“It’s Gladiator: The Nottingham Years,” explained director Ridley Scott about his epic new version of Robin Hood.
At this point, Scott’s radio rang out, “Bloated-Crowe on your Six, Ridley.”
Scott lept from his director’s chair and quickly grabbed his director-caliber riding crop and megaphone.
“Bloated-Crowe?” I asked.
“That’s Russell’s call-sign. Quick, hide any hotel quality desk phone not bolted down!”
That’s when Russell Crowe approached in a mood so surly, even “surly” wouldn’t recognize it.
“Cate Blancette, Ridley? Really, mate? What happened to Sienna Miller? Thanks to Cate, the entire population of 12th Century Nottingham wants to know where the closest Botox clinic is.”
“Tell them it’s eight centuries from here, Russell.”
“Listen mate, I’m getting on. It’s vital for my career prospects to be attached to a starlet who’s fresh, especially if she’s fresh off a relationship with someone other than Dennis Quaid. Did you know Cate played Queen Elizabeth – twice?!
“Not twice,” Ridley said. “There’s no way she would do that twice. Who in their right mind would finance two movies about Queen Elizabeth, let alone play the role?”
“I’m telling you – twice,” said Russell. “I read it on the Internet.”
“My attitude is, if nobody saw it, it doesn’t exist.” said Ridley.
“Well that makes me feel better about A Good Year and State of Play.”
At that, Russell turned a full 360-degrees, and not finding a desk phone to catapult, he harumphed and returned to his trailer.
“Attention, Bloated-Crowe has returned to nest. Return to Def-Con Five,” rang the radio.
“Def-Con Five, check,” muttered Ridley into his walkie.
“In this version of the tale,” a relaxed Ridley went on, “Robin Hood fires a desk telephone at a bullseye from 100 yards and hits it square on.”
We open on Robin Hood playing a shell game for his brothers in arms:
“Blimey, where’s yer Playstation, Robin?! Shell game, indeed – my iPhone has an app for that!”
Russell begins to burn, but he’s on a battlefield with no desk phones in sight, and everyone knows it.
“No Playstation, but show you my Wii, I will!” he exclaims.
But forget all that, because fifteen minutes have passed. And every fifteen minutes in Robin Hood the townsfolk gather to dance and sign folk songs. I don’t know, Iron Man 2 or 12th Century dancing and folk songs – which one of these movies is likely to win the weekend box office? Hmm.
Why, exactly, did Russell take on a role that has been well tread by the likes of Kevin Costner and Errol Flynn?
“Because I was able to swap the tights for a codpiece. With any luck they’ll have an Oscar category for “Best Codpiece” this year, or at least a Golden Globe. Say, what a great nickname for my codpiece, the ‘Golden Globe’!”
Max Von Sydow is a blind old man with a fresh, new spirit:
“I awoke this morning with a tumescent glow!” he shouts.
“And I awoke this morning with a high-priced call girl,” said Russell. “Although my tumescent was glowing, too.”
But in the skies above, something was amiss…
“Aye, Robin, what are those jet trails over yonder head in several of ye exteriors in Nottingham?”
“What do I look like, Nottingham’s Foursquare Mayor? Be wary, or a telephone shall hit he in yer head, cobbler!” said Crowe.
King John, what say ye about the attacking French armies?
“We will meet them with the pikes of our militia in their gizzards!”
“Okay,” said Robin. “we’ll get on that just as soon as the entire Middle Ages stops laughing.”
Come to find out that Robin Hood wasn’t the guy in tights stealing from the rich and giving to the poor after all. He was the common archer who was called on by the King to save all of England from all of France. Who knew?
“I did,” said Maid Marion, a.k.a. Cate Blanchette. “And don’t call me ‘Maid.’”
Not only does Cate join the climactic battle, but – like all good battles between nations – no matter how big the battlefield, the stars always seem to run into each other.
Robin Hood isn’t great and it isn’t bad, but – as Ridley Scott himself said:
“Imagine what it could have been with a couple replicants and one slobbery alien?”