Why Netflix’s New Royal Drama ‘The King’ Feels Relevant Today

The King

The streaming service that captivated us with a 20th-century queen in The Crown is going back to the 15th century for a different kind of royal drama.

The King stars Call Me by Your Name‘s Timothée Chalamet (above) as young Henry V, aka Prince Hal, who has cast off the privileges and responsibilities of his rank to party with the people. But when his tyrannical father (Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline) dies, Hal must claim his birthright and reluctantly take the throne. What follows is his struggle to put things right in England after his father’s troubled reign — and not to be corrupted by power.

Director David Michôd cowrote the film with actor Joel Edgerton (Boy Erased), who also plays Hal’s hard-drinking confidant Falstaff. The pair based The King on another iconic portrayal of Henry V.

“We [use] Shakespeare’s plays as a launching pad but somewhat depart from them,” says Edgerton. “We’re using elements of true history, we’re borrowing from Shakespeare, and then we’re putting it through our own filter.”

Michôd hopes their take strikes a chord with viewers: “I think our version feels relevant because it speaks to the almost dysfunctional nature of the institutions of power today.”

The King, Movie Premiere, Friday, November 1, Netflix