Will Taron Egerton’s arrow hit the bullseye?
When the trailer dropped for Otto Bathurst’s revisionist Robin Hood – starring Taron Egerton – confusion reigned, with the Mediterranean-looking Nottingham and machine-stitched hoodies greeted grumpily by cynics. “If you bring any historical expectation, you’re going to be very angry within 10 seconds,” says Bathurst, in London’s Soho Hotel. The British director is fully aware that his take on Robin Hood will antagonise purists. “It’s got some edge to it, it’s got a voice,” he argues. “It’s very different to any other [version].”
Since the silent movie era, Nottingham’s iconic robber of the rich has reappeared on screen every decade, played by everyone from Errol Flynn to Kevin Costner. Most recently it was Russell Crowe in Ridley Scott’s 2010 movie. No wonder Egerton
was reluctant when he was first approached. “I remember the email: ‘Are you interested in playing Robin Hood?’ And I said, ‘No,’” admits the Kingsman star, when TF meets him in New York’s Mandarin Hotel. “It felt too soon, post the Russell Crowe one – which had a mixed reception, but has to be said did very good business.”
But is that a reason simply to regurgitate Robin once more? With an impressive career in TV – helming episodes of Peaky Blinders and Black Mirror – did Bathurst really want to risk his feature debut on this? “My take on the Robin Hood story was initially: ‘Really? Another one? Why does the world need another Robin Hood story?’”
It’s a point that was made to the cast, notes Jamie Dornan, the Fifty Shades star who signed on to play Robin’s peer Will Scarlet. “And then he saw the opportunity to make it
taking a bow taron Egerton stars as the do-gooding thief in a radical reimagining of the Brit legend.