In the history of cinema, it’s hard to find a character who has been re-envisioned more times than Robin Hood. A completely unofficial tally on IMDb yields more than 22 takes on the character, and on May 14, the team of Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe are unveiling one more.
The first questions are obvious ones: Why Robin of Locksley again? And why now?
“God bless all the preceding Robin Hoods,” the “Blade Runner” and “Alien” filmmaker told MTV News. “It’s hard making a good movie, but I wanted to etch my legend in history — and I personally believe that the legend existed.”
Much like so many fabled historical figures, oral tradition has become cinematic tradition, which has called into question whether a person like Robin ever really did walk among us. “There’s no smoke without fire,” Scott argued, saying that he and Crowe set out to make the most realistic Robin yet. “Robin of Locksley, Robin of Sherwood, Robin Hood or his other generic name, the Green Man — there are pubs across England called the Green Man. We believe that this is probably a link to Robin Hood. There must be something.”
So once Scott decided to make a film that would treat Robin as a reality — and found his man in frequent collaborator Russell Crowe — the intense history buff went to work. “I never liked the green tights,” he grinned. “I never liked the feather in the hat. That didn’t work for me. Even as a kid, I thought, ’That’s not my idea of Robin Hood.’ ”
But far from being dismissive, Scott said almost every Robin Hood movie has had something in it worth watching. “I thought Kevin Costner’s [’Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’] was fun but leaned more heavily on the clowning of Robin Hood,” he explained. “I liked ’Ivanhoe.’ And I liked Mel Brooks’ [’Robin Hood: Men in Tights’], because he took such a popular fellow and made him into a comedy.
“In this one, I wanted to go real, because I feel he really existed,” Sir Ridley said of his film, which feels in some ways like a “Batman Begins” or “Casino Royale” reboot of the character. “The ones to date have always treated Robin Hood like a myth, part of a fairy story. I always figured that there was so much written about Robin that he definitely existed.”
So is this meant as the end-all, be-all take on the character? Not so fast, said the veteran filmmaker. “I hope this is the prequel!”
Make way for Tony Stark! Look out for Carrie Bradshaw! Here come Edward and Bella! The 2010 summer movie season has begun, and with it the return of familiar faces and the emergence of new ones. All week long during Summer Movie Preview Week, MTV News will be bringing you exclusive interviews, clips and photos for the most anticipated films of the coming months. Get ready to gorge on inside looks at “Eclipse,” “Iron Man 2,” “Predators,” “The Other Guys,” “Beastly,” “Robin Hood” and more.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Robin Hood.”
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