew very little of what plot the film will be focusing on. All that was revealed was a rather skimpy storyline that doesn’t tell us much about the story. But now we know more after Netflix releases the official teaser trailer for The King.
Check out the full teaser:
According to the official Netflix description of The King:
Hal, wayward prince and reluctant heir to the English throne, has turned his back on royal life and is living among the people. But when his tyrannical father dies, Hal is crowned King Henry V and is forced to embrace the life he had previously tried to escape. Now the young king must navigate the palace politics, chaos and war his father left behind, and the emotional strings of his past life — including his relationship with his closest friend and mentor, the ageing alcoholic knight, John Falstaff.
From the teaser, we can see how Hal struggles with being the new king, but what we don’t know exactly is his emotionally haunting past. His past in question must be the life he had when he left the palace.
Clearly it’s not going to be easy taking up the throne during a time of war and chaos that his father left behind, but he manages to get help from his closest friend Falstaff. This is close to the original Shakespeare screenplays but to what extent is still unknown.
As we’ve mentioned in a previous article, the film won’t be using Shakespeare language. According to Edgerton, they’ve written it in their own dialogue.
“For lack of a better word, [it’s] ‘Game Of Thrones’ meets Shakespeare only in that, you can watch ‘Game Of Thrones’ and understand what’s going on,” he told IndieWire.
He also said, “Anyone who knows ‘Henry V’ knows that it’s not exactly a ‘Rocky’ ending. It’s got an ironic victorious yet bitter ending, so when put that into the business machine of Hollywood, it’s not exactly a home run.”
While he may be right, I don’t think they have anything to worry about. Movie fans who are into period films, war drama or anything like that wouldn’t be expecting a happy ending because that’s just realistic.
Plus, with Netflix set to streaming The King this fall, I feel that the public reach would also be higher than restricting it to only a traditional cinematic release. And a Shakespeare drama spoken in modern English by a cast loaded with great actors would certainly draw the viewers.
What I really like about the teaser is that it gives us a look at the beautiful cinematography in this film. Every shot is perfectly framed to capture the overall grim tone that reflects Hal’s inner struggles and the external conflicts happening in the palace and the country under his kingship.
Chalamet too so far has been impressive in his performance as the young King Henry V. It’s such a major role to take on, especially in a period drama. And it’s Shakespeare, no less! But at only 23 years old, he carries the role very well.
The King premieres in select theatres on 2 September and on Netflix sometime later (date not confirmed).