Hollywood is planning rival blockbusters about Robin Hood, just four years after Russell Crowe’s turn as the iconic English outlaw failed to capture the imagination of cinemagoers.
Sony reportedly paid $2m in October for a script titled Hood, pitched as a jumping off point for a huge Avengers-style Robin Hood “universe”. Now rival studio Disney has picked up the screenplay for Nottingham & Hood, described as a revisionist take on the famous outlaw with franchise potential, reports Deadline.
Both projects will hope to avoid the calamities which hit Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood, starring a suspiciously Irish-sounding Crowe as a new version of the hero. A proposed shoot had to be abandoned in 2008 following concern that the leaves in the location doubling for Sherwood Forest would not be green enough. The following year, actor Sienna Miller left the project amid reports that the English star’s youth and slim figure were showing up the Gladiator actor’s age and expanding girth.
Scott’s film was originally titled Nottingham and pitched as a revisionist take with Crowe as a good Sheriff of Nottingham and Christian Bale as an evil Hood. But by the time it eventually arrived on the big screen, the veteran British director had plumped for a more traditional take and Bale had exited the project.
The film performed reasonably at the box office, with $321m worldwide, but a lukewarm reception from critics saw studio Universal failing to move ahead with a series of proposed sequels. Negative buzz was not helped by Crowe’s appearance on Radio 4’s Front Row, during which he accused Mark Lawson of having “dead ears” after the presenter remarked on Hood’s Irish lilt in the film.
Nottingham & Hood, with a script by first-time screenwriter Brandon Barker, reportedly has a tone reminiscent of the Pirates of the Caribbean films. Disney found huge success with its series of four swashbuckling action movies, which have taken more than $3.7bn worldwide. A fifth instalment, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, is due for release in 2017.
Robin Hood has always been popular with Hollywood studios. The best known big-screen iterations are Errol Flynn’s athletic turn in 1938’s The Adventures of Robin Hood and Kevin Costner’s suspiciously American-sounding portrayal in 1991’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
This article was written by Ben Child, for theguardian.com on Friday 5th December 2014 11.19 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010