When I caught up with the legendary Ridley Scott last week, I was there to discuss his “Alien” character Ellen Ripley being named one of our “Top 10 Movie Badasses of All Time ."
While I was there, however, I couldn’t resist running over a few other key projects that could become his next classic. “I am in a constant stage of development,” he told me in a conference room of his Scott Free Productions office. “I am liable to do ‘Gucci.’ I am liable to do a thing called ‘Child 44,’ and I am doing ‘Robin Hood’ next.”
That statement is notable, not only in that those first two projects are moving forward, but that “Nottingham” has now officially been renamed to reflect its lead character. “Oh yes, I think we are just going to call it ‘Robin Hood’,” Scott revealed. “We start in almost 2 months.”
In an attempt to clarify all the confusion from a few months ago about Russell Crowe playing multiple roles, Scott was eager to say that he had changed his mind, and that Crowe will simply portray the famed archer who rises from an unlikely background. “Robin Hood is in the army of Richard Coeur de Lion,” he said of how we’ll find the character early in the film “He is a bowman in the army of Richard Coeur de Lion.”
“[Crowe as both Robin and the Sheriff of Nottingham] was an idea so far back, way back when at the time I had this proposed to me, and I read it and thought, ‘I don’t really know what it does for it, but it’s alright’,” Scott recalled of the now-abandoned idea. “It is better to simply have the evolution of a character called Robin Hood, who will come out of a point in the Crusades which is the end.”
As a result, in Scott’s film the Sheriff will be “less important; the Sheriff of Nottingham is always a kind of an amusing character in most of the movies, who represents the hierarchy in the story at that point,” Scott explained. “The hierarchy and the wealthy always ruled over the under class, and fundamentally that doesn’t change, because Robin Hood is actually the person who finally - in terms of the overall classical idea of the film - will help the poor, probably taking from the rich.”
So, rather than the Robin-vs.-Sheriff showdowns we’ve come to expect from “Robin Hood” movies, Scott has instead employed the history of the time to make an entire country the villain. “It is from France. It is the French,” he insisted. “The villain is much bigger in that sense; much more important, and much more dangerous.”
“[In] 1066 Harold II went against William the Conqueror. Harold took an arrow in his eye, and William the Conqueror took over England, and so France owned everything right through,” Scott explained of the turmoil of that age. “Even to the extent of changing the architecture of the churches from Anglo-Saxon to Roman, that’s French; they changed the arches in the churches.”
And speaking of physical changes: While some have questioned whether Russell Crowe can ditch his “Body of Lies” gut and lose enough weight to play Robin Hood, Ridley says it’s not a problem. “Oh that is silly; all that stuff is bullsh-t,” Scott insisted. “He is going to be totally fit. That is not a problem at all.”
“And he’s been working on his bow and arrow for about 4 months,” Scott revealed. “He sends me tapes of him hitting targets at about 45 meters. He’s pretty good!”
Do you think Scott and Crowe can team up to make the best “Robin Hood” yet? What do you think of his story ideas?