Posted on Sunday, March 8th, 2009 by Brendon Connelly
Do you remember the musical rooster with a lute in the Disney Robin Hood toon? That was Alan-a-Dale, the narrator-sidekick and a character who has had a fairly minor role, if any role at all, in most versions of the legend. He’s going to turn up in the new Ridley Scott rendition, however, and the part has just been cast. To confuse idiot journalists everywhere, the man to take up the role has the name Alan Doyle which – this side of Neighbors and Ugly Betty at least – is probably the closest modern name to the made-up minstrel’s funny ol’ handle.
Alan Doyle is the frontman for Great Big Sea, a group of Candian folk rockers that I had, until now, only heard of when I wasn’t fully paying attention. I guess I’ll have to Spotify them and put myself right/put myself off [delete as appropriate].
According to The National Post’s Ampersand column, Russell Crowe is likely to have pulled some strings to get Doyle the role. They’ve known eachother since 2005 and Doyle even contributed to Crowe’s album My Hand, My Heart. They quote Doyle as saying:
If you’re working on a new house and you have friends who know how to plaster, you hire your friends who can plaster. If you’re doing a movie and you need a dude who can play the lute, you phone your friend who can play the lute.
I doubt Doyle will have much of a part – he’s staying on tour until days before shooting starts, has yet to see a script and has no idea what music he’ll be performing. Perhaps he’s just part of a subplot, and very possibly in a version of the tale that originally introduced the character. In that one, Allan A’Dayle’s childhood sweetheart (sometimes named Ellen) is being married to some old Knight she doesn’t want to be with, Robin interrupts the Bishop of Hereford’s ceremony, reunites the young lovers and then performs a wedding for the two of them himself; soon it was adapted that Friar Tuck performs their wedding, which is the tack I’d expect Scott to take.
My gut-pandering choice for the role might have been Glenn Hansard – providing he could do the accent – but Doyle seems like a pretty wise bet too.
I called the character both Alan-a-Dale and Allan A’Dayle. Those are but two of his many names and, heck, I just couldn’t settle. If I’d gone on for longer, I could have probably managed at least three more without recourse to wikipedia, and possibly dozens with. Those old balladeers really needed to standardise.