Clive Owen - King Arthur

Clive Owen - King Arthur


Clive Owen/King Arthur Interview by Paul Fischer in Los Angeles.

British star-on-the-rise Clive Owen wants to make it clear that he is not intalks to be the next James Bond. In seemingly good spirits while talking tothe media about the non-Camelot take on King Arthur, in which Owen hasassumed the title role, Owen is clearly getting fed up with journalists'questions surrounding rumours that he is in talks to be the next 007. "It isa complete rumour and I don't know where it comes from. I think that PierceBrosnan is a fantastic Bond, who has really invigorated the whole franchise,has made that company a lot of money and they should be banking it in saying'he's our man' until he steps down. So let's just leave it at that!" Nordoes Owen aspire to be the next Bond. "I really don't think about it," Owensays emphatically.

Even though Owen has been a working actor since the late eighties,considerable succeeded eluded him until 1998's Croupier started to put himon the map. More recently, The Bourne Identity and the recent Beyond Bordersgave Owen international exposure, and with the release of King Arthur, onecan say that for this 39-year old Brit, it's uphill all the way. Owen ismodestly philosophical about his success. "I am just hugely grateful andfeel very lucky. It is when you least expect it. Croupier had such anunusual, weird history, it made an impact here and suddenly I was introducedto an American audience, so since then I have been offered a lot of movies."Owen says that he loves the challenge of playing a variety of characters,another reason why James Bond remains relatively unappealing. "That is thedeal you make if you take on something like that," Owen explains. "The onething I have always done and wanted to do is to keep everything and alloptions open and keep it as varied as possible. I have three films that areall coming out this year, including King Arthur and Closer directed by MikeNichols. I like to keep mixing it up and you know that if you take on somehuge franchise thing like Bond, then the deal would be that that youcouldn't be so diverse and fresh."

So it was with no sense of trepidation that Owen stepped into the armour ofKing Arthur, but this hardly the Arthur of Richard Harris or hispredecessors. Owen was immediately drawn to this version of the classiccharacter "because it was such a radical take on the whole story and Ididn't feel any of the weight of responsibility for it."

In this edgier, more realistic King Arthur, set in around 450 A.D, the RomanEmpire is crumbling, and the British Isles are thrown into a loose anarchyas errant knights are entrenched in years of territorial battle. Then, onewould-be king emerges to unite them, Arthur, with his concept of a RoundTable of united knights.

Owen defines his Arthur, a character rooted in a more historical realitythan the more fantasy-based versions of the story, as "a guy who has verystrong beliefs and the challenge for him is that he has to change. That is,the arc of the journey is his whole belief system which is changing, aswell as the world and Rome. He has enormous faith and that faith is alsobeing challenged."

Owen says that he found it difficult to identify with the character on anypersonal level, nor is it important to do so with any character one has toplay. "I don't think you necessarily identify and believe in the motifs ofthe character, but you have to want to play it and want to commit to thelines. I think I am more attracted to characters with a subtext, whateverthat is and they don't necessarily have to be virtuous, but they have to atleast be human."

Shooting King Arthur might have been physically tough for the actor who hadnever ridden a horse before, but at least, since the film was shot inIreland, Owen was at least able to take advantage of the night life thatcountry had to offer, he smilingly admits. "I would be lying if said Ididn't get a little taste and it is true that the Guinness in Ireland tastesdifferent."

To prove his consistent diversity, Owen has just wrapped the new RobertRodriguez film Sin City, which he enthuses was "a fantastic experience. Ithink he is so talented and a one man operation. He has got his own studio,lights, operates, and composes the music, so why does anyone else need toturn up? "

And Owen is also part of the star-studded cast of Mike Nichols' Closer, anexperience Owen is understandably relishing. "I think I said to Mike halfwaythrough the movie: If I just keep doing this for the rest of my career thatwould make me happy."

Maybe he will direct the actor in his first Bond movie?

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