Ask any 5-year-old – never mind which 5-year-old, never mind which country - and it's likely he can give you the rundown on Robin Hood, Maid Marion, Little John, and the Sheriff of Nottingham, so familiar is the story to almost anyone in the Western Hemisphere. So how do you take one of history's most popular folk tales and make it fresh?
By putting it in the hands of Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe.
"'Nottingham' is the 'Gladiator' version of Robin Hood," super-producer Brian Grazer told MTV News about the upcoming twisted tale from the "American Gangster" tag team. "I think it will have the same propulsion that 'Gladiator' had - the same adrenaline hits."
Told from the Sheriff's point of view, the new movie centers around a familiar - yet very different - set of characters, director Ridley Scott said, revealing that his story begins when a legend first walks into history.
"Richard the Lionheart is on his return from the Crusades [when] he took an arrow in his neck and died," Scott said of the flick's set-up. "His brother, John, [becomes king.]"
John, known in his own life as John Lackland (because as the youngest son he didn't get any inheritance) "was actually pretty smart," Scott insisted. "[But] he got a bad rap because he introduced taxation. So he's the bad guy in this."
Meanwhile, "You've got the returning Nottingham who is the right hand man of Richard and witnesses Richard taking the arrow," Scott revealed. "And so he comes back to England to carry forward Richard's dream about England."
The Sheriff, then, strives to do right while caught in the middle of two wrongs – on one side a corrupt and unpopular King who orders him to arrest outlaws, on the other the outlaw himself who threatens to rouse the public in popular anarchy.
"[Caught between] the minority of haves and the majority of have nots," Scott said.
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