I really enjoyed Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves when it was released in 1991. It was chock full of that swash-buckling action and adventure you would expect from a movie about the legendary hero, but also featured enough new elements to keep things fresh and interesting.
However, there was just something not quite right about a couple of accents featured in the film - namely American Christian Slater’s attempt to be British-sounding as Will Scarlett and fellow American Kevin Costner’s lack of attempt to be British-sounding as the title character.
It was during a time when Costner was the hottest ticket in Hollywood so it didn’t matter, though looking back a guy like Cary Elwes, who is actually a Pom, was probably better suited to playing Robin of Sherwood as he showed just a couple of years later in Robin Hood: Men In Tights – even if it was a Mel Brooks spoofing.
The next big budget, big screen adaptation about the guy who supposedly wore tights and led a band of merry men – which is currently untitled and being directed by veteran director Ridley Scott - will feature neither an American or a Brit, but of course an Australian … who was born in New Zealand, in the form of Russell Crowe.
He will follow in the footsteps of another kind-of Aussie in Errol Flynn, the Tasmanian (yeah, just kidding, that is Australia – I do live in Melbourne after all) who was in probably the biggest Robin Hood movie of all-time (for those born before the 1970s anyway), The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938).
Regardless of his nationality, you can bet an actor the quality of Crowe, the Academy Award-winning star of Gladiator, will put on a believable English accent which should add considerable weight to the character and the movie.
Speaking of weight, that is really the only concern with his casting. With principal photography for the film having just began, I hope the almost 45-year-old (next week) has got himself in shape for the part.
While he probably won’t quite have the Gladiator body, he may have the hair. Contrary to the image above, Crowe won’t sport the trademark long flowing Robin locks.
Crowe has hacked off the hair he was growing to play Robin because he decided his medieval hero wouldn’t look like a rocker, according to wenn.com.
He was quoted as saying, ”I just got sick of it. I made two movies working around the length of the hair – just for Robin Hood – and then, once we finally got the green light, and I knew that I had to click into the work-outs seriously, it didn’t suit any more.”
And, unlike previous movie Robin Hoods, Crowe won’t be wearing tights: “Basically, the period we’re dealing with is 1198 to 1202 and tights weren’t invented for another 400 years.
“I do have a pretty nice, snazzy pair of leather pants with a rather large cod piece.”
Via movieweb.com, Paramount Pictures released a summary of the film last week, which read like this : “In 13th century England, Robin and his band of marauders confront corruption in a local village and lead an uprising against the crown that will forever alter the balance of world power.
“And whether thief or hero, one man from humble beginnings will become an eternal symbol of freedom for his people.
“The untitled adventure chronicles the life of an expert archer, previously interested only in self-preservation, from his service in King Richard’s army against the French.
“Upon Richard’s death, Robin travels to Nottingham, a town suffering from the corruption of a despotic sheriff and crippling taxation, where he falls for the spirited widow Lady Marion (Cate Blanchett), a woman skeptical of the identity and motivations of this crusader from the forest.
“Hoping to earn the hand of Maid Marion and salvage the village, Robin assembles a gang whose lethal mercenary skills are matched only by its appetite for life. Together, they begin preying on the indulgent upper class to correct injustices under the sheriff.
“With their country weakened from decades of war, embattled from the ineffective rule of the new king and vulnerable to insurgencies from within and threats from afar, Robin and his men heed a call to ever greater adventure.
“This unlikeliest of heroes and his allies set off to protect their country from slipping into bloody civil war and return glory to England once more.”
As well as Crowe and Blanchett, the film also stars Vanessa Redgrave as John and Richard’s mother, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine; Mark Strong as King John’s vicious henchman, Sir Godfrey; Oscar Isaac as King John; and Scott Grimes as Will Scarlet; Kevin Durand as Little John.