As you know by now, Ridley Scott has his next big historical drama lined up. I don’t know why it is, but this guy never tires of making movies with big battles and lots of medieval pageantry and releasing them all in May.
I don’t know about all of you out there, but I’m rather fond of Kevin Costner in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. I’m even fonder of Cary Elwes in Robin Hood: Men in Tights. And I haven’t seen it, but I think I would probably be pretty fond of Errol Flynn in The Adventures of Robin Hood from way back in the long, long ago. Am I part of the problem? Based on the fact that Scott is directing the latest adaptation, update, cash-in…whatever you want to call it for Robin Hood tells me that I might be.
Let me first say that I think Scott is a magnificent talent of a director. I won’t go through his laundry list of achievments, because you’re all probably well aware of them. Body of Lies (or as one of my friends humorously referred to it, Blood Diamond II: The Necklace) clearly had a lot of problems and wasn’t particularly well recieved, but it was obviously made by a great director. I’m a little annoyed that Scott chose to drop off of Blood Meridian, the adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s bloody, gripping western novel, since it would have forced him to grow through a story that is less plotty and more meditative, but I’m glad that Todd Field now has the reigns on that project.
But what about Robin Hood? Well, Russell Crowe is set for Robin (terrifying!) and Cate Blanchett is set for Maid Marian (I wonder if she’ll age forwards or backwards…discuss amongst yourselves) and I suppose the rest of the dominoes will fall the way we expect them to–meaning that Brendan Gleeson will probably play Little John and Danny Huston will probably play Prince John and they’ll probably make up a John for Brian Cox to play just to round out the usual names that we see in these movies. The flick is set to open in May of 2010, which has me fearful that we are going to get another Kingdom of Heaven-style disappointer.
It’s always a possibility, and I’ve always been a heavy proponent of not opening sword-and-sandal epics in May. Troy and Gladiator are obviously examples of why people don’t pay me tons of money to make these decisions, but Kingdom of Heaven demonstrates that big epics are kind of hit and miss in that time of year. I wish Scott would get off of all these swashbucklers and make another American Gangster or even Black Hawk Down-like story. His filmography is one of the most diverse I’ve ever seen–wish he didn’t feel the need to keep making all of these formulaic period epics.