Universal halts production on Scott's 'Nottingham'


The Sheriff of Nottingham will not be chasing Robin Hood into England's Sherwood Forest in the fall.

Although "Nottingham," director Ridley Scott's revisionist take on the Robin Hood tale, had been aiming for a mid-August start date, production on the film, which is to star Russell Crowe as a sympathetic Sheriff of Nottingham, has been indefinitely postponed. A new production start date probably couldn't be set until next year.

Script concerns, location logistics and the current labor unrest all played a role in the decision.

Produced by Universal and Imagine, the film has been one of the handful of high-profile productions pushing ahead despite the labor uncertainty surrounding the current stand-off between the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers and SAG.

In explaining the production shutdown, Universal cited the "cloud of the SAG strike" as one of three factors that led to the postponement.

It also said that "the film's forest locations need to be green," which suggests that even if other factors were to be resolved later this year, the production could not resume until the spring.

The third key factor was the project's script, by Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris, with a rewrite by Brian Helgeland. "The current version of the screenplay," the studio said, "is not yet where the studio and the filmmakers want it to be in terms of realizing the full value of the story.

"Universal could have moved forward with one of these challenges, but the confluence of the three caused the studio to reconsider and take the time for all conditions to be optimal."

The statement said that Universal, Imagine, Scott and Crowe all remain committed to the project.

"Nottingham" had been on track to be released Nov. 6, 2009. (partialdiff)