Robin Hood

How does a good idea become a terrible movie? That’s the perennial question in Hollywood, where the intersection of creative ideas, business sense and big egos can so easily produce something very different from what was originally intended.

That seems to have been the case with Robin Hood, which was originally meant to be based on a hot screenplay by Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris called Nottingham. Then Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott came along and everything changed. Eventually the result was a film that stands at less than %50 Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and was beat by Iron Man 2 in that film’s second weekend. So what happened?

If you haven’t seen Robin Hood, treat everything after the jump as mildly spoilerish.

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Fans of Ridley Scott should be sure and stick with this post to the very end for a couple of shiny bonuses. First up though, some news about his imminent trip to Sherwood Forest.

My favorite wheel on the Scott Free bicycle has been working on – or, some might say, working over – the proposed Nottingham for some months now. At first it was pitched as a revisionist slant on the Robin Hood myth in which the Sheriff of Nottingham was revealed as being not such a bad egg after all; then it was suggested that Russell Crowe would be playing a curious kind of split role in the film, portraying both Robin and the Sheriff who, according to some runors, would be revealed to be the same person; now, he’s lifted the curtain on his final answer and it’s not at all what I was expecting.

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Speaking to The Telegraph’s Mandrake on the red carpet of the London Film Critics’ Circle Awards, Mark Strong has claimed that Cate Blanchett is likely to inherit the role of Maid Marian in Ridley Scott’s Nottingham from the recently ousted Sienna Miller.

“I think Cate Blanchett is set to take the Maid Marian part. She is a wonderful actress and it would make it a much classier film if she was in it.”

Strong will be in the film as Sir Guy of Gisbourne, and Russel Crowe is infamously set for the roles of Robin Hood and the Sherrif of Nottingham – though I suspect there are still some twists to be revealed there.

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Universal Pictures has decided to shuffle next year’s movie slate. The Wolfman is being pushed back from April 3rd to November 6 2009, and Justin Lin’s Fast and Furious will be moving from it’s June 12th release to The Wolfman’s former April date. They have also moved Ridley Scott‘s Nottingham back to a 2010 TBA slot, which was expected since the film isn’t set to go into production until February 2009 at earliest.

Justin Lin’s Fast and Furious completed filming in June and will be ready much earlier than the effects laden Horror adaptation. The move out of June also gives Universal more time to concentrate on their big screen adaptation of The Land of the Lost, which opens on June 5th. Nothing scandalous about the changes unfortunately.

source: Variety

Director Ridley Scott tells MTV that not only will Russell Crowe play The Sheriff in his upcoming revisionist take on the Robin Hood story, but the actor will be doing double duty as Robin Hood.

Nottingham is a 180 degree spin of the Robin Hood story-line where the Sheriff is the protagonist and Robin Hood is the bad guy. The Sheriff finds himself caught in the middle of a situation which pits an outlaw named Robin Hood who “who threatens to rouse the public in popular anarchy” and a corrupt and unpopular king who demands the arrest of the outlaw.

The script was subject to a 2007 bidding war between most of the major studios. Crowe has been attached to the project since it was announced, even before Scott was brought on board. Christian Bale was once incorrectly rumored to play the famous outlaw. The project was put on hold in July due to “labor trouble”. Crowe is certainly capible to play both roles, but it still seems like an odd or unnecessary decision.

Update: CHUD clarifies the entire casting story with the news that Robin Hood and The Sheriff are actually the same person.

Discuss: What do you think of this unconventional casting decision?

Page 2

Here are various tidbits that didn’t make the /Film front page in midst of the Comic-Con madness. We like to call this Page 2.

Tyrese Gibson says he’s in talks to star in the Thundercats movie. According to Coming Soon, he didn’t discuss characters or live-action vs. CGI et al.

Shia LaBeouf got LaBeouf’ed by the law. Has the new Busted Tee playing up his arrest been released? I was asleep.

Wesley Strick (Doom, Wolf, Cape Fear) will pen New Line‘s A Nightmare on Elm Street remake. The film is being fast tracked for a release next year to coincide with the franchise’s 25th anniversary. The trades report that the film will keep the “high school setting,” while focusing more on the psychology and nightmares of Freddy Krueger. “The plan is to have a dark tone.” So, no tongue-through-the-telephone or crappy one-liners? Slashfilm’s Adam Quigley reported on Platinum Dunes‘s involvement earlier today.

The feature film based on the cult documentary, Cocaine Cowboys, will soon have a screenplay by Evan Wright (HBO’s Generation Kill). Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg are still attached to star and direct, respectively. A while ago, I reviewed the Cocaine Cowboys script for the pilot episode of a proposed HBO series from Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer. Unlike said series, the feature film will center around Jon Roberts, a real life Vietnam vet who made way in the NYC club scene before he became a legendary Miami cocaine dealer for the Medellin cartel.

Leonardo DiCaprio, his production company, Appian Way, and Warner Bros. are seeking material for a new Twilight Zone film. The film will based around a single “episode,” unlike the uneven, highly kooky but watchable 1983 anthology movie. According to THR, the original series hosted by the great Rod Serling is one of DiCaprio’s fave TV shows.

Are Johnny Depp and Terry Gilliam reteaming to make The Man Who Killed Don Quixote? Hello mag says they are. Didn’t those two fellows watch Lost in La Mancha?

With his first major hit, Hancock, strutting past $200 million, director Peter Berg is keeping his platter filled with large scale projects—see aforementioned Cocaine Cowboys, a Dune remake, and a new Hercules film. This new son-of-Zeus flick, parked at Universal, will be based on the comic book miniseries, Hercules: The Thracian Wars, from Radical Publishing. You can read the vague, 300-esque logline here.

John Waters will keep his mustache-maintenance funds flush by writing the sequel to his Hairspray remake. The 2007 musical starred John Travolta, Queen Latifah and Michelle Pfeiffer and grossed $120 million domestically. The sequel will reportedly pick up where the first film left off, and the original cast is again being sought to reprise its roles.

A remake of the classic Errol Flynn pirate film, Captain Blood, is being prepped by Phillip Noyce (Patriot Games, The Quiet American, The Saint) for Warner Bros. It’s thought the Noyce will helm the project. The 1935 film—a Best Picture nominee—followed the character, Dr. Peter Blood, and his transformation into a pirate after being convicted of treason in 17th century England and sold to slavery in the Caribbean.

Tim Burton has found his Alice. Aussie actress, Mia Wasikowska (right), who stars in the HBO show, In Treatment, has landed the lead role in Disney‘s Alice in Wonderland. Due in 2010, the film is said to combine live action performance capture a la Beowulf and live-action. It will be presented in 3D. Awww man, Slashfilm wanted Johnny Depp for the role, as previously rumored. The script is by Lion King scribe Linda Woolverton.

Ridley Scott‘s “Robin Hood was a goon” movie, Nottingham, has been delayed indefinitely. Reports say it won’t start production until next year. Russel Crowe was set to star as the protagonist sheriff. Maybe this means Scott will go full-throttle into Brave New World?

What did you guys and gals think of the first new episode of Mad Men last night?

Radical Publishing (the above Hercules flick) has linked up with Bryan Singer, who will produce Freedom Formula, a comic book adaptation that will do for exo-suits what Top Gun did for fighter Jets. Singer is also producing the Image Comics adaptation, Capeshooters, about two superhero paparazzos who discover that an iconic do-gooder is actually a supervillian.

I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a movie trashed more in a weekend than The Spirit.

Did you see Step Brothers? This is the ultra-burrito of manchild movies—tired though that genre may be, this flick is pretty damn funny. Favorite line: that random “your fake hearing aids!” bit Ferrell yells mid-tirade at his step dad. Favorite scene: the centaur is tied with “Catalina wine mixer motherfucker!”

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UPDATE: According to sources, this rumor is totally bunk. Thanks for the new pollution, Daily Mail. Anyhow, who should play Robin Hood for Scott?

Bruce Wayne. John Connor. Bryan Adams’ muse? According to the Daily Mail, director Ridley Scott is seeking out Christian Bale for the role of Robin Hood in Nottingham, which is scheduled to begin filming this summer…

“Nothing is signed for Bale, but director Ridley Scott is exceedingly keen to cast him. Costume fittings begin next week, so he’ll be either in or out by then. Vanessa Redgrave and William Hurt are also in discussions about being in the film, which is called Nottingham.”

Bale would join a cast that also includes Scott-staple Russell Crowe (as the Sheriff of Nottingham) and the freshly signed Sienna Miller as Maid Marian. However, both of those actors have expressed moderate concern about a looming SAG strike putting the kibosh on the project. Unlike prior versions of the tale, Crowe’s sheriff will be the protagonist and Robin Hood will be a quiver-carrying bad guy (terrorist for the poors?). Bale and Crowe faced off in last year’s superb Western remake 3:10 to Yuma.    

Earlier today we reported on the teaser for Terminator 4 with Bale starring as John Connor. He remains attached to the Pablo Escobar adaptation, Killing Pablo, though news on that film has been very quiet as of late. Scott will follow-up his 180-degree Robin Hood flick with a longtime dream project, Brave New World, based on Aldous Huxley’s 1932 sci-fi classic. He also has an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian on the burner. More on Nottingham/Bale as it develops…  

Discuss: Bale’s not exactly persona non grata with the geeks and fanboys, but who would you choose for the Prince of Thieves?

Updated 06/04/08: All signs point to Ridley Scott directing the first major Hollywood adaptation of Aldous Huxley‘s 1932 classic Brave New World, possibly with Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead. Scott has been in discussions with the Huxley estate for sometime, as has DiCaprio. This article from the Sunday Times back in March took a look at negotiations. Themes in Brave New World have appeared in numerous sci-fi films over the years. Equilibrium definitely comes to mind. Set in a faux-utopian dystopia, society has been organized into a class system based on eugenics, with the government issuing a drug to the public called Soma that induces hedonistic escape fantasies. Our readers also believe that this will be Scott’s next film, though others have mentioned Ender’s Game and Hyperion Cantos as projects that would be well-served by Scott’s eye and mind as well. Thanks to everyone who commented, a nice discussion is below for those who haven’t lurked or taken part yet.

When I hear “Ridley Scott,” I think well-made R-rated pictures for adults that could/should not be PG-13. Scott doesn’t bend under the weight of market forces. If he wants to dabble in PG-13 fare, he’ll make an underrated, meditative flick like White Squall, all the while his sci-fi masterpieces, Blade Runner and Alien, still loom large over the genre, keeping our expectations in check even as Hollywood surfs on teen tidal waves. I’m more than cool with Nolan’s vision for Batman or The Hobbit being PG-13, but I won’t abandon the vocal need/want for R-rated sci-fi/action. Even today, Scott’s sci-fi outings would not garner PG-13 ratings, nor would several of James Cameron’s genre cornerstones. While clearly no rating can be determined at this juncture, Eclipse got a big scoop: Ridley Scott’s next film after he’s done shooting Nottingham with Russell Crow will be sci-fi. Sweet.

“Q: You directed Blade Runner and Alien, which are seminal science fiction films. Why have you not done more science fiction films?

RIDLEY SCOTT: I am going to do one. I waited for a book for 20 years and I have got the book. I am not going to tell you what the book is but that film is going to probably be written within the next month. That will definitely be what I do next after Nottingham, the Robin Hood film that I am doing now in England.”

Haven’t had time to seriously ponder what book he’s referring to. Any guesses? I’ll update the post if any of your guesses seem viable and/or if ours are. Another project that we should all hope comes to fruition is Scott’s adaptation of NCFOM author Cormac McCarthy‘s 1985 classic Blood Meridian.

“We got [Blood Meridian] down as a screenplay and the problem is that it is so savage. But that’s what it is. If you did it properly it would be an X-certificate. But you can’t apologise for the violence and you can’t quantify the violence and you shouldn’t try to explain the violence. It is what it is…an exercise in brutality, savagery and violence. For the most part it is probably relatively accurate. It shows the flipside to Dances With Wolves of how the United States was probably taken. It was taken by the throat.”

Comparable to a future where predatory robots roam a scorched Earth, much of history (not to mention McCarthy’s work) merits a hardcore take: scalping in this instance. Though I remain baffled at the predictable structure, presentation and ethical stumbles of American Gangster, Scott’s upcoming films like Body of Lies with DiCaprio and Crowe, Nottingham and the ones discussed here all sound highly promising and uncompromising. Some of our younger directors should take note. Paul Thomas Anderson did and it’s worked out fine, the popcorn even tasted the same.

Discuss: Scott returning to sci-fi, pretty cool right? What sci-fi book do you think Scott is adapting? Any fans of Blood Meridian?

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