(Release Info London schedule; November 21st, 2018, Peckham Multiplex, 95 a Rye Lane, 21:00)
'Robin of Loxley' (Taron Egerton) a war-hardened Crusader and his Moorish commander John (Jamie Foxx) mount an audacious revolt against the corrupt English crown in a thrilling action-adventure packed with gritty battlefield exploits, mind-blowing fight choreography, and a timeless romance. You may think you know the timeless legend, but you’ve never seen "Robin Hood" like this.
'Robin Hood' is a war veteran who returns home seeking peace and solace only to realize his fight is not over; it’s just beginning. This isn’t men in tights romping through 'Sherwood Forest'. Robin comes back from the battlefield in Syria in emotional distress and detached from his previous life, which no longer holds meaning for him. He finds a Nottingham he no longer recognizes, one full of appalling inequality and injustice. He tries to remain dispassionate in his solitude, but ultimately his conscience won’t allow him to ignore what he sees going on around him. He's a guy who seemingly has the perfect and comfortable life and goes off to war, full of ideals, beliefs and passion, but then his eyes are opened to the corruption and evil of the people who are running the world, and it breaks him. It dissolves his faith in his nation and his religion and leaves him disillusioned. We see Robin as a hero, but how he becomes this legend, what it's that burns inside of him and what inspires him to set out to fight with such commitment to the truth. He's a man wrestling with the future of his soul and discovering an inner fire and skill beyond what he ever expected, rather than a static storybook figure. Robin is a young man and it’s pretty impressive to be able to rally this amazing revolution at that age. He feels very pertinent to the world.
Robin is a lord, but he’s not a pampered lord. He doesn’t surround himself with servants. He’s very hands-on. He really subscribes in the beginning to the idea of fighting a noble war. It’s only later that he realizes the whole thing was something of a racket so that the people at the top could keep lining their pockets. When Robin realizes what's happening in Nottingham, he's compelled into action. That’s when Robin takes on the persona of 'The Hood', the audacious avenger who thumbs his nose at the elites by stealing the thing they will do any despicable thing for; their money. At first, 'The Hood' is a just a disguise through which Robin can hide from who he's. As he merges into this avenging, dark, enigmatic force within Nottingham, he realizes 'The Hood' is part of his own being. The moment when Robin reveals his identity to the people is a pivotal scene because the people must decide if they’re going to continue to rely on the self-serving but smooth-talking Will (Jamie Dornan), to bargain for their betterment, or if they’re going to take up the mantle of revolution and challenge the pillars of society that maintain the corruption.
You don’t become a legend from simply stealing a few bags of money from rich people and giving them to poor people. That's a cool thing to do, but it’s not iconic. The real reason 'Robin Hood' becomes a hero is that he's a major thorn in the side of society, of government, of the establishment. That’s why people still love him, because he’s a symbol of that voice out there kicking against the status quo that we are all responsible for allowing. He’s a reflection for all of us in that he isn’t given special powers or born a Superhero, he's simply an everyman who's prepared to do what's needed to bring change and to sacrifice his own comfort for the bigger picture. We've all witnessed oppression, corruption and abuse in some or many forms, but few of us can truly say that we have done something about it and so a story of a man who's prepared to put his head above the parapet, prepared to fight for truth, is a story that needs to be told now more than ever and resonates powerfully with us all.
Robin could not have become 'The Hood' at all if not for the unlikely guidance of John, 'The Moorish' warrior whose son Robin tries to save during his time at war in 'The Crusades'. Impressed by Robin’s courage, John takes a cynical and begrudging Robin under his wing so that both might get payback, but their partnership yields more than either saw coming. The bantering, witty friendship that develops between Robin and John is a favorite element of many in the film. But John’s tutelage also Robin into a virtual one-man-army. Robin treats John as an enemy Moor with great disdain. Yet, through their bond, Robin begins to see the error of his viewpoint. Robin starts off cocky, self-loathing and misguided and John channels all those feelings into something constructive. Robin’s training with John cements their relationship. They’re mistrustful of each other because they’ve been raised to hate each other's kind, but in the course of John mentoring Robin to be the fastest archer in Notthingham, they realize they've lots more in common than they think. It's a great relationship, because it has real heart. In one sense, there's a kind of father-son thing that develops but it’s also two soldiers, brothers-in-arms, realizing that they've a bigger idea to fight for.
John is Robin Hood’s loyal lieutenant, but in this new version, he's an enemy soldier who unexpectedly becomes Robin’s mentor and comrade-in-arms, completing his transformation into 'The Hood'. This John is a Saracen fighter, an 'Arabic Moor' fighting on the opposite side of 'The Crusades' from Robin. When Robin tries to save John’s son, John spies Robin’s innate humanity. Touched by the bravery and compassion exhibited by his Crusader foe, John risks his own life by stowing away to England in order to convince Robin there remains a just cause; one Robin turns out to be uniquely suited to fight for, going beyond John’s wildest expectations. John has to be both a savvy, sharp-witted rival and an inspiration to Robin.
It's John, reeling with grief and anger after war, who seeks out Robin, and through him, gets his defiant spirit back. John is a king several years before we meet him, but now he just wants to fight for the memory of his son and fight for what's right. John is a fierce competitor and he sees that same quality in Robin. When John and Robin arrive in Nottingham, Robin is believed to be dead, and John is a stranger in a strange land. Both are desperate and have lost everything. Each needs something from the other; and that evolves into a loyal friendship. First John has to convince Robin he’s not just a conspiracy theorist, and that he knows what he’s doing in taking on Nottingham’s elite. Robin comes from wealth, so he can’t see the lay of the land the way John can. It's John who opens Robin’s eyes to the idea that things are truly not as they seem; that the real enemies they both want to go after are the fat cats and politicians who profit while soldiers die. John get’s Robin to look behind the curtain, if you will, of what's going on in this dangerous world that they live in. John shows him how drunk with money the men in power are it sparks something inside Robin. It's John who gifts Robin with a stealth fighting style the likes of which Nottingham has never encountered. Robin then surprises John with how quickly and seamlessly he transforms himself into 'The Hood'. It allows him to become a kind of undetectable ghost in Nottingham.
Almost as iconic as 'Robin Of Loxley' is Marian (Eve Hewson), his legendary love, and long lauded for her independence and strength. In this "Robin Hood", Marian may be a mere commoner, but it turns out there's little common about her attitude and bravery, something Robin responds to from the first moments of their meeting. She’s a powerful and deeply committed woman, an arrow of truth. Indeed, she's the catalyst for Robin’s whole journey and there's no question that without Marian there would be no 'Robin Hood', in that it's she who pulls him out of his selfish anger and shows him the true path. She's the kind of girl who brings a real sense of logic and to everything that she does and she both challenges and changes Robin. She's a natural leader who sees what needs to be done so clearly. Marian isn’t a superhero. She doesn’t have any special skills or weapons, she’s just fighting for her life and willing to kick, punch and take any risk for what she believes in. It's Marian who reignites Rob's passion and is the one who inspires him to keep evolving until he becomes this heroic person he was meant to be. Things get more complicated when Marian becomes a supporter of 'The Hood'.
Will fights for Marian’s love while trying to become the community’s leader. Will is a good, decent man but he’s threated by Robin. He sees that spark is still in Marian, and he also recognizes that 'The Hood' could take hold of the movement Will’s worked so hard to organize, and make it his own. By the end of the story we see the damage that jealousy and rage does to the character. Rounding out the core of Robin’s companions is Friar Tuck (Tim Minchin). Tuck is so important to the story because he’s the one character who's set connected to everyone on both sides, both to 'The Sheriff' and to Robin, and hes constantly put in very compromising positions in terms of where his loyalties lie. Tuck is a man who thinks for himself, who has spent his life exploring ideas in books, but then he finds his own morality undermined by his job as the Friar, where he has to placate both 'The Sheriff Of Nottingham' and the church leaders. He's not completely loyal to this war-mongering, power-hungry group. He becomes a genuine member of Robin’s rebellion, and a bit of a hero, not just a comical buffoon.
High above Nottingham sits the autocrat who rules the city with a ruthless hand, becoming 'The Hood’s' target and nemesis; 'The Sheriff Of Nottingham' (Ben Mendelsohn). 'The Sheriff' is a complex and daunting villain, an angry, cynical man dripping with inner darkness, hungry for limitless power and wealth, but also seeking to make others suffer as he once did as an orphan. He's an astute political animal, a master manipulator who grew up under the cruel hand of the church and the nobility, leaving him with a venomous hatred of both. He’s a great and vivid character. He believes solely in power, so he’s been busy building his war machine and living his depraved life without any concern for the citizens of Nottingham. His past has led him to develop an incredibly strong survival instinct. Like Robin, he sees that the people in power are full of lies and rubbish, but he decides to go all in as a scumbag to take advantage of it, whereas Robin decides to fight for the people and become a hero. A big part of re-imagining "Robin Hood" is building a world for the characters that would be visually original yet feel as alive as our own. The Nottingham in the film is a teeming industrial capital full of global influences, a political epicenter and a very powerful stronghold of the church. It's a city full of posh grandeur but also pocked by soot-choked mines and sprawling slums, reflecting the gap between haves and have-nots. Old school static bow-and-arrow combat morphed into wildly, athletic clashes that bring a new energy and pop. It feels like a modern gunfight, kinetic and visceral.
The human imagination has latched so tightly onto the myth of 'Robin Hood' that his story has been told, retold and told all over again for some 800 years of massive changes in human society. Since the 15th Century, when Robin and his ostensibly merry band of companions first starred in a series of ballads as rebels fighting for Nottingham’s oppressed, Robin has inspired a slew of writers, artists and storytellers, each reconfiguring the character to resonate with their times. At the movies, 'Robin Hoods' have been myriad; Douglas Fairbanks was a silent 'Robin Hood'; Errol Flynn was a swashbuckling Robin; Margaret Rutherford was the first female Robin; Frank Sinatra was a gangster Robin; Sean Connery was a romantically-fueled Robin; Kevin Costner was a quick-witted Robin and John Cleese and Cary Elwes were outright comic Robins. Taking off at a breathless pace that does not let up, " Robin Hood" reintroduces the iconic outlaw as the dark, compelling hero of a turbulent city in desperate need of one. In this action-adventure, Robin’s first-ever revolt against a corrupt Kingdom erupts into gritty battles, kickass fight choreography, an irreverent friendship and timeless romance. This all-new take on "Robin Hood" is delivered on a grand scale befitting the rebirth of a 2018 cinematic superhero.
This Robin is a thoroughly modern shadow warrior. He may have been born into privilege as 'Lord Of Loxley', but now he returns from war a haunted veteran who has lost everything. With the help of an equally war-scarred Moor, Robin adopts a new alter-ego; as the hooded avenger who strikes at the powerful seeking justice for the people. Robin starts off using a traditional English longbow, which all 'The Crusaders' carry, but once he starts training with John, switches to a recurve bow, a bow that curves away from the archer when unstrung, providing more power and speed to the arrow. The bow he uses as 'The Hood' is anything but traditional. Robin's bow has nun-chucks across the wrist and knuckles and it also has sharpened tips on the bow so he can slash and stab with it in the middle of a close battle. The film captures all the thrills, adrenaline and near-misses of a modern car chase, but with horses and wagons.
There's nothing period or traditional about this movie, because it’s not the 'Robin Hood' we’ve all seen before. All the archetypal 'Robin Hood' characters you know from the legend are there, but we get to see them through the lens of our lives today and that’s what makes it special. There's a cool buddy relationship, an element of romance and lots of death-defying action sequences. The action, the characters and even the costumes all have just a dope twist to them. This 'Robin Hood' is it's own animal that takes you somewhere unexpected. This movie is a bromance. It's a love story. It's a heist movie. There’s something for everybody in this film. This is a complex 'Robin Hood'. The same way that Bruce Wayne didn’t seek to be a hero, but became one because Gotham City needed a 'Batman', Robin doesn’t set out to be 'Robin Hood', but Nottingham needs him to be. 'Robin Hood' is the very incarnation of archery. When people think about archery they usually think about what they've seen in a 'Robin Hood' movie. The film brings that archery closer to reality and people will see that archery can be extremely exciting. People are used to seeing a more static archery in films but archery can be incredibly dynamic. This movie feels really current and vibrant.