With “Robin Hood” having been told on screen so many times, it comes as little surprise that the last big-budget studio attempt at a more gritty version of the character – namely Ridley Scott’s 2010 effort – flopped at the box-office.
That didn’t deter Lionsgate though from announcing “Robin Hood: Origins” which will shoot this year. Directed by Otto Bathurst and penned by Joby Harold, it has been described as a “Batman Begins”-style gritty and serious origin story for the fictional Sherwood Forest hero and his band of merry men.
The obvious question with the project is one of “why bother?” and Collider effectively asked just that this week when talking to the film’s producer Basil Iwanyk. Beyond the great casting of Taron Egerton as Robin, Ben Mendelsohn as the Sheriff of Nottingham, Eve Hewson as Maid Marian, and Jamie Foxx as Little John, what in the world is the appeal?
“Exempting the killer cast, I feel that it captures the adventure and the fun and the spirit of Robin Hood, but because it’s the origin story – it’s a kid going off to war thinking he’s going on a great Crusade, and realizing it’s all bulls–t and coming back with some PTSD and realizing he’s been lied to, and coming back to kind of a fractured society that doesn’t really accept him and realizing, ‘Okay the super rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer.’ You could describe that now.
What Joby Harold, our writer, was able to do is make it feel very allegorical and very contemporary, and feel youthful but not youthful in a young adult way, youthful in a kind of, the anger, the energy, what people when they were 25 feel, without it being pandering like ‘Look, we’re the young version of the movie!'”
Iwanyk also says the stunt work was inspired by the stunts in the Keanu Reeves-led “John Wick” – albeit with quivers not bullets:
“The images of Robin Hood, the imagery we have, the production design, the stunt work that we’re doing—a lot of it was inspired by the John Wick stunt work. The stuff we’re doing with the bow and arrow, it’s the same thing that Keanu does with the gun. The costumes, it just feels different than any other Robin Hood we had.”
The producer also says that it was director Bathurst who was the one who convinced Ben Mendelsohn to come onboard right after the shoot of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”:
“Otto [Bathurst] is a star, our director. He’s a closer. Because that cast is sprawling. Jamie Foxx and Ben Mendelsohn and Taron Egerton, those are different muscles to flex. And Ben, who did not want to play a bad guy, after meeting Otto was just like ‘Oh my God this movie’s gonna be great. I’m all in.’ We had him right when Rogue One made a gazillion dollars so it was the last thing he wanted to do, but Otto closed him.”
“Robin Hood: Origins” is currently targeting a March 23rd 2018 release.