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There’s no shortage of Robin Hood movies — and seven additional projects are currently being developed — but director Otto Bathurst didn’t watch a single one before creating his iteration, which premiered Sunday night in New York.
“This film has got nothing to do with any of the other Robin Hoods that have been made,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “I didn’t watch them, I wasn’t influenced by them at all. The version we made is completely and utterly different from anything you’ve seen before.”
Since the first mention of Robin Hood dates back to the 14th century, it was important for Bathurst to modernize both the character and his story.
“It’s a story that’s been told for hundreds and hundreds of years,” he said. “So we’ve got our version, we dragged it into the 21st century. Hopefully it’ll resonate with a modern audience.”
Taron Egerton plays Robin of Loxley in Bathurst’s film, and though he’s seen other Robin Hoods, the actor agreed with the director that the new version is up-to-date. “I really felt like there was a scope to tell the story in a very different way,” he told THR. “I feel like it just made a lot of sense to put this very modern spin on a story we all know, and make it exciting, action-packed and fast-paced.”
For Egerton, the tale of the law-skirting crusader fighting for the greater good is particularly relevant given the current political climate.
“Humanity tends to make the same mistakes over and over again. Now, more than ever, there are widening wealth gaps and the rich getting richer and the poorer getting poorer,” he told THR. “And there are people in power who say the craziest things who seem to come out of those situations unscathed.”
Bathurst agreed, though he said that a character like Robin Hood is never going to be hard to relate to. “Wherever you’ve got corruption, or people being abused, or oppression, or any kind of social injustice, you need people who are going to stand up and try and make a difference,” said the filmmaker. “And that’s what Robin Hood does. And in the 21st century, we’ve got plenty of all of that. We need people who are going to stand up and say ‘no,’ and stand up and claim the truth.”
Bathurst added that while Robin Hood resembles a superhero, he isn’t one. “You don’t need to wear an iron suit to make a difference,” he said. “If you stand up for what you believe in, and you claim it — we all have the responsibility to do that.”
Despite any real-world parallels in Bathurst’s Robin Hood, Egerton said the film is ultimately “a popcorn action flick.”
“I don’t want to dress it up as something that’s got a huge political comment to make about the state of the world,” he told THR. “That’s not the kind of movie it is.”
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