All Things Robin Hood

All Things Robin Hood

rh1.jpgPerhaps there is something about the ever-slimming sector of the American middle class that makes us go weak at the knees for stories about Robin of the Hood. It’s a classic story, so we always want to go back for another look at it. Lately, the craze has hit the US and the UK like never before.

On 1 February, DAILY VARIETY reported that at the end of 07 or early in 08, Brian Grazer will be in production with his company, Imagine Entertainment, on the film, “Nottingham.” Written by Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris (creators of Showtime’s “Sleeper Cell”), the plot is to be a revisionist spin on the story that paints Robin Hood as bit less angelic, and the Sheriff of Nottingham as less of a moustache-twirling bad guy. There’s apparently also a love triangle with Maid Marion caught between the two boys. Russell Crowe will be playing the Sheriff. According to VARIETY’s report, a bunch of other major studios were also chomping at the bit to get their paws on it.

A couple months ago, Disney DVD put out one of their classic hurry-up-before-it-goes-back-in-the-vault packages of the animated “Robin Hood: Most Wanted Edition,” originally released in 1973.

rh-cover.jpgThere’s a newly published hardback graphic novel out titled “Robin Hood: Outlaw of Sherwood Forest” by Paul D. Storrie and Thoomas Yeates (Graphic Universe / Lerner Publishing Group). It opens its pages by declaring: “Robin Hood may or may not have been an actual person. Real or not, his adventures have delighted readers, listeners, and viewers for centuries.” Word.

On 13 March, Acorn Media will release Set 1 of the British television series, “Robin of Sherwood.” The series, which started in 1984, stars Michael Praed (“Dynasty”) and has guest stars including John Rhys Davies. Despite its inherent early 80’s-ness, all the fun plot points are covered. You’ve got your Merry Men, a good dose of witchcraft, the soothing soundtrack of Clannad, and the obligatory maniacal villains (complete with moustaches). Series 1 and 2 only had five and six episodes, respectively. Oh, and there’s a big mystery at the end, so you can wonder what’s going to happen in the final 13 shows of Series 3. Unless, of course, you were in England in 1986 and saw it (or you’ve read the episode descriptions in IMDB).

Most exciting at this moment in time is BBC’s new series, “Robin Hood.” The show’s premiere series is made up of 13 episodes, all shot on location in Hungary with a scrappy, young cast that had to go through Hood academy and learn how to ride horses and sling arrows. The show has become a hit in the UK, and will premiere on BBC America on 3 March. The DVD set will then become available on 5 June for all us US kids. And while you’re waiting, you can see teaser clips and interviews on BBC OnDemand.

In all these tellings, the story is pretty much the same. Steal from the rich and give to the poor. Little John, Will Scarlett, Much and all the rest. The naughty sheriff. But it truly is that campfire story that we will never tire of hearing again and again.

So why hasn’t a major TV network in the US given it a go? Classic story. Adventure. Heroes & Villains. Bows & Arrows. Witches & Castles. Let’s try Matt Long as Robin Hood, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Maid Marion, and Collin Farrell as the Sheriff of Nottingham. How about it? Go ahead…weigh on in the chat…

Gift shope…

“Robin Hood: Most Wanted Edition”
“Robin of Sherwood”
“Robin Hood” on BBC America

Nottingham on BBC UK