The other week, we learned that Game of Thrones veteran Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister) will play William the Conqueror in a new miniseries titled King and Conqueror, about the life of the man who famously defeated the English army and remade Britain in his image at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Funnily enough, in George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones universe, the man who took over Westeros centuries before the story gets going — Aegon I Targaryen, also known as the Aegon the Conqueror — was based on William the Conqueror, so there's a fun synchronicity in Coster-Waldau taking on the role.
As it happens, there's also a feature film about William in the works: The Conquest: William the Conqueror, written and produced by Solomon J LeFlore. Speaking to The Guardian, LeFlore said the popularity of Game of Thrones has something to do with the sudden cinematic interest in Williams the Conqueror, and in historical figures more broadly; did you know that there's a movie about Napoleon in theaters right now?
LeFlore described his movie as "a Shakespearean melodrama with all the critical elements that made Game of Thrones and other historical tales an incredibly popular genre." He also had some more patronizing ideas about why stories like this may be popular right now. "William has all of the powerful elements that young audiences – especially video-gamers – look for in heroic or powerful characters."
Putting aside whether there's anything in particular about William the Conqueror that would appeal especially to people who like video games, LeFlore is surprised there have been so few cinematic interpretations of William's life over the years, give or take a little-seen TV movie in 2015. That point I agree with. "It is the biggest mystery. But such a fascinating story in a very important time in history," LeFlore said. "We've had how many Robin Hood films? But the fact is that there hasn't been a William, and he's such a transformative character."
We don't yet have release dates for either King and Conqueror or The Conquest, but whenever his movie comes out, LeFlore promises historical accuracy: "William's life was so fascinating. Why would you deviate away from the factual history of that story? There's no reason to."