One interesting thing about the Robin Hood movie when it was first announced was that we would apparently see the story from the Sheriff of Nottingham’s point of view, and therefore for the first time it would be Robin Hood who is seen to be the villain. Another interesting point was that Russell Crowe would play both characters, with Ridley Scott saying it would be “a good old clever adjustment of characters. One becomes the other. It changes.”
However, script re-writes occurred and now we are getting the usual Robin Hood story, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if the end result is great historical epic, but it would have been cool to see something unique from a story that has been retold over and over again.
The writers of the original script, Ethan Reiff and Cy Voris, spoke to CineFools about the movie, and while things have changed, they aren’t complaining.
Nottingham was about us both wanting to see a new and different version of a classic old story retold. The truth is the movie Ridley Scott made doesn’t have all that much to do with the script we sold to Universal, in the midst of a bidding war with various other Hollywood studios, about 3 years ago. Our script was told from the Sheriff of Nottingham’s POV (thereby the title), and Russell Crowe signed on to play the part of the Sheriff, who was the hero of our screenplay. There are a few things remaining in the movie which had their origin in our script, like including Eleanor of Aquitaine (mother of Richard the Lionhearted and Prince, later King, John) as a key character in a Robin Hood movie for the first time (at least that I know of), plus the movie would never have been made to being with if Russell Crowe hadn’t signed on to play the Sheriff in our original script. I guess for us, without having seen the movie, it’s a mix of triumph and frustration. Triumph because we got the ball rolling that led to a massive Medieval period piece being made with an excellent cast by arguably one of the greatest directors in movie history, but also frustration in that the world will never see the original movie we wrote. But we did get paid, so I’m not complaining. Once they bought it, Universal had the right to do whatever they wanted with our script.
I think the dual role for Russell Crowe may have been too risky for Universal. I’m sure critics and movie lovers would have liked it, however I don’t think the general audience would have appreciated the mind games.