An ancient legend gets a modern retelling in The Kid Who Would Be King, in theaters on January 25. The film is based on the classic story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. This version follows Alex, a boy tormented by school bullies. One night, while trying to escape them, Alex runs into a demolished building, where he finds a sword stuck in a stone pillar. When he pulls the sword from the stone, Alex awakens the wizard Merlin and the evil Morgana, King Arthur’s ancient enemy. Now, with the help of his friends, Alex sets out to save the world from Morgana’s wrath.
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Writer and director JOE CORNISH spoke with TIME for Kids about his inspiration for the film. “I was excited to connect modern-day kids with the traditional idea of the knight’s code,” he says. Cornish loved watching films about King Arthur when he was young, and he always hoped to create his own movie based on the legend. “I wanted to show that kids are just as noble, bold, and capable of improving the world as knights were hundreds of years ago,” he says.