Posted on Friday, April 24th, 2009 by Peter Sciretta
Initially the screenplay for Ridley Scott‘s Robin Hood called for Russell Crowe to play a dual role as both the Sheriff of Nottingham and Robin Hood, but that idea was dropped early on. Scott decided to go a different direction. He has said in interviews that the Sheriff character is “less important”, and that the main villain of the story is actually the country of France. After countless casting announcements, not one mention of the actor who would play the Sheriff, even though there was mention of the character in the official plot synopsis. I wasn’t really interested in many of the news stories tonight so I decided to do some digging, and have found the answer.
34-year-old British actor Matthew Macfadyen, best known as Fitzwilliam Darcy in the 2005 film version of Pride and Prejudice, has supossedly been cast in the role of the Sherrif of Nottingham. Macfadyen revealed that he had been cast in “Nottingham” (the previous title of the project) at a public Masterclass event on April 17th. The actor’s agent finally confirmed the role details with the Darcylicious fansite. Macfadyen most recently appeared as John Birt in Frost/Nixon. His credits also include Death at a Funeral, Incendiary and the BBC mini-series Little Dorrit.
The main cast has already been announced: Russell Crowe as Robin Hood, Cate Blanchett as Lady Marion, Vanessa Redgrave as Queen Eleanor, Mark Strong as Sir Godfrey, Oscar Issac as King John, Léa Seydoux as French Princess Isabella, and the Merry Men: Scott Grimes as Will Scarlet, Kevin Durand as Little John, Alan Doyle as Allan Adayle.
Official Plot Synopsis: Crowe stars as 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 lead an uprising against the crown that will forever alter the balance of world power. And whether thief or hero, one man from humble beginnings will become an eternal symbol of freedom for his people.
The untitled Robin Hood adventure chronicles the life of an expert archer, previously interested only in self-preservation, from his service in King Richard’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 (Blanchett), 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. Together, they begin preying on the indulgent upper class to correct injustices under the sheriff.
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.