Taron Egerton is going to play another version of the fabled hero Robin Hood in next year’s film Robin Hood, and the first images for the film suggest at his highly revolutionary style. As far as the publicly known characters, studios always try to convert the story into a lucrative franchise. Several versions of Peter Pan, Frankenstein, and King Arthur have been created over the years, and several more remain in the works. Robin Hood is one such IP that constantly features in the movies as well as the TV world.
Although the next year’s Robin Hood has lost the ‘Origins’ subtitle, the director Otto Bathurst is trying to showcase a different take on the well-known story of the legendary robber. Joining him in his endeavor are Egerton (Kingsman: The Golden Circle) in the titular role, Jaime Foxx as Little John, Jamie Dornan as Will Scarlett, Eve Hewson as Maid Marian and Ben Mendelsohn as the new villain who will be the Sheriff of Nottingham. Although the other characters will remain the same, the movie will showcase Robin as a freedom fighter fresh from the Crusades.
Entertainment Weekly has got the first photographs of Robin Hood featuring Egerton, Hewson, and Foxx in their respective characters. Although the images don’t highlight much about how the story varies in this film from the original story such as Russell Crowe’s version of Robin Hood in Ridley Scott film Robin Hood, Bathurst has explained how his vision has made the character peculiar:
“In my mind, Robin Hood was this sort of seriously militarized anarchist revolutionary, a freedom thinker, and a truth seeker. And the more I got into the story; it just became startling how utterly relevant it is to what’s going on in society now.”
The concept of a revolutionary Robin Hood is definitely a fascinating one although it reshapes his famous origin story. There have been a large number of variations of the folklore of Robin Hood over the last few centuries, we generally know him as a warrior fighting the corrupt Prince John who is at home while King Richard is away on Crusades. It might be the more battle-hardened portrayal of Robin Hood might be the thing that convinced Egerton to accept the role:
“I was approached not long after the first Kingsman movie had come out, and my initial response, to be totally honest, was ‘Why?’ [But] Otto told me he wanted to do something entirely revisionist, something that can’t be tied down to a medieval universe. The first act of the movie, these scenes crusading in Syria, were written like something from The Hurt Locker. It was fantastic, and that was enough to convince me.”
This more down to Earth and realistic version of the legend might be wonderful for Robin Hood, but, films of this genre haven’t done well traditionally. Earlier this year, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword failed in its endeavour to create a tougher and more fashionable version of the famous story. Although, Christopher Nolan’s remake of Batman gave impetus to the modern studio trend of giving a darker hue to all the legendary characters, a lot of films fail to realize that there has to be some light-hearted touch as well. Take Robin Hood for example. The story has always done well when it has retained the fun and joy elements. If we remove that and make it grittier, then Robin Hood might just turn out to be a costly failure of the endeavor to give a modern touch to a medieval character.