Composed in the fourteenth century, “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” is one of the most popular epic poems to come out of the tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
The story follows Sir Gawain after he is given the opportunity to behead the Green Knight on the condition that the latter can do the same to Arthur’s knight. His journey involves temptation, tests of courage, and encountering mortal enemies.
Adapted for the silver screen twice before, ‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’ director David Lowery decided to try his hand at adapting it with ‘Lion’ actor Dev Patel portraying Sir Gaiwan.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Lowery discussed the process of filming ‘The Green Knight’ for A24.
“The finished movie is far bigger than what we set out to make,” Lowery said. “We wanted a film that felt as epic as Lord of the Rings but was completely unique in the way the story was told.”
Lowery explained that he had read the poem in college and was reminded of it when he was filming 2018’s ‘A Ghost Story’ when he thought about making a fantasy adventure.
“I was thinking, Maybe I could do something with a character on a horse, going on a quest. So instantly, I just thought about the various Arthurian quests, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight instantly came to mind,” he said. “It had been at that point probably 20 years since I had read it, so I ordered a copy off Amazon and started reading it, and I just started writing it as I was reading it.”
Lowery discussed how the themes of courage and loyalty ring true today with those virtue questions ringing true to him.
“And the idea that he would knowingly embark upon this quest, knowing that he was probably going to die at the end of it, because that was the right thing to do, based on the code of conduct of the day – that was really meaningful,” he explained.
“I felt that there was something modern about that, the way that can be twisted to reflect what is often perceived as valuable in our culture today,” Lowery continued. “It was hard for me to ever put that in words because talking about codes of chivalry as they apply to medieval lore, it doesn’t really hold water today. The idea of the beheading game, it’s really hard to put that in a script and have it make sense to a modern audience.”
He added, “Yet once you embraced that concept, it really had a relevance that I felt was worth digging into. And hopefully, it resonates with audiences when they see it, even if they don’t quite know why it’s resonating.”
‘The Green Knight’ is scheduled to be released in the United States on July 30, 2021.
Check out the trailer below:
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