Disney created Camelot in New York Monday night for the “King Arthur” world preem and after-bash under the lofty vaulted ceilings of St. John the Divine, the world’s largest Gothic Revival cathedral.
The appropriately medieval setting played host to drunken knights in unseasonably warm armor, who caroused around the film’s 30-foot round table. Also on hand were wenches bearing pewter steins full of Guinness and lute-strumming minstrels, not to mention a hooded peregrine falcon that grew increasingly short-tempered after being prodded all evening by close to 800 guests.
“It’s just a tiny gathering for a select group of friends in a little intimate space,” said star Keira Knightley.
Marking the thesp’s second gig for producer Jerry Bruckheimer after last summer’s smash “Pirates of the Caribbean,” Knightley’s revisionist Guinevere hits the battlefield in skimpy leather weavework that would look right at home on Christina Aguilera.
“I don’t know if I’d recommend it for battle, but it was definitely comfortable,” revealed Knightley. “While all my co-stars were dying of heat exhaustion, I was completely fine.”
This Guinevere is very much Arthur’s girl, which was bad news for Ioan Gruffudd, who plays Lancelot.
“Obviously, I was a little disappointed not to get to kiss young Keira,” said the actor.
“He keeps complaining about it, but I’m definitely not complaining,” offered Clive Owen, the pic’s Arthur.
Owen credited Bruckheimer for his choice of director Antoine Fuqua and his decision not to Hollywoodize the Arthurian tale but to shoot in Europe with a European cast.
“If you do a historic Arthur, you have to be true to what it is,” explained Bruckheimer.
“It’s very rare for a film of this scope to be shot in the U.K.,” Owen noted.
Also attending the Ziegfeld unspooling and medieval bash were cast members Stellan Skarsgard, Hugh Dancy, Joel Edgerton, Mads Mikkelson and Ray Stevenson; screenwriter David Franzoni; and Disney brass Dick Cook, Nina Jacobson and Oren Aviv.