Netflix rejected sequel to beloved Heath Ledger movie for a really stupid reason

Netflix rejected sequel to beloved Heath Ledger movie for a really stupid reason

23 years after its release, it’s been revealed that Heath Ledger’s historical comedy, A Knight’s Tale, came very close to having a sequel on Netflix.

A Knight’s Tale director Brian Helgeland (who is also known for L.A. Confidential, Mystic River, and Man on Fire), has recently let Heath Ledger fans in on some disappointing news. It turns out, we came very close to getting a sequel to the medieval comedy. But it never came to pass for one incredibly frustrating reason.

As he explains it, when the project was pitched to Netflix, the streaming service ended up rejecting the idea on the basis of an algorithm.

“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 said [via Inverse]. “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.”

Heath Ledger’s legacy tends to hinge on his Oscar-winning performance as the Joker in Christopher Nolan‘s The Dark Knight. Either that, or fans might associate him with the teen rom-com 10 Things I Hate About You, or for his heartbreaking turn in Brokeback Mountain. They’re all brilliant roles, but his underrated historical comedy, A Knight’s Tale, is too often forgotten.

Ledger stars as William, a young peasant squire who takes up a secret identity to compete in jousts. He rises through the competitive ranks and proves that, ultimately, it doesn’t matter where you come from. It’s a charming comedy, with truly hilarious supporting performances from Mark Addy, Paul Bettany, and Alan Tudyk. As for what the sequel could have been about, Helgeland gave some insight into that, too.

A Knight’s Tale 2 could have been a pirate movie

“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.


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“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.

“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,” he added. “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.”

The actor died in 2008, seven years after A Knight’s Tale was first released.

For more, check out our guide to all the new movies to watch this month.

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