Noble outlaw and English folklore icon Robin Hood has been brought to life on the big screen in many forms by now, ranging from a talking cartoon fox (in Disney’s 1973 Robin Hood animated film) to more traditional versions played by such non-Englishmen as Kevin Costner and Russell Crowe. However, for its upcoming take on the character, Robin Hood: Origins, Lionsgate has been looking at a handful of England-born actors (and some Americans too) to play the movie’s namesake.
There are numerous Robin Hood films adaptations in some stage of development around Hollywood right now (a Robin Hood Shared Cinematic Universe is even being considered by Sony, reportedly), though Lionsgate appears to have gotten ahead of the rest of the pack with its Origins movie. Now, it would appear the project may be on the verge of locking down its leading man.
Deadline is reporting that Taron Egerton is now the front-runner to star in Robin Hood: Origins, after having recently been shortlisted for the project’s lead role alongside such actors as Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury Road) and Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empre) among others. Negotiations are reportedly just getting started between Egerton and Lionsgate, so there’s a chance that he two will not finalize a deal; however, there are currently no signs of trouble on that front.
Egerton broke out as an actor in 2015, with his role as a street kid turned secret agent in Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret Service; it doesn’t require a stretch to picture Egerton aptly playing a similar archetype (just in a historical setting) in Robin Hood: Origins, for the same reason. Vaughn is currently writing a Kingsman sequel for 20th Century Fox, but as Lionsgate wants its Robin Hood film to enter production near the beginning of 2016 – and Kinsgsman 2 doesn’t appear to be as far along in development as Origins – scheduling shouldn’t be an issue that prevents Egerton from working on both project (if he so decides to).
Deadline‘s report describes Origins as a “gritty, revisionist” take on the Robin Hood legend, though the usual plot beats of the story – Robin Hood returns from the Crusades and fights corruption in Sherwood Forest with help from a group of fellow outlaws – will reportedly be the same. The Origins script was penned by Joby Harold, who also wrote Guy Ritchie’s upcoming revisionist King Arthur film, Knights of the Round Table. The latter also re-envisions a classic folklore hero as a modern freedom fighter type, who ends up leading a resistance against oppressive ruling forces; it appears Harold has found a niche for himself as a screenwriter, in other words.
Origins will be directed by Otto Bathurst, who comes from a TV directing background that includes episodes on such TV series as Criminal Justice, Black Mirror, and (most recently) the acclaimed period gangster drama, Peaky Binders. Bathurst shall be making his feature-length directorial debut with the Robin Hood retelling, so it remains to be seen if he can transfer his success working in television to a fruitful career directing for the big screen. If nothing else, Bathurst’s Peaky Binders work bodes well for his ability to create a historical setting for Origins that stands apart, visually, from those in Robin Hood movies past (like Ridley Scott’s 2010 adaptation).
We’ll bring you more information on Robin Hood: Origins when we have it.