‘A Knight’s Tale’ Director Reveals Axed Sequel Ideas and Says ‘Netflix Tested’ One Idea but ‘Indicated It Would Not Be Successful’

“A Knight’s Tale” director Brian Helgeland revealed in a career retrospective interview with Inverse that his efforts to make a sequel to his 2001 medieval action-comedy classic were apparently thwarted by the Netflix algorithm.

“When we finished ‘A Knight’s Tale,’ we were already thinking about making the sequel as a pirate film,” Helgeland said. “The plot revolved around Count Adhemar (Rufus Sewell) kidnapping Jocelyn (Shannyn Sossamon) and taking her to Constantinople. They end up as galley slaves after their boat is captured by pirates. There’s a prisoner on the boat who has a treasure map tattooed on his back, but he keeps getting flogged for indiscipline. The guys volunteer to take turns getting flogged in this prisoner’s place, so the map isn’t erased. Sony didn’t want to do it.”

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Sony released “A Knight’s Tale” to $117 million at the worldwide box office in summer 2001. Heath Ledger led the ensemble cast, which also included Paul Bettany and Alan Tudyk. Helgeland said a second idea for a sequel emerged based on a pitch from Bettany and Tudyk. By then Ledger had sadly passed away, but the actors’ pitch found a way to continue the story.

“The guys had an idea that William (Ledger) had passed away during a war. However, William has a teenage daughter who wants to joust, but she’s not allowed to because she’s a woman,” the director said. “She tracks down the gang and they agree to teach her how to joust, but she has to hide who she is. They cut her hair short and she speaks with a deep voice, et cetera.”

“I pitched it to Sony because they own the rights, and it seemed like they were interested in making it with Netflix, releasing it as a Netflix movie,” he added. “My understanding is that Netflix tested this sequel idea through their algorithms, which indicated that it would not be successful. ‘A Knight’s Tale’ seems to get more popular with every passing year; it’s the strangest thing.”

Variety reached out to Netflix for comment.

Netflix isn’t afraid of turning older movies into franchises. Adam Sandler is reportedly developing a sequel to his 1996 sports comedy “Happy Gilmore” for the streamer. However, perhaps “A Knight’s Tale” sequel without Ledger headlining just wasn’t of interest. The original movie opened at a time when Ledger’s star power was ascending in Hollywood following his breakthrough role in “10 Things I Hate About You” two years earlier. Ledger followed “A Knight’s Tale” with “Monster’s Ball” and “The Four Feathers.”

Head over to Inverse’s website to read Helgeland’s full interview.

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