Netflix’s Timothée Chalamet-starring historical drama The King is full of atmospheric war scenes, culminating with the legendary Battle of Agincourt as a small army of English soldiers battles the mighty French in brutal, muddy and claustrophobic combat.
“It was important to me in those battle scenes that they feel very real and very human,” director David Michôd told RadioTimes.com.
“I wanted them to all be shot from a human eye level. I wanted them to feel claustrophobic. I didn’t want them to be lavish exercises in swordplay or sprays of blood. And in a way I wanted them just to be true of what we know of Agincourt, which is that most of the people who died there died from being crushed to death, or drowned in the mud.
“We know that we’re not putting it on a drone. We’re not throwing it up at a giant crane. Sound get to go nuts, because it becomes about the close-quarters crunching of armour and people heaving for breath. Just fighting to stay alive.”
However, within that crush the scene ends up accidentally evoking another battle – and not one drawn from history. In the latter moments of the clash, after being crushed by fighters and pushed into the mud by other warriors, Joel Edgerton’s Falstaff pushes to the top and takes a desperate breath, demonstrated to the viewers by an overhead crane shot.
It’s a stirring, exciting moment – but it also looks uncannily similar to a famous scene in Game of Thrones’ famous Battle of the Bastards episode, where Kit Harington’s Jon Snow goes through a similar process of near-suffocation followed by glorious release, shot from far above.
— Amenadiel (@AhMadMostafa7) November 3, 2019
Fans have been quick to notice the similarity – and according to Michôd, the unintentional mirroring has been a bit of a headache.
“No, that was an accident,” Michôd told us. “Weirdly, the only Game of Thrones I’ve seen is the final episode. For some reason, I put myself through the abstract exercise of sitting and watching that. It didn’t make me want to go back and watch the rest.
“But I did watch the Battle of the Bastards, try and work out, just with regard to visual effects, how to put the thing together. So I can’t claim to have not seen that scene, but it was so completely unintentional.”
Apparently, in the time since he completed the movie various people have pointed out the similarity to Michôd – though of course, that’s not much use to him now.
“I just don’t know why no-one mentioned it to me when I was still finishing the movie,” he mused. “It’s so weird.
“It’s been in the cut for like a year, and not a single person has mentioned to me that it might look like a shot from Game of Thrones. Someone would have mentioned it, somewhere, surely.”
“And having said what I just said, about not throwing the camera on a crane, or anything, that’s the one crane shot in the whole sequence – and it just happens to look very much like a total rip-off, from a very popular TV show!”
It could be worse – at least he didn’t leave a coffee cup sitting on the set…
The King is streaming on Netflix now