Timothée Chalamet plays a young prince who likes to party but is forced to contend with wielding power after the death of his tyrannical father in David Michod’s “The King,” which has its premiere in Venice on Monday.
And when Chalamet’s character, Hal, reluctantly takes the throne, he at first navigates politics, chaos and his father’s war using a moral compass and his pacifist instincts in a way that Chalamet said is still relevant.
“Even to this day there are people born in royal families and wealth or something,” Chalamet said at the film’s press conference. “And the struggle of that is less in status and more in humanity,” he added.
Loosely based on several Shakespeare plays, the film – which was co-written by Michod and Joel Edgerton, who also stars – offers a fresh take on the Bard’s world since “in the Shakespeare productions of the last century or something…there was a real aversion to using young actors for these roles,” Chalamet said. “There’s something haunting or disturbed about young people wielding so much power.”
Which, again, is something that is still happening today. “There’s modern [analogies] in the world,” he said. “There are people still today that come into power by lineage…and who wield it in any way they want.”
Lily-Rose Depp plays Princess Catherine de Valois, the King’s wife, who quietly challenges the young king on his sense of himself. “We are talking about a time period in which women were given almost no power, and no choice over their own lives,” she said. “I think that the way my character harnesses her power, in a very calm way but with a lot of conviction and a lot of strength, is a really nice message to send.”