How Danny McBride will tweak fantasy in Your Highness, with Natalie Portman

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

Danny McBride, who co-wrote and stars in the fantasy comedy Your Highness, told reporters that the film will offer a new comedic take on the sword-and-sorcery genre and confirmed that Natalie Portman will play a role. The film, directed by David Gordon Green, stars McBride as a lazy prince who has to step into action to fight an evil wizard.

"It's just like a classic quest tale with all of our f--ked-up view on it," McBride said in a group interview on Friday in Hollywood, where he was promoting Land of the Lost. "There's everything from stop-motion creatures in it to crazy CG creatures to puppets, like in Dark Crystal. It's a wide variety of things that we're pulling from that are going to be in it."

The following Q&A features edited excerpts from the interview. Your Highness begins filming this summer.

What's going on with Your Highness?

McBride: We're actually doing that right now. I just came from Belfast. We're over there getting that going, and that's shaping up really nice. We just snagged Natalie Portman this week, so right now it's [James] Franco, Natalie Portman and myself. We're looking to lock the rest of the cast down in the next week or so, but it looks like it's going to be a pretty crazy movie. The sets are being built. It's all huge and crazy. I've got to learn how to ride [a] horse and swing a sword starting next week, so that should be interesting.

Is it a stoner medieval comedy?

McBride: It's not really stoner. I guess it's stoner as much as the Lord of the Rings books were for that culture. I mean, if you're stoned, you'll probably get a kick out of watching this. My character is a lazy second-born prince that knows he's not going to be king, so he just f--ks off all the time. He smokes a little bit of the wizard's grass, but it's not centered around smoking the wizard's [grass]. Franco's my older brother, and he's like an action star. He's amazing; everyone loves him. His fiancee gets kidnapped by this evil wizard, and we have to go on the road and save her.

Do you have fun with the magical fantasy cliches?

McBride: Yeah. We don't want it to be a spoof at all, so it's all just kind of inspired by those things, but it just has its own tone. That's been kind of interesting when we're in the meetings with the people at Universal, and they're like, "What is this movie?" Like, it's Barry Lyndon meets Krull. They're just like, "I don't know if we're interested in that movie."

Would you approach an Ian McKellen or Christopher Lee for the wizard role?

McBride: You know, there were thoughts of that. The casting, they're taking it very seriously. David's been over in London casting. For the most part, besides Natalie and Franco and myself, we're going for a pretty much total British cast, and not necessarily comedians. We want the world to feel like it is a fantasy movie: It is serious, and then the comedy just comes from "This is the last dude who belongs in this sort of world." So those sort of caliber of actors, that's definitely something that we would be interested in, to make it feel like it's real, as real as a fantasy movie, I guess, can feel.

How long is the shoot?

McBride: We start it in July. We start, I think, in the second week of July, and we go until October, into the middle of October.