as Robin Longstride in Ridley Scott's Robin Hood
Renstore Newsletter: Entertainment Issue
by Gael Stirler
In this issue: Robin Hood with Russell Crowe opens nationwide May 14th. STARZ to air Pillars of the Earth as an 8-part series this summer. A lovely music video from Spain with a medieval love-story theme.
Movies: Ridley Scott's Robin Hood
Robin Hood: the Untold Story of How the Man Became a Legend is set a ficticious tale set in historical 13th century England. Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe), an expert archer, returns to his home in Nottingham after the death of King Richard the Lionhearted only to find that the land has been emptied of its able-bodied men, the women are widows, and all the children and old people are starving. For decades while Robin and King Richard were away at war in France and the Holy Land, Prince John, Richard's libertine brother with no interest in politics, left the work of ruling to corrupt knights, sherrifs, and tax collectors. Robin is wary of more war but memories of his father's death and the courage of Lady Marion spur him to raise a rebellion against the outrageous injustice.
All the familiar players are here but have been mixed up a little for the sake of the tale. Lady Marion (Cate Blanchett of Elizabeth, The Golden Age) is no longer a maid but a widow and her father-in-law is Sir Walter Loxley, a close friend of Robin's murdered father. After Robin is declared an outlaw, Little John (Kevin Durand of Lost), Friar Tuck (Mark Addy of The Full Monty and A Knights Tale), Will Scarlett (Scott Grimes of ER), and Alan a'Dale (played by Alan Doyle, lead singer of Great Big Sea)become Robin's closest companions in the greenwood gang. But they are not here for fun, they are hardened warriors and outlaws with a taste for adventure. Sir Godfrey (played by Mark Strong who was most recently seen as Lord Blackwood in Sherlock Holmes) is another name for Guy of Gisbourne and is Robin's relentless enemy. The Sherrif of Nottingham (played by Matthew Macfadyen who recenlty completed filming the part of Prior Phillip in STARZ upcoming series The Pillars of the Earth) still pursues Marion but he is also a greedy tax collector. New characters include Sir Willlam Marshal, (played by William Hurt of The Village) an aristocrat who was a close friend of King Richard and a confidant of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Eleanor was the the wife of Henry II and mother of Richard and John but this is the first time she appears as a character in the Robin Hood sagas. John, who takes the throne after his brother's death, has a French mistress, Isabelle of Angouléme, a beautiful French countess, who eventually becomes his second wife and nearly throws England into the hands of France.
Unlike other versions of Robin Hood that were set in a sort of fairy tale England, this version is set in a very specific time just before the signing of the Magna Carta when England was on the verge of civil war. Real history is woven into the backdrop of the story giving this movie a gritty realism similar to director Ridley Scott's other Russell-Crowe sword-fest, Gladiator. Ridley Scott is also the director of Body of Lies, Thelma and Louise, Alien, and Blade Runner.
The director of Robin Hood, Ridley Scott and his brother Tony Scott (director of Top Gun), are very busy boys these days. Not only does their production company produce the TV shows "Numb3rs" and "The Good Wife" but they are producing Robin Hood and sharing production duties with Tandem Communications on a $40 million 8-part maxi-series of Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth. The series is scheduled to premier this summer (2010) on STARZ network, a premium cable movie service provider. The series stars Ian McShane ("Deadwood" and "Kings"), Rufus Sewel (A Knights Tale and Tristan+Isolde), Eddie Redmayne (The Other Boylen Girl), Hayley Atwell (Lucy in "The Prisoner"), and Donald Southerland ("Dirty Sexy Money" and M*A*S*H).
Salisbury Cathedral was the inspiration for the novel set in Medieval England. Amazingly David Oakes, who plays the dastardly William Hamleigh, is the son of the current Salisbury Cathedral Canon, Jeremy Oakes.
Follett's book was originally published in 1989, yet it continues to sell over 100,000 copies a year 24 years later. November 2007 it was picked for Oprah's Book Club and in 2008 Follett published the sequal World Without End which immediately became a number one best seller around the world.
Here is a short synopsis from the offical website of the new TV series—
The Pillars of the Earth is a sweeping epic of good and evil, treachery and intrigue, violence and beauty. This sensuous, spirited and passionate story is set against a backdrop of war, religious strife and power struggles which tears lives and families apart. In that time, there rises a magnificent Cathedral in Kingsbridge.
Rufus Sewell as Tom the Builder in Pillars
Against this backdrop, human dramas and love stories entwine: Tom, the master builder, Aliena, the noblewoman, the sadistic Lord William, Philip, the prior of Kingsbridge, Jack, the artist in stone work and Ellen, the woman from the forest who casts a curse. At once, this is a sensuous and enduring love story and an epic that shines with the fierce spirit of a passionate age. Ken Follett masterfully weaves these stories through the political turmoil of 12th century England, creating a relevant and viable world for today's audience and for generations to come.
Tandem Communications announced only days ago that they have also optioned Ken Follett's sequel to The Pillars of the Earth, World Without End to be made into a television series along with Scott Free Films.
World Without End is an epic thriller of intrigue, passion and murder that unfolds from the heart of a troubled England and across a Europe ravaged by pestilence and scourged by the bloody chaos of the Hundred Years' War. The story centers on Kingsbridge, the town that also lies at the center of The Pillars of the Earth—but takes place two centuries later, in a time just as turbulent and perilous.
On All Hallows Day, four children—a thief, a bully, a boy genius, and a girl who wants to be a doctor—venture into the woods near Kingsbridge. None of them realizes that the hours to follow, in which they witness the murder of two men and the burial of a secret letter so vital to those in power that its contents could change the course of history. These events will shape and twist their lives for decades, as they journey through landscapes of prosperity and famine, pandemic disease and war, and are drawn together once more by ambition, greed, love and revenge...always moving under the shadow of the unexplained killing they witnessed long ago.
Here is a beautifully made Spanish-language music video from international singing sensation David Bisbal. In the mini-movie-style video Bisbal plays a medieval troubador who falls in love with a beautiful lady who is traveling to her wedding. Though they share a night of passion their love is doomed. Or is it? The video gives you a choice of two different endings.
David Bisbal embarked on a chart-topping solo recording career in 2002 after catapulting to fame on the inaugural season of the popular television reality show Operación Triunfo which is similar to American Idol. His first album, Corazón Latino not only went platinum in Spain but topped charts around the world and spun off three number-1 singles ("Ave María," "Lloraré las Penas," "Dígale"). Bisbal won a Latin Grammy in 2003 for Best New Artist. He followed with another successful album Bulería (2004), a live album Todo por Ustedes (2005), and Premonición (2006). Mark my words, this artist will cross over into American pop culture like other popular Latin music and motion picture stars Shakira, Ricky Martin, Penelope Cruz, and Antonio Banderas. You heard it hear first.