10 Actors Who Have Portrayed Kings on the Big Screen
Timothée Chalamet is everywhere these days, set to star in the forthcoming Little Women and Dune remakes. But, before we get to those in 2020, this Friday we can look for him in the title role of the biopic The King. Which king, you ask? He's set to portray the unpredictable Prince Hal, who is crowned as King Henry V when his tyrannical father dies.
If you haven't seen it yet, here's a look at the trailer:
Chalamet isn't the first to play a royal ruler, nor will he be the last. Here is a look at 10 movie portrayals of monarchs, from historical and mythical to superhero... even animated:
1. Colin Firth
In 2010, Colin Firth portrayed King George VI, who struggled with a stuttering problem. A reluctant patient, he sought consult from a speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), and overcame his impediment. That's a sign of a true leader, being able to admit weakness and ask for help. You can look for Helena Bonham Carter as his wife Queen Elizabeth, who was instrumental in getting George to face his fears. Behind every great king... there is an even better queen.
2. Leonardo DiCaprio
1998's The Man in the Iron Mask is fictional, but pulled from a historical story. Leonardo DiCaprio plays two characters, King Louis XIV and a man who has been locked away his entire life. The man's identity is unknown, as he's hidden behind an iron mask. It's believed the King locked away his twin brother as to be the sole ruler. Not all kings are principled, but instead self-serving. In this case, the four Musketeers (Gabriel Byrne, Jeremy Irons, Gérard Depardieu and John Malkovich) were on hand to help pull in his reign.
3. Charlie Hunnam
The story of King Arthur and the knights of the round table has been told many a times. In 2017, Charlie Hunnam took a stab at it (pun intended), portraying a street-dwelling Arthur, who when pulling the legendary sword out of the stone, was deemed the rightful heir to the throne. Like many rulers, Arthur was reluctant. But when the time came, he rose to the occasion, exhibiting composure under pressure. Hunnam teamed up with director Guy Ritchie on the retelling of this classic story.
4. Gerard Butler
2006's 300 tells the story of the Spartan king, Leonidas. Gerard Butler takes on the portrayal of the military monarch, leading 300 of his men into battle in 480 B.C. Kings sometimes stay home, safely behind brick and mortar, but not Leonidas. He was on the frontlines with his soldiers. You can also look for GoT's Lena Headey as Queen Gorgo.
5. Anthony Hopkins
Chris Hemsworth takes on the title role in 2011's Thor, with Tom Hiddleston starring as his half-brother Loki. Loki is rather sinister, causing some serious problems, but it all whittles down to sibling rivalry. Loki is seeking the acceptance of his father, King Odin (Anthony Hopkins). Odin is a fair king and patient father, but one can only take so much. Like, did Loki really have to try to destroy the universe to get his father's attention? They could've just grabbed a couple of cosmic martinis.
6. Chadwick Boseman
2018's Black Panther sees Chadwick Boseman as King T'Challa, who later takes on the alter-ego of Black Panther. King T'Challa fights to save his kingdom of Wakanda, a fictional African nation. Faced with a threat, the young king rallies his allies. He also relies on his abilities as Black Panther to go to battle and keep the safety of his people intact. Aren't all kings kind of superheroes in their own right? Well, at the least, they do have abilities that go beyond the common man.
7. James Earl Jones
James Earl Jones has played a king more than once, first in 1988's Coming to America as King Jaffe Joffer, father to Eddie Murphy's Prince Akeem. Again in 1994, in The Lion the King, providing his voice to Mufasa, King of the Jungle. He reprised the role of Mufasa, returning for the 2019 reboot of the animated musical. Another trait of a good leader is to make sacrifices for the better of their kingdom. Mufasa made the ultimate sacrifice to save his young son, Simba.
8. Forest Whitaker
Forest Whittaker and James McAvoy star in the 2006 dramatic biopic The Last King of Scotland. Whittaker portrays real-life President of Uganda, Idi Amin. He was not actually a king, but had a penchant for giving himself titles. So, if he believes he's the uncrowned King of Scotland, is it true (to him)? Kings are known to have a God-complex... if the crown fits, wear it.
9. Bob the Minion
In 2015's Minions, Stuart, Kevin and Bob are recruited by supervillain Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock) to dethrone Queen Elizabeth II and steal the Crown Jewels. The trio are successful, with Bob taking over her reign, becoming King Bob. He does a bang-up job, getting the crowds pepped up, giving a killer speech and even dropping the mic... A good ruler knows how to make an exit. One might argue the case that Bob is not an actor, but according to Shakespeare, "All the world's a stage and all the men and women (and minions) merely players."
10. Rowan Atkinson
In 2003's comic-driven espionage film Johnny English, Rowan Atkinson takes on the title role. In the above clip, we see John Malkovich's Pascal Sauvage about to be undeservedly crowned the King of England. English reveals Sauvage as deceitful, saving the day. English is crowned King, purely by accident, but he handles his power with grace. His first order? "Take him away!!" Did he get that from watching TV??
Based on this list, who do you think played king best!? Our vote goes to Bob the Minion!!