Tom Stoppard Rewriting Ridley Scott's Robin Hood From Top To Bottom

One of the interesting little sidebar points to this story is that it comes from Showbiz 411. Launched just last week, this is the site owned and run by Roger Friedman who, you might remember, is the Fox journalist pushed out for downloading and reviewing the Wolverine workprint. As far as I can tell, Showbiz 411 offers just about the same kind of material but now Friedman is accountable only to himself.

Friedman's report tells us that the script for Ridley Scott's Robin Hood is being rewritten once again, this time by the incredible Tom Stoppard. If you aren't familiar with Stoppard's work as the consummate playwright (examples: The Coast of Utopia, The Real Inspector Hound, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead) then you may well know him from his screenwriting (examples: Enigma, Brazil, Shakespeare in Love).

I'm an ardent supporter of Stoppard, not only in his widely and openly acclaimed work for the stage but also his less regularly celebrated writing for the screen. Indeed, Brazil is my candidate for the greatest film ever made and Stoppard certainly seems to have been responsible to a great degree.

There have been any number of drafts of Robin Hood, since it was conceived as Nottingham by Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris. The last announced rewriter was Brian Helgeland and at that point it was apparently being conceived as a fairly straight-up Robin Hood and Merry Men story. Prior to this straight-up stance, though, there seemed to be a few trick narratives being tried on, from one that showcased the Sheriff of Nottingham as a misunderstood antagonist and another that had Robin Hood and the Sheriff revealed to be one and the same. I'd be prepared to bet that Stoppard has been charged with adding some kind of spin to the story.

Other reports from the set have suggested that the general approach being taken is not at all dissimilar to that of Gladiator, with this being a kind of stylistic follow up. In my mind this doesn't gel entirely with the appointment of Stoppard, typically renowned for a witty style and an abundance of cunning and playful details, but only time will tell just what Scott is creating from the ever shifting screenplay.