Knight's Tale, A (2001) - Synopsis

A Knight's Tale (2001) heading

"If a man believes enough, a man can do anything," a poor thatcher tells his son. "A man can change his stars." But in 14th century Europe, fortunes are not made-they are predestined.

For lowborn William, the son of this poor thatcher, it seems incomprehensible that he could ever realize his foolish childhood dream of knighthood. In this day and age, upward mobility is not a common concept. Fortune is not changed overnight. People die in the same station into which they are born. That is the natural order.

But one day, at a medieval jousting tournament, where knights race toward each other in tests of skill and nerve and the strains of Queen's "We Will Rock You" sets the pace with its prophetic lyrics, "gonna be a big man some day," fate deals the unheralded William a shot at the ring. Before long he has reinvented himself, exploding into noble superstar Ulrich von Lichtenstein of Gelderland to the sounds of thunderous hoof beats, the rising roar of the crowd and an infusion of popular music.

Newly christened Sir Ulrich is soon catapulted into the Michael Jordan of the medieval joust, the MVP of the 14th century Super Bowl, the gold medal winner at the tournament Olympics. He is a knight-if only in skill and not name-jousting in a no-holds-barred battle for pride, power and prestige. He has changed his destiny.

The timeless tale of William (Heath Ledger) and his band of medieval misfits- including serious, soft-hearted Roland (Mark Addy), hot-headed, flame-haired Wat (Alan Tudyk) and unemployed writer Geoff Chaucer (Paul Bettany)-careening towards impossible glory, Columbia Pictures' A Knight's Tale is the oddball, sometimes awe-inspiring story of a rookie discovering if he is the stuff of which legends are made.

Part road trip, part romance, part exuberant action-adventure, the film is a rich, romantic, raucous ride during which a young squire embarks on a quest to change his stars, win the heart of an exceedingly fair maiden (Shannyn Sossamon) and rock his medieval world.

As modern, accessible, vibrant, funny, sexy and stylish as the sleek new age armor William dons in his climb up the ladder of riches and fame, the colorful saga A Knight's Tale springs from the imagination of Academy Award-winning writer-director Brian Helgeland (l.A. Confidential (1997), Payback (1999)). The Escape Artists/ Finestkind Production is produced by Tim Van Rellim (Invisible Circus (2001), K2 (1991)) and Todd Black (Fire In The Sky (1993).

The international cast also includes Rufus Sewell, Laura Fraser, Bérénice Bejo, Christopher Cazenove and James Purefoy. The creative team includes Academy Award-nominated director of photography Richard Greatrex, BSC, Academy Award-nominated production designer Tony Burrough and costume and armor designer Caroline Harris, all from England.

Editor Kevin Stitt comes from the U. S. as does composer Carter Burwell. The international company numbered technicians, artisans and staff from England, the Czech Republic, the United States, Italy, Germany, Ireland and Hungary.