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

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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