May 15

Source: People magazine

May 15, 2001

Crowe Crows for Meg
By Stephen M. Silverman

Breaking what appeared to be the couple's tight-lipped silence over their six-month relationship and recent split, "Gladiator" Oscar nominee Russell Crowe has discussed Meg Ryan with an Australian newspaper -- saying that they will remain friends but that he belongs Down Under. "I have a big life here," the hunky star, 36, quoted as speaking from his cattle farm in New South Wales, told Melbourne's Herald Sun, which published his comments over the weekend (Russell's remarks have subsequently been picked up by Reuters and TV's "Access Hollywood"). "I can't sustain myself through the course of the year without filling up on home, and Meg needs the same." Crowe met Ryan, 39, last year on the set of their film "Proof of Life" (at the time she was still married to actor Dennis Quaid), and they two remained an item until their apparent split last month. "Meg is a beautiful and courageous woman," Crowe added. "I grieve the loss of her companionship, but I haven't lost her friendship."

Caption on these photos reads: "Russell tells Charlie he must wear his hat in the sun" ~ 2008

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Kevin Durrand, Russell, Scott Grimes and Alan Doyle
aka Robin and his Merry Men perform ballads in Rome ~ 2010

~ click here to see all singing merry men photos ~

Source: AP

May 15, 2010

Crowe recruited pals for Robin's band of Merry Men
By David Germain

Cannes, France - Some really merry men have Russell Crowe's back in "Robin Hood".

The movie from director Ridley Scott casts Russell Crowe's longtime pals Kevin Durand as Little John, Scott Grimes as Will Scarlet and musician Alan Doyle as Allan A'Dayle, who fight, sing, drink and carouse as the backbone of the English outlaw's inner circle.

Crowe, who stars as Robin Hood, was instrumental in signing up Canadians Doyle and Durand and American Grimes - rather than native Brits - to play Robin's Merry Men.

"Russ just had this kind of idea that it was more important to see on the screen the friendship that was already there," said Grimes, best known for TV roles on "ER" and "Party of Five" and the miniseries "Band of Brothers."

Grimes and Durand appeared in Crowe's hockey romp "Mystery, Alaska," while Durand also had a role in Crowe's Western "3:10 to Yuma." Doyle, lead singer for the folk-rock band Great Big Sea, met Crowe while the actor was filming "Cinderella Man" in Toronto and went on to produce Crowe's album "My Hand My Heart."

The camaraderie among Crowe and his three sidekicks jumps off the screen as they fight side by side under the banner of King Richard the Lionheart and belt out songs together in their boozy off hours. Will, Allan and Little John share a drunken night with villagers of Nottingham in a bawdy segment that director Scott referred to as creating the world's first pub.

"Many of the things in the film are all about trying to place the characters in some piece of real history. Sort of create a plausible explanation why Robin Hood became Robin Hood and why the Merry Men became the Merry Men. Perhaps why they're placed in British lore as significantly as they are," Doyle said in an interview alongside Grimes and Durand. "Creating the first pub in Britain. You'd be remembered for that, wouldn't you? ... Music, mead and oily wenches. What else do you want?"

While Durand, Grimes and Doyle already had the fraternal bonds to play Robin's lieutenants, they went through medieval boot camp to master the fighting skills required.

"The three of us got on a plane and went to Australia and trained our butts off," said Durand, whose credits include a recurring role on "Lost." "We had like the Robin Hood fantasy camp. It was like we were little boys living out our fantasy. Wake up in the morning, 8 a.m., archery, 9 a.m., sword-fighting."

"Do you know there's a 6 o'clock in the morning?" Doyle said. "I'm serious."

Grimes and Doyle became sharpshooters with a bow and arrow, Durand said, while he tended to miss more targets than he hit.

"I tried. I have one eye that's a lot weaker than the other. I almost took out several people," said Durand, whose Little John was a brawler, not an archer, so his poor bow skills were not a handicap. "My draw, they gave me some pretty powerful arrows, so they were going hard and fast and wild in any direction. So they gave me a staff."

Doyle and Grimes turned their archery training into an extreme sport.

"It got to a point where Alan was so good that he got bored with doing it, and he had me one day, he walked, what would you say? About 50 yards away? Stood there, and I had my bow and arrow, and he went, 'Shoot,"' Grimes said. "He was trying to catch an arrow as it went by.

"I got one," Doyle said. "I'm a goalie in hockey, so ..."

If "Robin Hood" turns into a hit, Crowe and Scott hope to return with some sequels, and the Merry Men are just as anxious to get back to Sherwood Forest.

"When I saw the last scene in this movie, I got so excited, because for the first time, I went, 'I'm involved in something that could go on,'" Grimes said. "We could do three or four of these things."

"I am so game. The best time that I've had yet in my career, so I would jump on my horse again so quick," Durand said.

"I'm already counting on it," Doyle said. "I've got the money spent. I'm shagged if we don't do it."

Source: The Australian

May 15, 2010

Rockin' Robin
By David Stratton

As a child I was fascinated by the legend of Robin Hood, the 13th-century outlaw and champion archer who robbed the rich to feed the poor and defied the usurper King John and the grasping Sheriff of Nottingham.

The earliest mention of the character is to be found in William Langland's Piers Plowman, which was written, as far as we can tell, in the middle of the 14th century, but did Robin really exist, or was he merely the stuff of legend?

One tantalising theory was that he and his "merrie men" in their Lincoln green, were disenfranchised remnants of the original Britons, stockily built pagans who were driven out of the towns and small communities into the forests by the taller Christian invaders (the Normans); according to this theory, they were outlawed because they practised "the old religion" (witchcraft). This idea of smaller people living in the woods and practising magic could also be the basis for stories of fairies living at the bottom of the garden.

By the time I saw the 1938 film version, The Adventures of Robin Hood, in which Errol Flynn swashbuckled his way through a Warner Bros art director's Technicolored idea of olde Englande, I was captivated. Later I saw the earlier, silent, version in which Douglas Fairbanks Sr. proved to be Flynn's equal, so that, by the time the rather stolid Kevin Costner version came along in 1991 I was a bit cynical about it all.

The other major film based around the character is Richard Lester's relatively unseen Robin and Marian (1976), in which Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn enact the famous characters in their late middle-age.

Ridley Scott's magnificent Robin Hood, which opened the Cannes Film Festival a few days ago, is in some ways the flip side to Lester's film; the screenplay, by Brian Helgeland, deals with Robin's back-story and the events that led to his banishment as an outlaw.

In this reading, Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe in excellent form) is a soldier in the army of King Richard I (Danny Huston), known as The Lionheart, who is returning to England after 10 years in Palestine as the leader of the Crusaders. During the spectacular sacking of the French castle at Hallus, the king is mortally wounded; Sir Robert Loxley (Douglas Hodge) is given the task of delivering the dead monarch's crown to his brother, John (Oscar Isaac), in London.

This gives the opportunistic Sir Godfrey (Mark Strong) the chance for which he's been waiting. Godfrey is secretly in league with the French king to invade England, and he and his men ambush Loxley in the forest. Robin and his closest friends, Will Scarlet (Scott Grimes), Little John (Kevin Durand) and Allan A'Dayle (Alan Doyle), are, meanwhile, making their own way home independently of the king's army, and intervene in the ambush, but not before Loxley has been mortally wounded; he charges Robin with delivering the crown to the king and his sword to his father in Nottingham. Having performed his duty, Robin travels north and discovers that Sir Walter Loxley (Max von Sydow), an elderly landowner, is so desperate to hold on to his estates that he's willing to accept Robin as his son; Robert's wife, Lady Marion Loxley (Cate Blanchett) isn't, initially, as welcoming. In this version of the story, Nottingham is presented not as a walled town, but as a small community of farmers living near Sir Walter's spacious dwelling. The Catholic church, and its new priest, Friar Tuck (Mark Addy), are seen as representing the interests of Rome as much as those of the English king.

This is just the beginning of a richly detailed movie that is at least as good as the Oscar-winning Gladiator, the first collaboration between Scott and Crowe. At a time when many film directors are so mesmerised by the video-game syndrome that they are clueless when it comes to staging action scenes (for example, Clash of the Titans), it's refreshing to see a film made by a director who knows what he's doing. The battle scenes -- the opening attack on the French castle, the climactic conflict by the sea -- are handled with artistry and skill, and the richly detailed story positively flies by.

Crowe is at his dogged best, ably supported by Blanchett, who plays a Marion not afraid to stand up to the men in her life or to wield a broadsword with the best of them. Von Sydow is touching as old Loxley, William Hurt gives a beautifully mellow performance as the noble Sir William Marshal and Mark Strong inherits the mantle of Basil Rathbone as an eminently hissable villain.