It appears that Director Ridley Scott has begun to seriously ramp up pre-production on his next project, Nottingham. When word of this film hit the streets back in October of 2007, we were quick to realize that it has some serious potential, possibly rising above the so-so Kevin Costner vehicle Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves to bring us something more akin to a “Gladiator version of Robin Hood.” Back then there was one casting announcement to go along with the attachment of Scott to the film, in that Russell Crowe was signed on to play the Sheriff of Nottingham, a morally conflicted character, caught between a corrupt monarch and a criminal who has become an anarchist hero to the people. It was an interesting twist, somewhat removed from the diabolical nature of Alan Rickman’s sheriff, but interesting nonetheless.
Since then we have heard very little about the project, yet this past week has seen an explosion of news — some rumors and some truths — that have begun to bring the other denizens of Nottingham into focus. First was the announcement that Sienna Miller was in negotiations to play Maid Marion, a character who also has a different angle than in previous films — she sees the Sheriff as a “more noble lawman than as an evil king’s right-hand man and facing off with a more shadier Robin Hood in the Sherwood Forest.”
Later in the week the rumors began to really fly around the character of Robin Hood, as the production now seeks to find a hero to face off against the conflicted lawman to be played by Russell Crowe. The Daily Mail weighed in on Thursday, saying that The Dark Knight star Christian Bale is currently in talks for the role. The report stated that Ridley Scott is “exceedingly keen on casting him.” They also dropped a few more names into the Nottingham hat, claiming that Vanessa Redgrave, William Hurt and Atonement star Saoirse Ronan were also discussing roles.
Then a mere 3 days after the internet was flooded with “Bale to play Robin Hood” headlines, our friends at Latino Review threw a significant wrench into the situation, claiming that one of their more reliable sources has said that Control star Sam Riley was high on Russell Crowe’s list of co-stars.
Of course, while nothing is official this is all good for discussion. We have heard reports that the Christian Bale rumor is not true, but you never know — the fast and loose reporting around this production seems to be keeping the truth cloaked pretty well, so we are all just speculating at this point. What we know is that Crowe and Miller are in and that the production is actively seeking their Robin Hood. When we look at the two rumored participants for the role, I must say that either of them could work. Christian Bale is one of the few actors in Hollywood that could play just about any dramatic role. His immersion into his roles and dedication to the craft of acting makes him a great fit for the role. This is, of course, if Robin Hood is to be an absolute badass in the film, a very unwavering hero.
But should they be interested in a younger, more energetically irreverent version of Robin Hood, Sam Riley would be a great fit, as would be Paul Bettany. From what I gather about the tone of the film, is to be a dark, intense story of corruption, more along the lines of what Prince of Thieves was trying to do back in 1991. As I said before, think Gladiator meets Robin Hood.
And whether it is Bale, Riley or some other chap in the role of Robin Hood, I will say that Ridley Scott’s production is incredibly interesting and definitely headed in the right direction. I am trying to get my hands on the script though, because if there are no references to the Sheriff cutting out someone’s heart with a spoon, this movie is going down the toilet. Seriously.
What do you think of the casting of Nottingham? Would you rather see Christian Bale or Sam Riley in the role of Robin Hood?