In 2015, a year dominated by spy movies, the one that stood out for its sheer originality and bold zaniness was Kingsman: The Secret Service - based on Mark Millar’s popular Icon Comics series - which spawned an even more bizarre sequel, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, two years later. Co-writer and director Matthew Vaughn has returned for a third installment called The King’s Man, which will focus on the origins of the titular intelligence agency during the early 20th Century.
Of course, as is the case for most prequels, The King’s Man cast employs a whole new (and very exciting) ensemble, including two-time Oscar nominee Ralph Fiennes. We shall start with him as we explore who is playing who (a phrase that may actually have more than one meaning in this case) in one of the most anticipated 2021 movies.
Ralph Fiennes (Orlando, Duke Of Oxford)
Leading The King’s Man cast as Orlando, a Kingsman member (and the Duke of Oxford), is Ralph Fiennes, who has previous experience in comic book movies (Alfred in The LEGO Batman Movie) and spy movies (James Bond’s “M” since Skyfall). Of course, his most famous franchise is the Harry Potter movies, in which he played the ruthless Voldemort.
The Shakespearean-trained performer is one of cinema’s most respected British actors today with two Oscar nominations (Schindler’s List in 1993 and 1997’s The English Patient) to prove it. His resume is full of plenty more Oscar-nominated films such as The Constant Gardener from 2005, Martin McDonough’s dark comedy In Bruges in 2008, Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, and the animated Kubo and the Two Strings, just to name a few.
Harris Dickinson (Conrad Oxford)
As Ralph Fiennes’ onscreen son, Conrad, in The King’s Man, we have Harris Dickinson, who made his critically acclaimed feature-length film debut in the coming-of-age, LGBTQ+ drama Beach Rats in 2017. The British actor was cast as real-life kidnapping victim J. Paul Getty III in the FX miniseries Trust the following year.
Also in 2018, he played a telekinetic teen in The Darkest Minds, but had an even bigger year in 2019 when he joined Netflix’s The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance cast as Gurjin and appeared in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil as Prince Phillip. In 2022, Dickinson will appear in another sequel (The Souvenir Part II) and the star-studded mystery drama Where the Crawdads Sing.
Gemma Arterton (Polly Wilkins)
Previously working with Ralph Fiennes in Clash of the Titans before appearing on The King’s Man cast as the trigger-happy Polly Wilkins is Gemma Arterton. The fellow Brit already knows a thing or two about kicking some ass onscreen.
Gemma Arterton previously appeared in Guy Ritchie’s RocknRolla in 2008, the video game movie Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time in 2010, and 2013’s action-packed reinterpretation of a Grimm Brothers’ classic, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, as Gretel. Outside of action movies, Arterton has also appeared in comedies like Netflix’s Murdery Mystery and led the cast of the FX/BBC produced, miniseries period drama Black Narcissus in 2020.
Rhys Ifans (Grigori Rasputin)
Playing an exaggerated version of Grigori Rasputin in The King’s Man is an almost completely unrecognizable Rhys Ifans. Like Ralph Fiennes, Ifans is also a veteran of comic book movies (Lizard in The Amazing Spider-Man in 2012 and 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home), the Harry Potter movies (Xenophilius Lovegood), spy movies (Oliver Stone’s Snowden, if that counts), and playing Oxford-based royalty (Roland Emmerich’s Anonymous in 2011).
Ifans is also well known for playing Hugh Grant’s roommate in 1999’s Notting Hill and starring in period pieces like Elizabeth: The Golden Age. The fantasy genre has also been a recurrence in Ifans’ career and which will continue with HBO’s upcoming Game of Thrones prequel, House of Dragons.
Matthew Goode (Morton)
Our next (and certainly not last) comic book veteran on The King’s Man cast is Matthew Goode. The British actor started getting noticed as Mandy Moore’s love interest in Chasing Liberty and Scarlett Johansson’s cuckolded love interest in Match Point before playing Ozymandias in Zack Snyder’s Watchmen in 2009.
Goode has also done various period pieces both on the big screen (such as 2008’s Brideshead Revisited and The Imitation Game with Benedict Cumberbatch in 2014) and the small screen (he landed recurring roles on both the Downton Abbey cast and on Netflix’s The Crown). In 2022, the Silent Night star will reprise his role as the vampiric Matthew Clairmont on the romantic supernatural drama A Discovery of Witches for its third season.
Tom Hollander (King George/Kaiser Wilhelm/Tsar Nicholas)
Juggling three roles in The King’s Man (namely King George, Kaiser Wilhelm, and Tsar Nicholas) is Tom Hollander. This actor began to gain notoriety as part of the ensemble cast of Robert Altman’s 2001 murder mystery Gosford Park and 2005’s Pride & Prejudice adaptation before playing an antagonist of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies called Lord Cutler Beckett.
In fact, Tom Hollander has played a number of antagonistic characters, such as Lance Corkoran on the acclaimed AMC miniseries The Night Manager and the unhinged Gary in Netflix’s Bird Box in 2018. Among his better known roles as of late, Hollander played long-time Queen manager Jim Beach in Bohemian Rhapsody and made his comic book adaptation debut on HBO Max’s animated Harley Quinn series as the voice of Alfred Pennyworth in 2020.
Daniel Brühl (Erik Jan Hanussen)
Yet another The King’s Man cast member with previous comic book adaptation experience is the Spanish-born, German-raised Daniel Brühl, who plays real-life Austrian-Jewish charlatan Erik Jan Hanussen in the film. American audiences began to take interest in Daniel Brühl after he played Nazi soldier turned autobiographical movie star Fredrick Zoller on Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds cast.
However, he is even better known internationally by now as Zemo in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War and on Disney+’s Falcon and the Winter Soldier cast in 2021. He also has two Golden Globes for 2013’s competitor driver biopic Rush and TNT’s suspenseful period drama The Alienist and made his directorial debut in 2021 with the Berlin-set social commentary Next Door, which he also stars in.
Djimon Hounsou (Shola)
As Kingsman agent Shola, we have Djimon Honsou, who has starred in Marvel movies (and lent his voice to Disney+’s What If…? cast) as the Kree warrior Korath. However, he has also appeared in DC movies Constantine, Aquaman, Shazam!.
Djimon Hounsou also has two Oscar nominations for Steven Spielberg’s Amistad and the International crime thriller Blood Diamond and also starred in the Best Picture-winner Gladiator between them. The King’s Man is only the latest franchise endeavor that Hounsou has participated in after starring in How To Train Your Dragon 2, Furious 7, and A Quiet Place Part II most recently.
Charles Dance (Herbert Kitchener)
As real-life, World War I-era British Army officer Herbert Kitchener, we have Charles Dance, whose long and esteemed career is filled with connections to most of his fellow The King’s Man cast members. He played a Bond villain in 1981’s For Your Eyes Only, starred in Gosford Park and Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, and was Tywin Lannister on the Game of Thrones cast.
Charles Dance also had a recurring role on Netflix's The Crown and will soon star on the streaming platform's series adaptation of the DC comic The Sandman. Dance has also worked with director David Fincher on Alien 3 and the 2020 Netflix original Mank, was part of the Underworld movies cast, and played the main human villain of Godzilla: King of the Monsters in 2019.
Saving the world has not looked so old school since… well, the first Kingsman movie, probably. For that, you need an ensemble who know what they are doing and that describes The King’s Man cast to a T.
Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.
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