Recently, it was announced that Alan Doyle — lead singer of the popular Canadian band Great Big Sea — had been cast as Allen a-Dale in Ridley Scott’s upcoming “Robin Hood” film. We caught up with the frontman soon after, and Doyle was ready to dish on his new role. The film is set to star Russell Crowe as Robin Hood and Cate Blanchett as Lady Marion.
Doyle’s character, Allen a-Dale, is one of the Merry Men in the Robin Hood story. “He’s a troubadour,” exclaimed Doyle. “He’s an Irish lute playing balladeer. He’s an artist who loves to sing a song. With two or three other guys, Allen a -Dale is one of the Merry Men who’s followed Robin Hood for a long time and hopes to continue to do so. Yes, I will be playing the lute in the film.”
Doyle explained that Ridley’s re-imagining of Robin Hood is to be surprisingly musical. “There is a lot of singing in the film,” he told us. “A lot of it by different people in different parts of the film. I don’t know quite yet if Russell and I will be singing together. But there will be lots of music in the film.”
So, how did this Canadian rock star with very little acting experience land such a gig? Doyle explained that Russell Crowe is a longtime close friend. “Russell knew there was a role coming up in this film and they needed a guy that could do the training and the physical stuff that was required, but also someone who has a long history in Celtic music and somebody who could play the lute. I’m sure there’s lots of people in the world who can do that, but he called me and asked me if I’d like to come to LA to read for the part. And off we went.”
With filming to begin in England on April 1st, there is still much mystery surrounding Ridley’s vision and the script is still evolving. However, there will clearly be some “Gladiator”-esque action scenes for Crowe and Doyle, as they have been training with horses, archery and sword fighting.
“I was just training in Australia with a couple of the other Merry Men,” he said. “It’s like a ten-year-old boys fantasy schedule; you wake up and have horse riding at ten o’clock, archery at eleven o ’clock, sword fighting at twelve o’clock. It was really fun, I’m really looking forward to it all.”
It should be interesting to see Crowe and Doyle on screen together in this film. The duo has performed together in the past, so perhaps they’ll be bringing their musical collaborations to the big screen as well. “I wrote a few songs with Russell for his band, and he wrote a few with me for Great Big Sea, and I also produced a record for his band and actually toured a couple of times in Australia and in Europe, I was sort of a guest in his band. It was a great collaboration, to be honest. He’s got a real different skill set than I have. He’s a real keen word smith as most of my actor friends are.
“It’s funny how they can do that isn’t, those actor types.” Doyle laughed, “But I’m an actor type now, so I have to stop referring to them in the third person!”
Ridley Scott’s “Robin Hood” is slated for a 2010 release.