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Details on the whys and hows the interesting Nottingham became the dull Robin Hood

05.19.2010

I'm sooo mad. SOOO MAD. As an avid fan of filmmaker Ridley Scott, I'm frankly just furious that ROBIN HOOD turned out to be, by pretty much all critical accounts, such a huge disappointment.

But why was that?

Former colleague and awesome writer Russ Fischer over at /Film came upon an interesting opinion piece at Sex In A Submarine, blog of Hollywood screenwriter William Martel. In it, Martel goes back and checks a bit on the history of the ROBIN HOOD project, back to its early days when the script was called NOTTINGHAM and considered a very hot commodity in Hollywood (when it was more like "CSI: Sherwood Forest").

Fischer over at /Film adds his own information to Martel's piece, and what we get is a pretty inside and fascinating look at the process of how films can get completely f*cked up on their way to the silver screen. Here are a few of excerpts:

Stage One: Nottingham

The script was originally sort of a procedural tale, told from the perspective of the Sheriff as he investigated Robin Hood’s actions and tried to figure out who was ‘terrorizing’ the area. Arguably not a bad take, certainly novel within the context of other movies that deal with the character. A little silly, perhaps, but likely to be easily salable to the audiences that make CSI and Law and Order monster pieces of programming.

Stage Two: Archery

Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe come on board, and Brian Helgeland is hired to rewrite. Frustrating given that the heat on the script is what caused the movie to move so quick in the first place, but let’s not confuse the heat of the actual pages with an enthusiasm for a concept that a studio knows it can sell like ice in the desert.

But here supposedly is where Scott, recently obsessed with archery, has the focus of the story shift to archers. That aspect is seen, to some extent in the final film, as Robin is part of an a division of archers that is returning from the Crusades with Richard the Lionhearted.

Stage Three: The Twist

I'll let Martel say it: "Then [Ridley Scott] came up with a brilliant idea! What if the Sheriff Of Nottingham and Robin Hood were the *same person*! Kind of like FIGHT CLUB. He’d be chasing himself for the whole damned movie! And there were some drafts of the screenplay written like that, until someone (maybe Helgeland) must have hinted that it might be a little silly."


For the complete and juicy read, head on over to /Film.
Extra Tidbit: I'll be honest, "CSI: Sherwood Forest" sounds ridiculous to me, but everyone seems to be saying that the early iteration of the script was vastly superior, so what the f*ck do I know? But what do you guys think? Would you have preferred a more unusual, "procedural" take on the material, or something that adhered more closely to the original tale?

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-4
8:17PM on 05/19/2010

Some people are not fun

How to find ways to hate a movie for no good reason other than to pander to a bias that exists because people are envious of a quality of product they can never achieve.
How to find ways to hate a movie for no good reason other than to pander to a bias that exists because people are envious of a quality of product they can never achieve.
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7:11PM on 05/19/2010
Robin Hood was a good movie. I think when you make a film about a character as familiar as this people have a lot of expectations. It might not be the greatest version of this character, but the film is still really good.
Robin Hood was a good movie. I think when you make a film about a character as familiar as this people have a lot of expectations. It might not be the greatest version of this character, but the film is still really good.
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3:26PM on 05/19/2010

Robin Hood great

I guess I can understand why people were let down by Robin Hood simply because of the hype surrounding the Nottingham idea....BUT....Robin Hood was GREAT! Wonderfully shot- acted - great story (except Blanchett fighting with the lost boys...what the hell was that?) Everything else was superb and sets up the legend wonderfully! I'll watch again in theaters.
I guess I can understand why people were let down by Robin Hood simply because of the hype surrounding the Nottingham idea....BUT....Robin Hood was GREAT! Wonderfully shot- acted - great story (except Blanchett fighting with the lost boys...what the hell was that?) Everything else was superb and sets up the legend wonderfully! I'll watch again in theaters.
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3:26PM on 05/19/2010

Robin Hood great

I guess I can understand why people were let down by Robin Hood simply because of the hype surrounding the Nottingham idea....BUT....Robin Hood was GREAT! Wonderfully shot- acted - great story (except Blanchett fighting with the lost boys...what the hell was that?) Everything else was superb and sets up the legend wonderfully! I'll watch again in theaters.
I guess I can understand why people were let down by Robin Hood simply because of the hype surrounding the Nottingham idea....BUT....Robin Hood was GREAT! Wonderfully shot- acted - great story (except Blanchett fighting with the lost boys...what the hell was that?) Everything else was superb and sets up the legend wonderfully! I'll watch again in theaters.
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+0
2:49PM on 05/19/2010
Well, now that everyone knows that the new Robin Hood was a failure, maybe they'll go back and rework the original concept and film that. After all, what have they go to lose?
Well, now that everyone knows that the new Robin Hood was a failure, maybe they'll go back and rework the original concept and film that. After all, what have they go to lose?
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1:03PM on 05/19/2010
Wasn't the same thing said about Kingdom of Heaven, that it was a big juicy turd? I didn't see that movie in theaters but I did see the director's cut and I really like that movie. I can only guess the dissapointment may have been from so much footage missing, but for me it was a great watch. I probably won't get to see Robin Hood in theaters, but I won't go into it with any pre-conceived ideas. I expect I will like it because Ridley's films are always very detailed and involved which I
Wasn't the same thing said about Kingdom of Heaven, that it was a big juicy turd? I didn't see that movie in theaters but I did see the director's cut and I really like that movie. I can only guess the dissapointment may have been from so much footage missing, but for me it was a great watch. I probably won't get to see Robin Hood in theaters, but I won't go into it with any pre-conceived ideas. I expect I will like it because Ridley's films are always very detailed and involved which I like. To some extent I like Body of Lies too. Not much action, but at least on ok movie.
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4:23PM on 05/19/2010
The Director's Cut of Kingdom of Heaven was good, but the theatrical cut was complete garbage.
The Director's Cut of Kingdom of Heaven was good, but the theatrical cut was complete garbage.
11:40AM on 05/19/2010

Not going to see it...

When given a choice between "the truth" or "the legend", I'd pick the Legend everytime.

I'll wait to rent this one.
When given a choice between "the truth" or "the legend", I'd pick the Legend everytime.

I'll wait to rent this one.
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11:12AM on 05/19/2010
I saw the movie. It wasn't my favorite. Does anyone else think this movie would be getting less criticism if had been called "Archer" and had nothing to do with Robin Hood? If you remove all referecnes of Robin Hood from this movie, would it change the opinion of anyone who hated it?
I saw the movie. It wasn't my favorite. Does anyone else think this movie would be getting less criticism if had been called "Archer" and had nothing to do with Robin Hood? If you remove all referecnes of Robin Hood from this movie, would it change the opinion of anyone who hated it?
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-1
11:07AM on 05/19/2010

Double post

Weird :S
Weird :S
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+2
11:06AM on 05/19/2010

I've read Nottingham

It sucks. CSI Sherwood Forest is right, and whether you like procedural stuff or not, it's really just retarded. Dialogue was entirely didactic, plot twists were asinine and there's not a relatable or likeable character in the thing. In a bad way! Despite being a novel take on the character, the writing is utterly hum-drum, and even the bore-fest now playing in cinemas is better written. Nottingham is an interesting idea, written by five year olds. Be thankful for small mercies (or 150 minute
It sucks. CSI Sherwood Forest is right, and whether you like procedural stuff or not, it's really just retarded. Dialogue was entirely didactic, plot twists were asinine and there's not a relatable or likeable character in the thing. In a bad way! Despite being a novel take on the character, the writing is utterly hum-drum, and even the bore-fest now playing in cinemas is better written. Nottingham is an interesting idea, written by five year olds. Be thankful for small mercies (or 150 minute long mercies)
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10:26AM on 05/19/2010
I fucking loved the movie, I was expecting it to be okay, at least better than Iron Man 2 but damn, I loved it.
I fucking loved the movie, I was expecting it to be okay, at least better than Iron Man 2 but damn, I loved it.
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-2
9:57AM on 05/19/2010

Agreeing with Slimbo

I read the original idea and thought it was (at the very least) an interesting idea. The sheriff as a good guy? Sweet. Then I saw the trailer which looked exactly like Gladiator (a movie I love but don't want to see re-invisioned a million times) and called it crap. My friends were pissed and all of them hopeful. They saw the movie and hated it. Good Luck Ridley with the Aliens sequels, get ready to end your career on a low note...
I read the original idea and thought it was (at the very least) an interesting idea. The sheriff as a good guy? Sweet. Then I saw the trailer which looked exactly like Gladiator (a movie I love but don't want to see re-invisioned a million times) and called it crap. My friends were pissed and all of them hopeful. They saw the movie and hated it. Good Luck Ridley with the Aliens sequels, get ready to end your career on a low note...
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8:51AM on 05/19/2010

To slimbo0330...

You just fucked with the wrong Mexican!
You just fucked with the wrong Mexican!
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8:35AM on 05/19/2010
and i'll call my shot now - 'Machete' looks pretty bad.
and i'll call my shot now - 'Machete' looks pretty bad.
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8:32AM on 05/19/2010
i dont understand some of these posters. I said several weeks ago that i thought Robin Hood was going ot suck and i pretty much got told to shut up, got thumbs-downed and almost shunned off the message baords. Same thing happened last summer when i said i had a feeling TF2 was going to suck. Us as fans need to stop buying into hype of movies, because studios are finding ways to fuck up movies only to get your cash. so lets begin being smarter about upcoming movies and not jump to any
i dont understand some of these posters. I said several weeks ago that i thought Robin Hood was going ot suck and i pretty much got told to shut up, got thumbs-downed and almost shunned off the message baords. Same thing happened last summer when i said i had a feeling TF2 was going to suck. Us as fans need to stop buying into hype of movies, because studios are finding ways to fuck up movies only to get your cash. so lets begin being smarter about upcoming movies and not jump to any conclusions of will and wont be good.
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11:57AM on 05/19/2010
I agree. A lot of the people on here are sycophantic bullies.
I agree. A lot of the people on here are sycophantic bullies.
4:58PM on 05/19/2010
Yeah, look at all the hype and promotion there was for Iron Man 2. And certain people (won't name and shame... you know who you are) have started wanking over Cowboys & Aliens because Favreau can do no wrong.
Yeah, look at all the hype and promotion there was for Iron Man 2. And certain people (won't name and shame... you know who you are) have started wanking over Cowboys & Aliens because Favreau can do no wrong.
8:27AM on 05/19/2010

AGAIN, SHOOT ME

This movie was good. Critics expect way too much these days and they're morons. After 800 years how is anyone expect to seperate fact, fiction or myth. The movie had character development, a good history lesson about Robin Hood, some good action scenes, good dialogue and a sense of Ridley Scott realism that one comes to expect with such a project. The movie failed because people are lemmings and listen to diatribe spewing forth by those picky bastards and fail to go out, see the film and
This movie was good. Critics expect way too much these days and they're morons. After 800 years how is anyone expect to seperate fact, fiction or myth. The movie had character development, a good history lesson about Robin Hood, some good action scenes, good dialogue and a sense of Ridley Scott realism that one comes to expect with such a project. The movie failed because people are lemmings and listen to diatribe spewing forth by those picky bastards and fail to go out, see the film and make up their own minds. Agreed though, this could be a great sequel to a better movie about stealing from rich and so forth but it doesn't look like that's going to happen.
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8:18AM on 05/19/2010

Movie failed because...

They really failed to promote that this is a "prequel" story and not the actual story of Robin Hood as a dashing swashbuckler. For what it really was, I thought it was fantastic as an origin story and I'd love a sequel that actually builds into the legend.
They really failed to promote that this is a "prequel" story and not the actual story of Robin Hood as a dashing swashbuckler. For what it really was, I thought it was fantastic as an origin story and I'd love a sequel that actually builds into the legend.
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7:28AM on 05/19/2010

It was fate

Russell Crowe = Crappy Movie

Everything slightly epic that he has been in since Gladiator, he has played like the gladiator character. He needs to stick to modern drama where he can be tolerated a little better as long as he has a good supporting cast because even in dramas he is putrid. That's just my two cents though.
Russell Crowe = Crappy Movie

Everything slightly epic that he has been in since Gladiator, he has played like the gladiator character. He needs to stick to modern drama where he can be tolerated a little better as long as he has a good supporting cast because even in dramas he is putrid. That's just my two cents though.
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7:02AM on 05/19/2010

Richard the Lionheart

not Lionhearted.

Anyway, didn't see this movie because the trailer was enough to show that the only resemblance to the character of Robin Hood was the name and use of a bow and arrow. Otherwise this looked like a war flick and that's not the take on Robin Hood I wanted to see.
not Lionhearted.

Anyway, didn't see this movie because the trailer was enough to show that the only resemblance to the character of Robin Hood was the name and use of a bow and arrow. Otherwise this looked like a war flick and that's not the take on Robin Hood I wanted to see.
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6:20AM on 05/19/2010

POS

Any iteration of this film/story would have been a huge improvement. This film turned out to be the Wolverine of this summer for me. I was expecting a decent movie where I would have a good time with some action and got a snoozefest. What a boring movie. Costners film was far superior...somehow.
Any iteration of this film/story would have been a huge improvement. This film turned out to be the Wolverine of this summer for me. I was expecting a decent movie where I would have a good time with some action and got a snoozefest. What a boring movie. Costners film was far superior...somehow.
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11:07AM on 05/19/2010
Somehow indeed. I could have handled a Scott-Crowe Robin Hood that wasn't overtly fun, but it's not too much to ask for an INTERESTING Robin Hood, right?
Somehow indeed. I could have handled a Scott-Crowe Robin Hood that wasn't overtly fun, but it's not too much to ask for an INTERESTING Robin Hood, right?
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