Russell met Cate Blanchett at an awards dinner in January last year, when they were granted the honour of seeing their faces on commemorative stamps.
“I’ve known Cate for a long time, although we’ve never been close mates,” says Crowe, “but I’m sitting on the stage with her at this stamps function in Sydney for 1000 people, and I suddenly realised that she was the person to play Marian in Robin Hood.”
Cate also thought it was a great idea, and the 40-year-old Oscar-winning actress signed on to the 46-year-old Oscar-winning actor’s movie.
“In our version of the story, times are tough in England, the crown has been bleeding the country dry with King Richard [the Lionheart] fighting his wars overseas,” explains director Ridley Scott. “Robin returns from waging war with Richard in the Holy Land and in France, and comes back to find England on its knees.
“Most of the men have gone off to war and the women, the old and the children are those left behind. It was like the women during World War II having to do the men’s work. That’s where we find Marian.”
With Blanchett’s heroine struggling to manage her estate, it falls upon Crowe’s hero to try to save the day.
While he’s proving himself to Marian, Robin is also drawn into a larger political picture, with England threatened by invasion from France on the accession of Richard the Lionheart’s weaker brother, John. Robin isn’t actually declared an outlaw until the movie’s conclusion. Only then does he gallop off into the Greenwood.
“We have set it up so that we could have a sequel,” smiles Scott. “Why not?“
Watch the Robin Hood trailer here:
Robin Hood timeline:
Feb 2007 It’s announced that Russell Crowe will play the Sheriff of Nottingham in a revisionist version of the Robin Hood story, which casts Nottingham as the hero and Robin as a villain.
April 2007 Oh no, he won’t. Director Ridley Scott chucks the original script and demands rewrites, delaying filming,
June 2008 Sienna Miller is announced to play Maid Marian.
July 2008 But hang on, she’s so skinny and young that she’ll make Rusty look fat and old. Enter Cate.
February 2009 After more script issues, Scott decides on a “back-to-basics” classic Robin Hood story.
June 2009 The Mirror reports Rusty is demanding daily chopper flights from his Windsor mansion to the film’s set in Wales. Scott allegedly ain’t thrilled by the idea.
July 2009 There’s argy-bargy on the set when Rusty jibes a boom operator for being late for work after her car blows up. “You’ve probably never had to worry about finding five grand for a new car,” she retorts. Rusty lives up to his character giving the crew member £5000 for a new car. Aww.
» Robin Hood is on general release from May 14
Get more info on Robin Hood here: