A Knight’s Tale director says Netflix passed on making a sequel due to the algorithm

While Brian Helgeland had a few possibilities of following up his 2001 hit with a sequel, Netflix didn’t see green when it was run through their technology.

Last Updated on April 25, 2024

a knights tale

Before AI started growing as a concern in the entertainment industry in many aspects, there was and still is a struggle with the way streamers promote works to certain viewers, with their algorithms spotlighting some content while leaving others in the dark. The technology is in almost every facet of the internet to customize exposure and availability to consumers. Studios seemingly make creative decisions based on what is trending or what spikes in activity. However, rarely do you hear of movie pitches getting turned down due to the unfavorable results of an algorithm.

That’s exactly what director Brian Helgeland claims happened with Netflix after he was pitching to them an idea to do a sequel to his 2001 period film A Knight’s Tale. The first movie starred the late Heath Ledger, and while his absence alone would play a big factor in working against a sequel, Helgeland says Netflix lost interest after they measured its success through their technology. According to The Wrap, the director told Inverse, “I pitched it to Sony because they own the rights, and it seemed like they were interested in making it with Netflix and releasing it as a Netflix movie. My understanding is that Netflix tested this sequel idea through their algorithms, which indicated that it would not be successful.” This was to his surprise as he said, A Knight’s Tale seems to get more popular with every passing year; it’s the strangest thing.”

Helgeland had an idea for a pirate sequel right after wrapping on the first film and said, “The plot revolved around Count Adhemar [Rufus Sewell] kidnapping Jocelyn [Shannyn Sossamon] and taking her to Constantinople. 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.” Helgeland explained that Sony was not interested at the time.

The stars of the first film, Paul Bettany and Alan Tudyk, also conceived of a sequel idea to work around Ledger’s character, which involved killing him off and following his daughter. Helgeland explained that their idea was, “William has a teenage daughter who wants to joust, but she’s not allowed to because she’s a woman. 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.”

Source: The Wrap, Inverse

About the Author

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E.J. is a News Editor at JoBlo, as well as a Video Editor, Writer, and Narrator for some of the movie retrospectives on our JoBlo Originals YouTube channel, including Reel Action, Revisited and some of the Top 10 lists. He is a graduate of the film program at Missouri Western State University with concentrations in performance, writing, editing and directing.