Mathieson Lenses Robin Hood: Russell Crowe
By Bob Fisher
John Matthieson, BSC likens his experience shooting Robin Hood to riding a horse with a mind of it’s own and hanging on for dear life while guiding it in the right direction. Robin Hood is the cinematographer’s fifth collaboration with Ridley Scott. It follows in the wake of Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, Matchstick Men and Hannibal.
Stories about Robin Hood, who steals from the rich and gives to the poor are weaved into the fabric of our culture. There are songs and poems about his exploits dating back to the 14th century. Howard Pyle wrote the book The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood in 1885. The first film about Robin Hood was produced in 1908. Some 50 motion pictures and television series have subsequently told the tale of Robin Hood.
The story never gets old. It begins late in the 12th century with Richard the Lionhearted, who is king of England, fighting a desperate battle with Norman invaders from France. A skillful archer who never missed his targets is fighting by his side.
After the king is killed, the archer returns to his native village, where the audience is re-introduced to characters who they met in motion pictures and television shows during their youth. Friar Tuck, the sheriff of Nottingham, Little John and Maid Marian are among the familiar characters who play supporting roles.
The archer is dismayed when he discovers that the sheriff and corrupt royal class are looting and oppressing the working class. He organizes and leads a band of Merry Men who steal from the rich, give to the poor and battles the new king’s army .
Russell Crowe plays Robin Hood and Cate Blanchett portrays Maid Marian, the somewhat reluctant love of his life. Robin Hood was produced at Shepperton Studio, in England, and in the hilly, wooded area surrounding it, where Mathieson artfully captured dramatic and breathtaking re-enactments of a story which never gets old on film.
“Ridley is a wonderfully talented filmmaker who thinks on his feet,” Mathieson says. “His instincts are flawless. If you throw something at him, he’ll catch it, and you have to respond quickly to his intuitive decisions. That’s the way Ridley likes to work. He doesn’t pontificate about anything. He just says this is what we are going to do.”
Robin Hood was produced by Universal Pictures. It is scheduled for release in May. The film just leaves one important question unanswered: Where is Robin Hood, when we desperately need him today?
“ROBIN HOOD” TRAILER
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