When word broke that Lionsgate was developing a new version of Robin Hood for the big screen, most greeted the news with a resounding “But why?” The Robin Hood story is one that’s been told onscreen many, many times going back almost a century, and the most recent version—Ridley Scott’s gritty Russell Crowe-led feature—flopped at the box office. So what makes Robin Hood: Origins worthwhile? What makes it a story worth telling?
That was the question posted to producer Basil Iwanyk when Collider’s own Steve Weintraub recently caught up with him in anticipation of the release of John Wick: Chapter 2. The first answer is, obviously, the cast. Kingsman breakout Taron Egerton leads the film as a youthful Robin Hood, with Ben Mendelsohn playing the Sheriff of Nottingham, Eve Hewson as Maid Marian, and Jamie Foxx inhabiting the role of Little John. But beyond that, what makes Robin Hood: Origins worthwhile?
“Exempting the killer cast, I feel that it captures the adventure and the fun and the spirit of Robin Hood, but because it’s the origin story—it’s a kid going off to war thinking he’s going on a great Crusade, and realizing it’s all bullshit and coming back with some PTSD and realizing he’s been lied to, and coming back to kind of a fractured society that doesn’t really accept him and realizing, ‘Okay the super rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer.’ You could describe that now. What Joby Harold, our writer, was able to do is make it feel very allegorical and very contemporary, and feel youthful but not youthful in a YA way, youthful in a kind of, the anger, the energy, what people when they were 25 feel, without it being pandering like ‘Look, we’re the young version of the movie!’”
Iwanyk continued, saying that the stunt work in Robin Hood: Origins was inspired by the stunts in John Wick:
“The images of Robin Hood, the imagery we have, the production design, the stunt work that we’re doing—a lot of it was inspired by the John Wick stunt work. The stuff we’re doing with the bow and arrow, it’s the same thing that Keanu does with the gun. The costumes, it just feels different than any other Robin Hood we had.”
The producer also revealed how the production was able to nab Ben Mendelsohn as their villain, with the actor just coming off of the grueling shoot of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story:
“Otto [Bathurst] is a star, our director. He’s a closer. Because that cast is sprawling. Jamie Foxx and Ben Mendelsohn and Taron Egerton, those are different muscles to flex. And Ben, who did not want to play a bad guy, after meeting Otto was just like ‘Oh my God this movie’s gonna be great. I’m all in.’ We had him right when Rogue One made a gazillion dollars so it was the last thing he wanted to do, but Otto closed him.”
Mendelsohn agreeing to join the film so soon after Rogue One, and no doubt with a flood of offers coming his way, is indeed a good sign both for the script and director, and Iwanyk sure makes a strong case for Robin Hood: Origins as a worthwhile endeavor. We’ll find out for sure when the film hits theaters on March 23, 2018.
Look for Steve’s full interview with Iwanyk on Collider closer to the release of John Wick: Chapter 2. And if you missed our previous updates, peruse the links below:
- ‘Soldado’ Could Take Place Before or After ‘Sicario’, Says Producer
- ‘Splinter Cell’ Movie Aims to Distance Itself from Bourne, Bond, and Video Games