Academy Award winner RUSSELL CROWE reunites with his blockbuster Gladiator director, filmmaking legend RIDLEY SCOTT, for the epic action-adventure Robin Hood. Joining with Oscar-winning producer BRIAN GRAZER (A Beautiful Mind, American Gangster) and Oscar®-winning screenwriter BRIAN HELGELAND (L.A. Confidential, Green Zone), they tell the story of the legendary figure known by generations as "Robin Hood," whose exploits have endured in popular mythology and ignited the imagination of those who share his spirit of adventure and righteousness.
In 13th century England, Robin and his band of marauders confront corruption in a local village and challenge the crown to alter the balance of power between the king and all of his subjects. And whether outlaw or hero, one man from humble beginnings will become an eternal symbol of freedom for his people.
Robin Hood chronicles the life of an expert archer, previously interested only in self-preservation, from his service in King Richard I'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 (Oscar winner Cate Blanchett of The Aviator, Elizabeth), 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.
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.
Crowe and Blanchett lead a cast of accomplished performers, including Academy Award winner WILLIAM HURT (The Good Shepherd, A History of Violence) as Sir William Marshal, MARK STRONG (Sherlock Holmes, Kick-Ass) as Sir Godfrey, MARK ADDY (The Full Monty, A Knight's Tale) as Friar Tuck, OSCAR ISAAC (Body of Lies, Che) as Prince John and DANNY HUSTON (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Children of Men) as King Richard The Lionheart, as well as legendary performers DAME EILEEN ATKINS (Last Chance Harvey, Cold Mountain) as Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine and MAX VON SYDOW (Shutter Island, The Exorcist) as Sir Walter Loxley.
They are joined by rising stars MATTHEW MACFADYEN (Frost/Nixon, Pride & Prejudice) as the Sheriff of Nottingham and SCOTT GRIMES (Crimson Tide, Mystery, Alaska), KEVIN DURAND (Legion, X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and newcomer ALAN DOYLE as Robin's Merry Men--Will Scarlet, Little John and Allan A'Dayle, respectively.
Filmed on location in England and Wales, Robin Hood spans the years from the death of King Richard I in 1199 to the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215. It is produced by Scott, Grazer and Crowe, from a story by Helgeland and ETHAN REIFF & CYRUS VORIS (television's Sleeper Cell) and a screenplay by Helgeland.
The celebrated behind-the-scenes team is led by a crew of longtime Ridley Scott collaborators, including cinematographer JOHN MATHIESON (Gladiator, The Phantom of the Opera), BAFTA-winning production designer ARTHUR MAX (Body of Lies, Gladiator), Oscar-winning costume designer JANTY YATES (Body of Lies, Gladiator), two-time Oscar-winning editor PIETRO SCALIA (Body of Lies, JFK) and composer MARC STREITENFELD (American Gangster, Body of Lies).
CHARLES J.D. SCHLISSEL (Body of Lies, Matchstick Men), MICHAEL COSTIGAN (Body of Lies, American Gangster), JIM WHITAKER (Changeling, American Gangster) and RYAN KAVANAUGH (The Hangover, The Wolfman) serve as the film's executive producers.
Myth and Legend: Discovering Robin Hood: A Brief History of the Hero
The daring tales of Robin Hood have been a part of English literature for decades. As put succinctly by scholar J.C. Holt: "There are a quiverful of possible Robin Hoods. Even the likeliest is just a shot in the gloaming." Yet this archetypal story has survived and been passed down through generations, morphing as each era adds to the evolving canon. "What began as an oral legend," reflects Holt, "ended up as a script." Read more
Crafting an Origin Story
During the filming of American Gangster with Sir Ridley Scott, producer Brian Grazer approached Russell Crowe about starring in a new Robin Hood. Grazer looked forward to reteaming with the performer, with whom he had already enjoyed two successful collaborations--on A Beautiful Mind, for which Crowe earned an Oscar nod, and Cinderella Man. For this telling, the men were interested on a unique take on the age-old legend: an origin story that explains how a common archer in King Richard's army transformed into the legend we know as Robin Hood. Set against the backdrop of the Crusades, this action-adventure would give historical framework to the later exploits that had been covered in many other versions of the tale.Read more
Lambs and Lions: Casting the Action-Adventure
Maidens & Matriarchs
Cate Blanchett's joining of the production owes much to the humble postage stamp. In early 2009, Crowe attended a function in Sydney with Blanchett, celebrating the fact that the actors' likenesses were to be etched onto Australian postage stamps. As they sat on stage together, Crowe looked at Blanchett and realized that she should be his Marion. The actor recounts: "Her demeanor, everything about her…I was kicking myself. Why hadn't I thought of it before? Cate is a magnificent actress. She has resilience and a resonance. She's tough, strong and single-minded. Every decision she makes is about truth. She has complete control over her emotional responses, so she can make the smallest gesture a gigantic statement." Read more
Merriest of Men
Concomitant to the legend of Robin Hood is the story of his Merry Men, here a band of fellows disillusioned with life under the newly anointed King John. Fellow yeomen in Richard's war, they accompany Robin back to England after the death of Richard allows them to escape the conflicts.
Portraying the troupe are Kevin Durand as Robin's right hand and muscle, Little John; Scott Grimes as the youngest of the gang, Will Scarlet; and acting newcomer Alan Doyle as minstrel Allan A'Dayle. Says Crowe: "The core thing with these guys is that they are all athletes, and they all have a physical side to what they do in the film. Added to that, they are all intelligent, so they can learn new skills quickly. They also have an irrepressible sense of humor. It's been a great benefit to me and to Ridley, and no doubt the movie, that we've had guys like this playing these roles." Read more
Noblemen and Villains
Alongside Robin, Marion and the Merry Men, the film features a clutch of fascinating characters, not the least of whom is Sir William Marshal, played by William Hurt, and Sir Walter Loxley, portrayed by Max Von Sydow. These gentlemen grew up as friends and colleagues of Thomas Longstride (MARK LEWIS JONES), the author of the Forest Charter and the executed father of a then five-year-old Robin (JACK DOWNHAM). Read more
Forests and Keeps: Shooting on Location
Principal photography on Scott's latest epic began in April 2009. Producer Grazer commends that the director quickly earned his on-set epithet. "We called him 'The General,'" he offers. "Ridley Scott is that kind of charging-forward general of our generation in filmmaking. There was once John Ford, and there have been others, but certainly Ridley is a gladiator himself."
Rebuilding the 13th Century
One of Scott's longtime partners, production designer Arthur Max, was charged with the Herculean task of building medieval England--re-creating as accurately as possible life in the villages and towns, as well as the grandeur of the castles from the period. Read more
Creating the Battle Sequences
Re-creating the world of the latter Middle Ages would prove quite an ambitious task for all involved in the Robin Hood team. To the director who has spent decades making films, however, nothing seemed impossible--not even shooting with the masterful cinematographer John Mathieson on one of Britain's most sprawling and exposed beaches…in some of the harshest weather conditions the British Isles can muster. Read more
Readying the Soldiers: Physical Training
Already a master horseman, Crowe embraced the physical challenges of production by undergoing a grueling workout regimen and becoming an accomplished archer, quite skilled with the difficult longbow. Following in the steps of Robin Hood, he became proficient at shooting the very challenging weapon while wearing heavy chain mail. As well, he trained for three months in Australia and would hunt in the forest barefoot. "You've got to make the thing that's part of your character part of you," Crowe advises. "If you're going to fire a bow and arrow, then you need to learn how to do it because the circumstances are never going to be perfect." Read more
Tunics and Mail: Dressing the Cast
Facing challenges every bit as demanding as those confronting production designer Max was another of Scott's frequent collaborators, Academy Award-winning costume designer Janty Yates. "There's a shorthand between Ridley and I now that is great," she says, "and with every film I do with him I learn more about his genius, his vision and his creativity." Read more
RUSSELL CROWE PLAYS ROBIN LONGSTRIDE IN RIDLEY SCOTT'S ROBIN HOOD
Russell Crowe has been entranced by the legend of Robin Hood ever since he was a boy growing up in New Zealand and Australia. "I remember the Richard Greene TV series. When you watch it now it is hokey as all hell and pretty much the same story every episode," he says. "I also saw Errol Flynn when I was really young and the Douglas Fairbanks Jr. one as well. There was a whole bunch of Robin Hoods that weren't commercially successful that no doubt came up on Saturday morning TV in Australia." Read more
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
RIDLEY SCOTT (Directed by/Produced by) has been honored with three Academy Award® nominations for Best Director. He earned his latest Oscar nomination in 2002 for his work on Black Hawk Down, for which he also received a Directors Guild of America (DGA) Award nomination. The year before, Scott received Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA and DGA award nominations for Best Director for the epic Gladiator. The film also won the Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA awards for Best Picture, in addition to being named Best Picture by numerous critics groups. Scott earned his first Academy Award nomination, as well as his first DGA Award nomination, for his work on the groundbreaking 1991 drama Thelma & Louise, starring Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis, who were both Oscar-nominated for their performances in the film.
Scott garnered another Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Director for the true-life drama American Gangster, starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe. Scott also received a BAFTA nomination for Best Film as a producer on the film. He recently directed and produced Body of Lies, also starring Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio; A Good Year, starring Russell Crowe and Albert Finney; the epic Kingdom of Heaven, with an ensemble cast led by Orlando Bloom and Jeremy Irons; and Matchstick Men, starring Nicolas Cage and Sam Rockwell.
A graduate of London's prestigious Royal Academy of Art, Scott later began his directing career at the BBC, working on some of the network's popular television programs, as well as commercials. After three years, he formed his own company, RSA, which soon became one of the most successful commercial production houses in Europe, later adding offices in New York and Los Angeles. RSA still maintains a high profile in the global marketplace, representing many noted directors in the film and commercial arenas. Over the years, Scott has directed more than 3,000 commercials, most notably the provocative Share the Fantasy ad for Chanel No. 5 and his Orwellian Apple Computer spot, which aired only once, during the 1984 Super Bowl, but remains an advertising benchmark. The latter was recently hailed by Advertising Age as the best commercial of the last 50 years. Scott's commercial work has also collected awards at several film festivals, including the Venice and Cannes film festivals.
In 1977, Scott made his feature film directorial debut with The Duellists, for which he won the Best First Film Award at the Cannes Film Festival. He followed that with the blockbuster science-fiction thriller Alien, which catapulted Sigourney Weaver to stardom and launched a successful franchise. In 1982, Scott directed the landmark film Blade Runner, starring Harrison Ford. Considered a science-fiction classic, the futuristic thriller was added to the U.S. Library of Congress' National Film Registry in 1993, and a director's cut of Blade Runner was released to renewed acclaim in 1993 and again in 2007.
Scott's additional film directing credits include Legend, starring Tom Cruise; Someone to Watch Over Me; Black Rain, starring Michael Douglas and Andy Garcia; 1492: Conquest of Paradise; White Squall, starring Jeff Bridges; G.I. Jane, starring Demi Moore and Viggo Mortensen; and Hannibal, starring Anthony Hopkins and Julianne Moore.
In 1995, Scott and his younger brother and fellow filmmaker, Tony Scott, formed Scott Free Productions. The company has since produced a wide range of film and television projects, including a number of films helmed by Ridley or Tony Scott. Under the Scott Free banner, Ridley Scott has produced or executive produced such features as Clay Pigeons, starring Joaquin Phoenix; Where the Money Is, starring Paul Newman; Tristan + Isolde, starring James Franco and Sophia Myles; Curtis Hanson's In Her Shoes; and the award-winning Western The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, starring Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck.
For television, Scott Free currently produces the hit series Numb3rs, which is heading into its fifth season on CBS. Ridley Scott has also served as an executive producer on several of the company's long-form projects, including the A&E miniseries The Andromeda Strain, based on the book by Michael Crichton; the TNT miniseries The Company; and the award-winning HBO movies RKO 281, starring Liev Schreiber as Orson Welles, and The Gathering Storm, starring Albert Finney and Vanessa Redgrave under the direction of Richard Loncraine. Production recently wrapped on a sequel to The Gathering Storm, also for HBO.
In 2003, Scott was awarded a knighthood from the Order of the British Empire in recognition of his contributions to the arts.
READ AN INTERVIEW WITH RIDLEY SCOTT
BRIAN HELGELAND (Screenplay by/Story by) has written and adapted many features throughout his career as a screenwriter, including the Academy Award-winning film L.A. Confidential, for which he received an Oscar. Among his credits are his original screenplays for Conspiracy Theory and A Knight's Tale, along with his adaptations of Payback, Man on Fire and Mystic River, for which he received an Academy Award nomination. Helgeland also wrote Paul Greengrass' Green Zone, starring Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear and Amy Ryan.
In addition to his work as a screenwriter, Helgeland has directed three feature films and is soon to direct his original screenplay Sidney Grimes for Sony Pictures.
Writers, creators and executive producers ETHAN REIFF & CYRUS VORIS (Story by) wrote the story for Kung Fu Panda, DreamWorks' 2008 smash-hit animated feature, starring the voices of Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie and Jackie Chan. Reiff and Voris also wrote Bulletproof Monk, the 2003 mystical martial arts adventure film produced by John Woo, starring Chow Yun-Fat.
In 2008, Reiff and Voris executive produced the one-hour drama Eleventh Hour, for Jerry Bruckheimer Television and CBS. From 2005 to 2007, Reiff and Voris created and executive produced two seasons of the multiple Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated television series Sleeper Cell, for Showtime. In 1998, they began their television careers creating and co-executive producing their original supernatural/detective series Brimstone, for FOX.
Reiff and Voris have been writing together since 1987. Reiff was born and raised in New York City, while Voris comes from mid-west Cincinnati, Ohio. Both attended film school at New York University. Though they never met while students there, they were introduced at a mutual friend's graduation party, where they learned each was completing his first feature-length screenplay. They agreed to meet again and swap finished scripts, which they did at a Mets/Reds baseball game. This led to their long-term collaboration and professional partnership, based first in New York City and later in Los Angeles.
THE ART OF ADAPTATION
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