Ridley Scott Didn’t Treat Robin Hood Like A ‘Myth’

'I really believe he existed,' director says of Russell Crowe's character.

Between Monty Python’s send-up, Kevin Costner’s heartthrob-centric take and Mel Brooks’ farce, the mythic character of Robin Hood hasn’t fared very well in pop culture these last few decades. Ridley Scott isn’t a fan of such depictions either, which is why he was dead-set on reinventing the character for a 21st-century audience in his upcoming “Robin Hood.”

“I never liked the green tights,” he told MTV News. “I didn’t like the feather in the hat. It didn’t work for me. Even as a kid, it was not my idea of Robin Hood.”

His of idea of Robin Hood, rather, has more in common with the main character of “Gladiator,” a sharp-witted, tough-minded badass who knows how to handle his weaponry. No surprise there, as Scott directed that Oscar-winning flick and recruited star Russell Crowe to play the title role in “Robin Hood” (out Friday). They both knew exactly the approach they wanted to take, and it had nothing to do with Costner’s 1991 version of the folkloric hero.

“Kevin Costner’s was fun, leaning more heavily on the clowning of Robin Hood,” Scott explained. “On this one, I wanted to go more real, because I really believe he existed. The ones to date always treated Robin Hood like a myth, part of a fairy story.”

Scott and his screenwriters sought to ground the story in verifiable history, choosing to spin a plotline that began in the late 12th century and then proceeded through a time when the English kingdom was bankrupt and reeling from the reign of a king who became known as Bad King John. Once they plopped Robin Hood into the center of social and economic upheaval, the story gained an air of truthfulness and gravity missing from other imaginings of the character. It also gained an Oscar-winning actor as its lead.

“I just wouldn’t have done it if it were a conventional take,” Crowe told us. “There’s no need for anyone in the world to see that series of clichés again.”

Check out everything we’ve got on “Robin Hood.”

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