By EW Staff
Updated April 23, 2010 at 04:00 AM EDT
David Appleby

STARRING Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett
WRITTEN BY Brian Helgeland
DIRECTED BY Ridley Scott

Errol Flynn played him as a swashbuckling swordsman in green tights. Sean Connery portrayed him as a middle-aged semiretiree in love with a nun. Kevin Costner turned the character into an action figure with an American accent. And now Russell Crowe presents his interpretation of the beloved archer from 13th-century English folklore: Robin Hood as a disgruntled earl so sick and tired of King John’s high taxes, he throws a Tea Party in Sherwood Forest. You betcha!

Okay, not quite — but close. ”England was bankrupt, so King John increased the taxes manyfold,” says director Ridley Scott, giving the historical context for his PG-13 reboot of the classic tale. ”Also, the crown had these ridiculous restrictions on hunting. You couldn’t touch a deer. You could barely kill a rabbit. They even told you what kind of wood you could gather to burn.” Enter Crowe’s Robin Longstride, fresh from the Crusades, who battles for fair treatment of the serfs and wins the heart of a pre-nunnery Lady Marion (Cate Blanchett). ”The guy’s gone all the way to Palestine and back,” says Crowe of his character. ”He’s experienced all these different cultures and picked up quite a lot of knowledge on his way. And now he goes back to England for the first time in 35 years to find out who he is and where he comes from, only he gets tangled up in these other things.”