Their collaborations have taken them across the globe and through the fabric of time, from ancient Rome to French wine country to the drug-filled streets of '70s-era New York to the hidden world of government espionage. Back and forth, back and forth Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott have gone with "Gladiator," "A Good Year," "American Gangster" and "Body of Lies."
For their fifth movie together, they're headed back in time again — way back to the 12th century. It's in this time period — a moment during which England was undergoing often violent social, political and economic upheaval — that they choose to set "Robin Hood," a sort of origin story of the folkloric champion of the common man.
MTV News has been following this project from its origins as well, bringing you development updates, casting news, trailers, clips and interviews with the cast and crew. Now that the film is due in theaters on Friday (May 14), we bring you everything you need to know about "Robin Hood" with another edition of MTV News' big-screen cheat sheet.
From 'Nottingham' to the 'Hood'
Back in summer 2007, Scott had plans for a film called "Nottingham" that would feature the iconic sheriff facing off against a Robin Hood cast as the bad guy. "L.A. Confidential" writer Brian Helgeland was tapped to write the screenplay. Producer Brian Grazer called it the " 'Gladiator' version of Robin Hood" and cast Crowe as the sheriff.
A year later, the project took a wacky turn, when Scott told MTV News that Crowe would be playing both the Sheriff of Nottingham and Robin Hood. But wait! Months later Grazer told us that Crowe would play a version of Robin who takes over the identity of Nottingham after he dies early in the film. But ... but ... wait! By February 2009, the project had shifted again. It was now called "Robin Hood" and would tell its story strictly from that title character's point of view. Got it? Crowe is Robin and he faces off against Nottingham, just as the folklore tells us.
Populating Sherwood Forest
With the plot specifics locked down, Scott began to build the rest of his cast. Cate Blanchett signed on to play Robin's love interest, Maid Marion. Mark Strong was cast as one of the king's enforcers, William Hurt came onboard as a legendary knight named the 1st Earl of Pembroke, and Danny Huston became King Richard the Lionheart.
Filming kicked off in late March 2009, and by the end of the year, the first trailer popped up online. It was filled with plenty of creepily dark forests, an eerie soundtrack and a sneak peek at some truly badass action scenes. The scope of the movie was clearly enormous. A second trailer — showcasing more action and a heady dose of storytelling — dropped online in March. We also found out the film would open the 63rd Cannes Film Festival.
Meet Your New Folk Hero
Before Crowe and Scott took their film to the Mediterranean, we got a look at a slew of fresh clips: the King's ill-advised taxation scheme, Robin's introduction of his blushing new bride, a nighttime ambush in the forest, a peek into Robin's childhood and one wicked horse-and-sword battle scene.
The director and actor also sat down with MTV News to take us inside the process of creating their fresh take on the well-known Robin Hood story. "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."
That was exactly Scott's feeling as well. "I never liked the green tights," he said. "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.... Kevin Costner's [1991 version] 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."
Check out everything we've got on "Robin Hood."
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