Much like Snow White, Peter Pan and Jungle Book before it, Robin Hood is just one of those literary classics that can’t help but be remade again and again. The English folklore hero has not only been the subject of an animated Disney film (featuring the voice of Brian Bedford as an anthropomorphic fox), but he’s also been the titular character of at least twenty different movies.
Everyone from Errol Flynn to Russell Crowe has played the beloved outlaw who robs from the rich and gives to the poor over the past 100 years or so. There are also four Robin Hood projects currently in development, including ones at Warner Bros., Sony and Disney, but Lionsgate hopes to beat all those other studios to the big screen.
Described as a gritty, revisionist take on the old legend, Lionsgate’s verson – titled Robin Hood: Origins – follows the expert archer and swordsman as he returns from fighting in The Crusades to find that Sherwood Forest is rife with corruption and evil. As a result, he forms a band of outlaws, and they soon decide to take matters into their own hands.
TV director Otto Bathurst (Peaky Blinders) is helming the project from a script by Joby Harold, who recently wrote Guy Ritchie and Charlie Hunnam’s Knights Of The Roundtable: King Arthur, which is due out next year. According to Deadline, Lionsgate is looking at a lot of up-and-coming young actors, and the shortlist has been whittled down to British actors Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service), Nicholas Hoult (X-Men) and Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire), Irish actor Jack Reynor (Transformers: Age of Extinction) and American actor Dylan O’Brien (The Maze Runner).
Out of the current list of candidates, Bathurst has only met with Reynor, so he appears to be at the top of the shortlist right now. Lionsgate is reportedly aiming to start production in early 2016, and a lot of the decision will come down to availability. While Hoult is currently filming X-Men: Apocalypse, he’ll be done in early September, well before that time. Reynor and Huston will also have equally empty schedules come 2016, especially since Huston recently dropped out of The Crow reboot.
On the other hand, O’Brien’s last Maze Runner movie The Death Cure is expected to begin filming in February 2016, making scheduling for him a bit more of an issue. Should director Matthew Vaughn’s sequel to Kingsman get a greenlight from Fox, that could also put Egerton out of the running. Lionsgate may have some actors in mind for Robin Hood: Origins, but scheduling issues could whittle this list down even further.
Stay tuned to Screen Rant for updates on Robin Hood: Origins as this story develops.