Whatever you say about Russell Crowe's up-with-people campaign against unresponsive, property-grabbing government in " Robin Hood," don't suggest to its makers that the historical epic is the first Tea Party movie. "No, no," says screenwriter Brian Helgeland. "That would not be good."
For all of its 12th century trappings, Helgeland and director Ridley Scott's retelling of the mythical English archer tries to be thematically contemporary. Rather than a steal-from-the rich yeoman, the film's titular hero is a disillusioned war veteran just back from a distant, violent campaign against Muslims. "We wanted to tell the story of how the myth was created," says producer Brian Grazer.
Hood's homeland is ruled by a king with little concern for his subjects and somebody — maybe that guy who's so good with bows and arrows? — needs to step up and take the country back. "There's a very strong destiny story in this," says Scott, who shot most of the film on British locations, including Sherwood Forest.
Hood and his merry men are far less interested in redistributing the wealth than making sure King John (Oscar Isaac) focuses on the people in England. King John is in cahoots with a villainous adviser (Mark Strong's Sir Godfrey purports to be English, but he's as French as foie gras). "That's where the heart of this Robin Hood is," says Helgeland, whose credits include "L.A. Confidential" and "A Knight's Tale." "He is trying to give the people a voice."