Russell Crowe's Robin Hood 2010

They say that each generation gets its own particular Robin Hood, and now the 21st Century prepares to see yet another interpretation of the medieval legend about an outlaw with a bow and arrow. The Internet is red hot with video clips and interviews about 72 year old Sir Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood which gets released today! Australia is already releasing stamps showing scenes from the new film. My regular readers will be aware that during this movies long build-up, I have posted quite a few times about various stages of its production. From what I have seen from the teaser trailers, it does looks very good and I am looking forward to it.

The newspapers have been full of articles about the making of this epic, including its possible release in 3D-a sequel (if the film is successful) and on Russell Crowe’s voice training, while he was preparing for his starring role.

Crowe, 45, was born in New Zealand and brought up in Australia but will play the new role with an ‘English’ accent. Ridley Scott hired three voice coaches: Judy Dickerson, Sara Poyzer and Andrew Jack, who worked with other cast members, including Cate Blanchett, who plays Maid Marian. Veteran film director, Scott, wanted to make sure the movie sounds as well as looks ‘accurate’, so Crowe’s Robin will be pronouncing Nottingham as 'Noddinham.’

But this ridiculous fuss over ‘Robin Hood’s accent' continued today (Friday) after some papers have reported that Russell Crowe stormed out of a BBC 4 interview recorded at London’s Dorchester Hotel in Park Lane, with Mark Lawson. He apparently flipped when Lawson suggested that Crowe had ‘hints’ of Irish in his portrayal of the outlaw from ‘Nottingham.’ The New Zealander raged: “You’ve got dead ears, mate – seriously dead ears if you think that’s an Irish accent.”

Voice Coach, Sara Poyzer later insisted that she taught him the Nottinghamshire accent, and that he did a pretty good job. But according to the press, Judy Dickerson contradicted this and said she coached him to speak like someone from the Rutland area!

            Leon Unczur, Sheriff of Nottingham

Councilor Leon Unczur, the current Sheriff of Nottingham, said that Crowe’s accent was “not bad,” although, some jester, interviewed after seeing the movie thought he turned out sounding more like an Aussie doing an impression of Jim Bowen from ‘Bullseye!’

VisitBritain has teamed up with Universal Pictures and other tourism agencies to promote the film and some of its locations, which include the East Midlands, Pembrokeshire and the Ashridge Estate in Hertfordshire. VisitBritain chief executive Sandie Dawe added: "We know that 40 per cent of our potential visitors would be ‘very likely’ to visit places from films and thoroughly enjoy visiting film locations they see on the big screen."

People staying in holiday lodges in the Midlands can head to Nottingham Castle and the Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre to see the exhibition ‘Robin Hood – The Movie’. They will be able to see props, costumes and also some film memorabilia. The existing forest center exhibition about the history of Robin Hood's Sherwood Forest has also been given a complete makeover.

All the exhibitions are free and throughout the month, known of course as ‘Robin Hood Month,’ medieval and Robin Hood themed events will take place all over Sherwood Forest and the surrounding communities. Nottingham County Council, together with Rufford Abbey Country Park and Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve, have thrown themselves into the celebrations with gusto!

Director Sir Ridley Scott said: "It was fundamental to the project that this motion picture was filmed in Britain – it was extremely important to catch the real essence and feeling only British locations in particular could achieve. The only way we could achieve such a successful production was with the authenticity of the locations Britain and the East Midlands had to offer.’

Russell Crowe says he has loved the story since he was a boy, “I watched the Richard Greene TV series, but when you see the episodes now, they’re a bit creaky, and it’s basically the same story every week. I saw the Errol Flynn version and the Douglas Fairbanks one when I was really young. But I really disliked ‘Prince of Thieves’ with Kevin Costner. I thought it was like a Jon Bon Jovi video clip-all the mullet hairdos.”

This was the 1991 version which is chiefly remembered for Costner’s broad American accent, the most hilariously camp Sheriff of Nottingham ever, in the form of Alan Rickman, and Morgan Freeman’s use of a telescope about 400 years before it was invented.

“I still think there has never been a cinema Robin Hood who could have really existed,” Crowe says. “When you do the research you discover that the Robin Hood story is based on 24 to 30 different real people who were born in lots of different places. So you can take the time period, use the core message and put a different take on it.”

“Part of the recalibration of Robin Hood,” Crowe continues, “is to put him into a place where he’s a real man with a real job. I wanted to take out the fairytale, superhero aspect. He’s got at least ten years of military experience behind him. Our attitude was that all the politics, the philosophical aspects, the romance, all grow out of the story of a real person.”

For the first time, Crowe is credited as a producer, he has been involved in every aspect of the production-from the script, to the costume he wears, in this case a battered tunic and a chain mail over worn leather trousers. As I reported in an earlier post, he got himself in to peak condition for the part. His daily routine included bike riding, gym time and hours learning archery on his farm near Coff’s Harbor in New South Wales.

“Archery is a beautiful thing when you get it right, Crowe explains. “I love it and I’ve continued with it. I have a collection of bows from the film and I go out back and drag out the target and shoot off 50 arrows or more for relaxation.

Crowe did most of the action scenes himself. This is movie making on a grand scale, there’s one spectacular sequence where Robin Hood leads his band to repel an invasion by the French. This scene (see my earlier post), was filmed on a beach in Pembrokeshire (which is meant to be Dover), was a nightmare to film. The tides are fast and potentially treacherous. Scott had to marshal 130 horsemen on the beach-including Crowe - and a landing craft disgorging French fighters on to the shore under a cloud of arrows. Crowe described it as ‘all anarchy, violence and adrenaline. It was intense.’

“You’re in a cavalry charge with a 130 horses going as fast as they can,” he says, “and you smash in to 500 men on the ground and have seven or eight fights. And it has to take place at exactly the right time.” According to Crowe there was about 15 people taken from the field. Some of them went to hospital but were OK.

The script is written by Brian Helgeland (LA Confidential) and it places Robin Hood in the familiar reign of Richard the Lionheart (Danny Huston) as a battle-hardened, middle-aged archer. Robin has three ‘merrie men,’ Little John (Kevin Durand), Will Scarlet (Scot Grimes) and Alan A’Dayle (Alan Doyle) along with Mark Addy as the bee-keeping, mead swilling Friar Tuck. The rather spiky widow, Marian, is played by Cate Blanchett who has to resist the amorous attentions of the Sheriff of Nottingham (Matthew Macfadyen). Richard’s newly crowned brother; King John (Oscar Isaac) defies the advice of his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine (Eileen Atkins). The design team was led by Arthur Max.

Mike (one of our Whistling Arrows), has already been to see it, and described it as: “.........gritty muddy, good action and good characters. I was not disappointed and they have left themselves wide open for a sequel because this film ends where the others begin. The sets, the thousands of props, were fantastic, dialogue gets a little hard to hear, and eventually, when the Blue Ray version is out it will be a joy to see it again.”

If you see this new version of Sir Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood, please get in touch at or comment below and let me know your opinions of it. I will be very interested to read them.

My new visitors might like to know that I regularly post; not only on the films, television series, places, ballads and images associated with Robin Hood, but also about the research into his real historical existence. I have been studying the legend for over thirty years. Please click on the Labels in the right-hand column to see the relevant posts so far. And please stick around to see plenty more!


Clement of the Glen said...


Russell Crowe
Cate Blanchett
Dir. Sir Riddley Scott

Avalon said...

Robin Hood will be in my area next month so we will see it. It looks quite bloody and I was surprised to find the movie will be rated PG. I am not all into the blood and gore nonsense; I want to be moved by the acting and the words, not by how much blood can splatter the scene.
I have been looking forward to this film for sometime (even before they cast the roles) but after seeing the trailers I am not so sure it will be all that I had hoped for. A lot of people liked Kevin Costner's Robin Hood movie, however it was not to my taste and I hope this Robin Hood film does justice to the legend that has captured my imagination since childhood. I fear this movie will be one huge action battle with little history and legend thus few emotional scenes and time to know the characters.
As for the accent drama, that does indeed sound ridiculous however phony accents (from certain movies) have really agitated me in the past. I am southern and I speak with a southern accent, it absolutely irks me when I hear an imitation southern accent. People born and raised in the southern section of America can spot a phony southern drawl in seconds.
I like real southerners to play real southern parts. I like British men to play British roles. I guess that comes from Native Americans demanding that real natives play native roles verses years and years of old Hollywood westerns. But as long as the actor fits the part and portrays the character believably that should be all that matters.

Albie said...

I shall wait until the film is out on DVD before I see it. From what I hear it is based more on the historical fact/way of life so I imagine it will be gritty rather than romantic. Life was both hard and short in those days.

The accent they trained the actors to use was based on the Rutland area (smallest county in England) some 40 miles south east of Nottingham. They used this rather than the Nottingham accent (which no one outside the city would understand as 'we' have various alternative words and pronunciations unique to the area) as they wanted a more rural tongue. The area where I live not far from the Vistors centre and Rufford park the accent starts to tilt towards a Yorkshire lilt (like Sean Bean). In Worksop on the northern edge of the forest, only 11 miles north of me, the accent definitely has a Yorkshire brogue. It's all a moot point as they would have spoken a form of Saxon we know as Old English in the late 12th Century. And only versed scholars would understand anything but the odd word if they used that.

I expect the number of visitors will increase in the next month or so. Just a pity that the new Sherwood Visitors centre is currently on hold, construction should have been started by now. Would have been nice for the exhibition to have been there. Still, the weather is much better this weekend with plenty of sun so all who visit should enjoy themselves.

Agree with Russel's comments about archery as I do it myself for relaxation. The sport is poorly catered for in Nottinghamshire, especially when you take the Robin Hood legend into account. My local club is at Welbeck, near the western edge of the orest. There are no clubs in the forest itself but they do regular exhibitions and 'try for yourself' sessions at the various tourist spots. I am relly lucky in that we have an archery shop in the village, KG Archery, where owner Keith Gascoigne is a master bowyer and makes traditional longbow as well as modern competition ones. Nice to know we can still make and use traditional items that Robin & the merrie men would know so well.

Clement of the Glen said...

Thank you very much Avalon and Albie, for your very interesting comments.

Albie, that’s great that you practice archery on the western edge of Sherwood. You definitely are a fully paid-up member of our ‘Whistling Arrows!’

Like you Avalon, I haven’t seen the movie yet, hopefully I will see it on Monday, so I must reserve some judgement. But regarding the ‘blood and gore,’ - we seem to have gone full cycle. The earliest ballads are full of it-Robin disfigures Guy of Gisborne’s face, Much beheads a young page; this was entertainment for a medieval audience and when Robin killed the Sheriff-this wasn’t historical fact-but the wishful dreams of the oppressed people of the period.

This 21st century re-telling of the legend is for the ‘Playstation’ generation, therefore every arrow is released with ear-splitting gunshot sounds and bodies are graphically hacked to pieces in the name of so-called ‘historical accuracy’.

This brings me nicely to Albie’s detailed points about the local dialects and how ridiculous the whole ‘Irish accent drama’ is. I expect medieval historians had a god chuckle about this one! It wasn’t until the 14the century that the ruling classes began to use what we refer to as ‘Middle English,’ before that the wealthy and ruling class used Anglo Norman. The non-literate would still have spoken ‘Old English,’ with its various dialects spoken in the forms of what we now call Anglo Saxon.

But does all this really matter when we are discussing entertainment for a modern audience. No, because I believe above all, most cinema goers still just want a good story. Which I sincerely hope, like you, Avalon, Scott’s film has.

Avalon said...

I watched the History Channel special, The Real Robin Hood, with Russell Crow and the movie scenes seemed believable and interesting enough. I have the impression that Russell is a Robin Hood believer and put much effort in his portrayal of Robin.

In the past I have looked forward to certain films then be "let down" so to say and I hope that this Robin Hood is not one of them.

I too do not think it will be based on romance which pleases me, too frequently historically based movies become too wrapped up in the romance and sexual content of films and sway from the historical content.

Originally I had heard that this movie was going to portrays Robin as the "bad guy' and the sheriff the hero. I suppose this was changed or just a rumor?

I do not disagree; having read the ballads, the lore of Robin Hood was indeed quite violent. I simply meant as for my preference with movies is that I prefer the writers move me to emotion by drama and acting, not by blood. In war films I would rather be brought to emotion by the fallen in their last words and final moments or their comrades grievance, rather then seeing a mess of a man on a bloody ground. I want to feel for the loss of the character so that I stay focused on the story line, not disgusted. But do not get me wrong, I love action as long as it is done modestly and not revolting. For example, the movie Into the West is a movie style documentary regarding Manifest Destiny. Two crucial massacres were reenacted in this series, one being The Sand Creek Massacre and Wounded Knee, both were extremely gory and absolutely terrible atrocities were committed during these massacres however the movie writers were able to realistically portray both massacres without blood and guts but managed to evoke the same emotionally outcome from the viewers. This movie has been shown all through the nation to school age children so that they know what their ancestors endured and as sad as this sounds, movies is the most popular learning system in this country. I do not agree with this method but it is true that many kids of this society and generation just simply do not care for books and history classes. However I have heard many stories that children and teenagers wanted to know more after watching Into the West, which encouraged them to check out books and research the history in full detail. It is common knowledge that right before and after a mainstream movie airs, countless people Google the actual events or people. Already I see this process just from blog. (By the hits and keywords) I can almost bet you have too.

Another reason I am glad this film is rated PG is because I have a house full of children (my sons, nieces, nephews, and cousins) that love the Robin Hood legend and are eager to enjoy this movie. I find it exciting that today's children still admire Robin Hood.

Like they say every generation has their Robin Hood and I would very much like this film to do the legend justice. But then again I am one of those people who heroize Jesse James...

Herns son said...

Hello Avalon, I think your comments are very rightfull , Ridley scott has in a way strctured the movie like he did Gladiator, at the begining a big battle Robin Longstride is there fighting alongside Richard the lion heart. as he did in "Robin and Marian". but there is more to this movie than battles, sure it reflects the violent times but its not overly done, Marian is a very strong presents , the merrie men are very well introduced, even Alan a dale sings a few folk songs, the soundtrack too is very Celtic sounding . there are many points of interest , i liked the fact that the villages were devoid of men , they were away fighting in the crusades , there were children too running wild , i wont go on, you must make your own judgment.

The look of the film is raw , muddy and stunning, i love the few greenwood scenes , there are to few of these but remember , this is the begining of the Robin Hood "Outlaw"period. i see your interests are very much like mine , so hopefully you will see this movie as i do, i hope you enjoy Robin Hood.

Traxy said...

I find it really funny how much the current Sheriff of Nottingham all dressed up looks like Keith Allen playing the Sheriff!

A comedian once described the Nottingham accent as "a slightly fighty Brummie", which sounds fairly accurate. At least from what I've heard in the time I've lived here. :)

Avalon said...

Hey Traxy glad to see you joined me here.

I have seen your sheriff once, during a documentary.

Have you seen Robin Hood 2010, if so what do you think of it?