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16 December 2009

May Day is renamed "Robin Hood Day"

Nottingham Evening Post Article: Wednesday, December 16, 2009, 07:00

MAY Day is set to become Robin Hood Day across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, with the launch of the £110m Russell Crowe epic about the city's legendary outlaw.

The city's tourism authorities are negotiating with the film's makers, Universal Pictures, to bring parts of the movie set and costumes to the city for the month of the film's launch in May 2010.

The Bank Holiday will also include a pageant and jousting at Nottingham Castle, children's activities and historical walks around the city.

The Ridley Scott film, with a cast that also includes Cate Blanchett as Maid Marian and Matthew Macfadyen as the Sheriff of Nottingham, is due to be released on May 14.

Events will take place in the city and county during that month.

A spokesperson for Universal said: "We will definitely be doing something around Nottingham for the film's launch. It would be crazy not to."

On the weekend after the film comes out, several local combat artists who took part in the movie will gather at Nottingham Castle to recreate fight stunts from the film.

Meanwhile, there will be a medieval reenactment at Rufford Country Park and a costumed encampment around the Major Oak at the Sherwood Forest nature reserve.

Experience Nottinghamshire is leading a partnership including the city and county councils, EM Media and Visit Britain to negotiate with Universal.

Helen Leach, communications leader for Experience Nottinghamshire said: "There will be a lot of Robin Hood experiences going on throughout the city and county. The councils are both really behind the project. We have a huge plan of activity and both Nottingham and Notts are really behind the project."

The city's current Sheriff of Nottingham, Coun Leon Unczur, said: "We're going to have a big splash. We're still in the process of planning it at the moment."

The Sheriff's Commission is also consulting on a permanent attraction to replace Tales of Robin Hood, although this will not be open by May.

However, Stephen Barker, director of communications at Nottingham City Council, said he hoped Robin Hood Day would become a permanent fixture on the city's calendar.

"There's an aspiration to rename May Day Robin Hood Day every year," he said. "Robin Hood is a globally recognised tale. It's why Nottingham is known around the world."

The events planned for 2010 are expected to generate millions of pounds of investment for Notts and Nottingham, as tourists flock to the home of the legend.

The film's trailer was released this week. It shows Russell Crowe, playing Robin, striding out of the sea, scrambling through woodland and firing arrows. The all-action style is reminiscent of his Gladiator collaboration with Ridley Scott.

At one point called 'Nottingham,' the film is far darker than many of its movie predecessors.

The plot sees King Richard die early on, thus removing any hope of his eventual return to restore order, as has been the case in many of the other Robin Hood adaptations.

Instead, Robin is forced to face the twin threats of King John and his knights – including the villainous Gisborne-like character Godfrey, played by Mark Strong – and the invading French forces.

The film was all shot in the UK and although much of the filming took place at three locations – Freshwater West in Wales, Bourne Wood in Surrey and Pinewood Studios – a couple of exterior shots were filmed at Sherwood Forest.

"It was fantastic. It was a really good film to work on," said Darren Mitchell, 38, from Mapperley, one of five Notts-based combat artists who worked on the movie.

"It has the potential to be one of the biggest Robin Hood films ever. Ridley Scott really enjoyed making it; you could see it in his face.

"There were some amazing moments. In one of the battle scenes, we faced 150 horses charging towards us. It was hair-raising but the film-makers knew how to protect us."

A medieval castle was built in the middle of Surrey to be filmed being attacked by a £60,000 battering ram.

"The castle was built from scratch," said Darren. "From the front it looked spot on but round the back it was all scaffolding."

County Council leader Councillor Kay Cutts said: "We are delighted that Ridley Scott has chosen to make a movie about our Robin Hood.

"The movie – which I have no doubt will be a major success – will be brilliant for Nottinghamshire's tourism industry."

Mike Baulcombe, tourism leader at Experience Nottinghamshire said: "Currently, revenue from visitors to Nottingham and Notts is worth around £1.4bn each year, generated by over 35m visitors, and we expect this to significantly increase due to the national and international interest the film will attract."

25th October 2008 "Nottingham" - Back On Track!
Great news. It seems the Hollywood Blockbuster movie - "Nottingham" is now back on the rails. It had been widely reported that the movie had stalled for a number of reasons and may even be shelved completely (see story below).

But latest insider talk seems to confirm the film will now being going ahead - and with a twist as lead actor Russell Crowe is set to play both Robin and the Sheriff in this new take on our favourite legend.

The film's director Ridley Scott confirmed that Crowe would take on both parts in what he termed "a good old clever adjustment of characters". One becomes the other. It changes". Even more curiously, The Sheriff of Nottingham might be portrayed as 'the good guy' in the story, perhaps even with Robin Hood being the Sheriff's secret identity.

"I'm geared up," says Scott of his reinvention of the Robin Hood legend, set to start shooting by early next year.And while Scott promises there will be lots familiar to fans, there will be lots that is new, too.

"People will be expecting certain things and we'll have them," says Scott.. "In this one, the Sheriff has to go back to the forest for his own good and out of that he becomes Robin of the hoods."

But Crowe said he would not be wearing tights because according to research, they had not been invented at the time and would not have been for another 300 years.

13th August 2008

LA Times Report

It was billed as one of the most exciting projects featuring Robin Hood and Nottingham since "Prince of Thieves" hit the big screen back in the 1990's.

Robin Hood fans across the world were gearing themslves up for this brand new take on the legend featuring Russell Crowe in the role of Sheriff and with acclaimed Director Ridley Scott taking the reigns.for this Hollywood blockbuster movie.

But things have gone awry according to press reports this August '08 and the film looks like it's at best "stalled" and at worst, disappeared permanantly into the mists of the Greenwood!

Here's how the LA Times newspaper reported the latest news.

There are so few high-profile studio movies being made in Hollywood today that it was something of a surprise to discover last week that "Nottingham," Ridley Scott's much-anticipated Robin Hood drama, had been postponed, even with Russell Crowe on board in the role of a more likable-than-usual Sheriff of Nottingham. Universal Pictures, which is financing, cited labor uncertainty, an unfinished script and seasonal concerns about shooting during winter in forest locations that needed to have the rich green hue associated with leafy Sherwood Forest.

The original script, by Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris ("Bulletproof Monk"), had been such a hot property that Crowe signed on immediately, prompting a big studio bidding war that was won by Universal and Brian Grazer's Imagine Entertainment, which will produce the film. Even though Scott had tried to take the film (as a producer) to Fox during the initial bidding war, he had a good-enough relationship with Grazer (they made "American Gangster" together) to still sign on as the director. Scott immediately passed muster with Crowe, who had starred in the director's Oscar-winning "Gladiator" and the more recent (ahem, not quite as successful) "A Good Year."

So if the film has a huge star and a A-plus filmmaker raring to go, what's really slowing it down? I had lunch today with Universal Chairman Marc Shmuger, who offered some answers:

The original script had enormous appeal because it had what Hollywood craves--a great part for a big movie star. But it wasn't exactly the kind of character Scott imagined for his vision of Sherwood Forest. "The script had the sheriff of Nottingham as a 'CSI'-style forensics investigator, set in medieval times," Shmuger explains. "It was really well written, but Ridley's interest took him in a different direction."

Scott brought veteran screenwriter Brian Helgeland on to do rewrites, but wasn't entirely happy with the results. So now, Hollywood being Hollywood, the movie is getting a new rewrite, this time by British playwright Paul Webb. He has worked on several highly regarded unproduced scripts, most notably "Lincoln," which has Steven Spielberg attached to direct, and a civil rights drama called "Selma." Webb is supposed to turn in his new draft later this month, which--if everything goes right, which it usually doesn't--could allow filming to begin as early as late October. It is more likely the project won't gear up until early 2009, making it impossible to make its original November 2009 release date.

The delay could help on one front. Crowe, who has looked, shall we say, like he's been feasting on the king's venison in recent films, needs to lose some weight before he's ready to play such an athletic part. (After all, he's not playing Friar Tuck in this movie.) As encouragement, the production team plans to send Joe Abunassar, a top Las Vegas-based trainer who works with NBA stars, to Australia to get Crowe into fighting shape. Still, Universal is bullish on the movie, which it sees as an elevation of the many different TV and film renditions of Robin Hood over the years.

"This is an enduring myth that people love," says Shmuger. "It's a story that offers a new understanding of the origins of a real folk hero. You get a real understanding of--this is how Robin Hood became an outlaw and this is how those guys became the Merry Men of Sherwood Forest. Ridley's vision of the movie is very visceral, very physical--you're really in the forest, pulling back a giant bow."

Sitting in his booth in the Universal commissary, Shmuger mimed pulling back a giant bow and almost tore a biceps muscle. "Those bowmen were extraordinary athletes," he said, after catching his breath. "I don't know the pressure per square inch, but it surely took a real athlete to handle the kind of bows they used back then. But that's the point--this movie is going to feel real. It makes a legend we all know feel historically relevant."

Of course, it's not a movie yet. It needs a new script, a budget and a start date. That's a tall order. Maybe Russell Crowe can relax for a few more weeks before rushing into that killer workout regime.

We'll keep you up to date on the latest news as we get it. If you have any thoughts or latest gossip on this film you want to share, please email us at: info@robinhood.info