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I find it extremely humorous that earlier today we posted a discussion topic about actors who have been putting on the pounds lately that centered around the chubbier version of Russell Crowe that was seen in State of Play, which hit theaters this past weekend. And then a few hours later USA Today unveils a first look photo of a very svelte Crowe as the infamous woodland bandit in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood. From the looks of it, Crowe didn’t have trouble getting into shape for his new role, despite what he told the Today Show last week.

And as producer Brian Grazer explains, Crowe is in shape for a reason — as he has been charged with bringing Robin Hood to life in a new, grittier way. “He doesn’t have the old Robin Hood tights,” Grazer tells USA Today. “He’s got armor. He’s very medieval. He looks, if anything, more like he did in Gladiator than anything we’re used to seeing with Robin Hood.”

Also, as Grazer explains, this version of Robin Hood will include some things we haven’t seen before in the series, like a badass Maid Marion (played by Cate Blanchett). Grazer said that Scott’s “cool story” includes Maid Marion firing a flaming arrow into the night sky. I’m not sure how that works out to make it a cool story, or how that will lead to Blanchett taking over the space in my heart where Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio currently resides, but I’m willing to go with it for now. What I do know is that Russell Crowe, unlike Kevin Costner, shouldn’t struggle with appearing British. He’s Australian and that’s close enough.

What do you think of the first photo of Russell Crowe as Robin Hood?

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