Tag Archives: Kevin Costner

Iz is ‘the hooded Newman’ on World Book Day

IMG_2486Every day is pretty much World Book Day in our house as we all love a good book, especially Isabelle.

Iz was excited to learn that at school they were able to go dressed up as their favourite character from a book, off her own back (with absolutely no direction from me) she chose Robin Hood.

Heralding from not just Nottinghamshire, but just outside Sherwood Forest*, and having once worked at The World of Robin Hood tourist attraction and starred as the hooded man himself in my final project film at uni I was more than a little pleased.

She has a sword but we’ve wisely kept that at home and staff at school applauded her for  not dressing up as a princess as she rocked up to breakfast club where she joined Captain America, Luke Skywalker, Tigger, a Zombie Ballerina (?) and Paddington…not sure he was eating marmalade sandwiches though.

Iz likes her Disney’s Robin hood film, and she’s shown her affinity for the outlaw from the very beginning, from aping his actions to that all important first visit to Sherwood Forest.

Robin Hood is back!
Robin Hood is back!

She had no chance really to be fair, but with that that love of Robin Hood proudly passed down (I blame my mum) perhaps I’ll have to pen a sequel to my own film, perhaps this time something like Robin Hood’s Daughter?

She’d be joining that great pantheon of Robin Hoods from Errol Flynn to Kevin Costner, Sean Connery to Michael Praed and er Keith Chegwin. Find out more about past screen Robin Hoods in my article ‘Hood do you think you are?’.

Either way she’ll always be our Princess of Thieves.

*On holiday my dad always said that we lived in Sherwood Forest which always made it sound like we lived in the actual trees or something!

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The Dad Busters: Celebrating fathers on film

With today being Father’s Day I guess this could have been alternatively called A Good Day to Dad Hard.

This list is in no particular order but for me stand out as some of the key father moments on film. Of course there will be those that don’t get mentioned or that I hadn’t thought of , but that’s the point these are the ones that sprang to mind for me, these are the ones that – on some level – resonate with me as a dad.

Martin Brody in Jaws (1975)

He’s the Chief of Police on Amity Island (in Amity we say yard!) and there is a rogue killer shark on the loose…not bad for a man who hates water. You know what he faces his greatest fear (quite literally) after his eldest son nearly gets taken out by the Great White. His job may be to serve and protect the community but he also wants to do the same for his family.

Jaws is my favourite film of all time, it was made the year I was born and it’s always been a big part of my life, and Roy Scheider as Brody is fantastic as the former New York cop who has moved to the seaside for a quieter life and a better life for his family. In many ways he will see that he has put his family in danger, it is his fault that they have moved in danger’s way. Director Steven Spielberg often makes films with an absent father or films without fathers (take Jurassic Park, E.T., Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade for example) due to the break up of his own parents marriage when he was young but the dad plays a major part in this film.

Father wise it’s a small moment for why Jaws is chosen and its one of the film’s brief interludes where his youngest child, Sean Brody, is sat with his dad at the dinner table and his young son copies his each and every move. It’s poignant and full of sheer warmth and is expertly delivered by Spielberg who manages to eek such moments out of young actors. For me is shows how important those little moments are, how attune young kids are and how…no matter what else is going on in the world…they bring you back down to earth and show you what is really important and really matters.

Jor-El in Superman (1978)

You often hear of stories about people going back into burning buildings to save their children or people giving up their lives so that their children can have a chance of survival. It’s weird but until you become a mum or dad you kind of get it but you don’t really understand it, you will do anything to ensure that they are safe and secure, that they will survive.

This brings me to self sacrifice. Kal-El (AKA Superman) survived because of his dad, because he was looking out for him, because he and his wife sacrificed themselves so that they could survive.

Marlon Brando was paid an astounding (nay super) salary of $3.7 million and a percentage of the profits  for  12 days shooting but he was certainly worth every penny with the gravitas he has in his scenes, a gravitas he carries through to Earth when a young Clark Kent is listening to his words of wisdom, the words that he will live by, the words that turn him into a superman.

Our dads all impart words of wisdom to us, why might not always think it is at the time but over time we’ll revisit it and find us using some of those very same words ourselves. Also see Mufasa in The Lion King, another sacrifice and a dad with wise words imparted to his son that are echoed again later.

George Kirk in Star Trek (2009)

Before he was Thor but after he was Kim in Home and Away, Chris Hemsworth played Kirk Snr in the opening of the JJ Abrams reboot of Star Trek. Again like with Superman before it this is about sacrifices and although the father and son bond is fleeting – he gets to hear the cry of his new born son moments before his death, a death that saved countless others, including his wife and son.

George Kirk evacuating the crew of the USS Kelvin, including his wife and unborn son, as he sends it into the enemy craft is an amazing piece of cinema as his death is juxtaposed with the birth of his son. It’s a great opening to the film as initially we are only introduced to him as Kirk – so some of the new to Trek audience will think it is James T –  and it is also the birth of a legend, talk about an apt introduction.

It’s the strongest moment of the new Trek universe that has yet to be equalled, nevermind bettered in its execution.

Bryan Mills in Taken (2008)

When I was growing up Brian Mills was a catalogue, now he’s a kick-ass former special ops dad in a leather jacket played by Liam Neeson who acts as a sometime bodyguard for Holly Valance. Neeson himself thought the film to be no more than a straight to video thriller but the central crux of the story, his daughters kidnap into a people trafficking ring in France, and particularly the trailer that features the now famous “I have a certain set of skills….I will find you and I will kill you” dialogue over the phone as he speaks to his daughter’s kidnappers sent it into the stratosphere. It’s the pre-kidnap scene where he is telling his daughter to remain calm, to remember details, to hide under the bed…and to prepare to be taken that is the stand out moment for me.

It really touched a primeval nerve that we would do anything and go anywhere to save our sons or daughters or to avenge what has been done to them. He’s the Jack Bauer and the Paul Kersey in all of us, doing whatever and taking out whoever it takes to get the job done. The same could be also said of Russell Crowe in Gladiator after the murder of his wife and son, although he dies at the end his mission is accomplished and he gets want he wants, to be with his wife and son in the afterlife.

This revenge/avenging role is also used to great effect by Mel Gibson in practically everything where he is a wronged dad – see The Patriot, Ransom and Edge of Darkness for details.

Michael Newman in Click (2006)

Like most of Adam Sandler’s films this has plenty of infantile moments, such as repeatedly farting in David Hasselhoff’s face but this It’s A Wonderful Life-esque comedy also has its fair share of well-handled drama. Christopher Walken hands Sandler’s character a TV remote control that can control life itself, pausing or fast forwarding through life…the pefect tool for the over-worked architect fighting for promotion.

It’s a genuine surprise to find such a funny and touching film that has a real emotional core and an important message about spending time with your family taking precedent over your job. Life is short and it can’t be repeated and moments can’t be recaptured, essential to this are great performances by Henry Winkler as Sandler’s dad and with Sandler himself as he grows older, which culminates in his own moving death scene in the pouring rain trying to conect with his own grown up son outside the hospital. It’s this moment that’s my highlight.

The idea isn’t a new one, you’ve only got to look as far as A Christmas Carol and The Family Man for that, but its mix of humour and heart coupled with its contemporary setting and theme of work/life balance shows us it is perhaps more relevant than it ever was.

More than notable mentions also go out to the “I am your father!” scene in The Empire Strikes Back, the baseball game scene where Kevin Costner ‘meets’ his dad in his former cornfield come baseball diamond in Field of Dreams, the interplay of Henry Jones Jr and Sr in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the moving penultimate scene in the original version of The Omen where Robert Thorn hesitates in killing his adoptive son who just so happens to be the son of the Devil, and the Chariots of Fire-inspired scene onwards of Clark W. Griswold in National Lampoon’s Vacation. Perhaps I’ll return to these dads in more detail next year.

Time travelling Robin Hood goes ‘Back to the Future’ in new feature film script

You wait for one Robin Hood script and then two come along at once. It happened back in 1991 with Kevin Costner pitted against Patrick Bergin’s version of the hooded man and it could be happening again if budding script writer, Dean Newman, from Westcliff-on-Sea, has anything to do with it.

Let the crusade begin!

The 34 year old, originally from only a few miles from Sherwood Forest and The Major Oak, the fabled outlaw’s hideout, has written a new action/adventure script that sees Robin Hood, Will Scarlet and Sir Guy of Gisbourne transported to present day Nottingham to find the scattered pieces of The Silver Arrow in a quest that could alter Robin Hood’s past and all of our futures.

Dean is hoping that his script will be on target and send the world a quiver for a tale of Robin Hood that has never been told before. He said: “My take on the legend is very different from that of Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe’s film as my script does for Robin Hood what Pirates of the Caribbean did for pirate films. There may have been plenty of Robin Hood films before, but never one like this where much of the action takes place in the present day.”

He added: “I also wanted to bring Robin Hood back home, quite literally, so I’ve got key action scenes that take in a whistlestop tour of Nottinghamshire including the Castle, the Caves and a motorbike and car chase across the City, as well as a few other surprises and new twists on the legend in Lincoln Green. It’s all Boy’s Own Adventure stuff and would make an amazing summer blockbuster to remember.”

Robin Hood is back!

“I wanted it to be the first Robin Hood film to be primarily shot in Nottinghamshire, in the actual locations that, like The Major Oak and the Castle that are an integral part of the legend. If the script gets picked up I guess you could call it a cinematic postcard to Nottinghamshire and my love of Robin Hood.”

However, this isn’t Dean’s first brush with Robin of Loxley, as he used to work at The World of Robin Hood, a popular tourist attraction which was created out of many of the film sets from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

A shorter version of Dean’s proposed action epic was made as his final project film whilst at University, which included everything from a swordfight on the steps of Nottingham Castle to location filming in Sherwood Forest and night time filming with the former Kevin Costner sets, not bad for a 30 minute film with a budget of only a few hundred pounds! Being on such a limited budget Dean even took on multiple roles including Producer, Director and even stepping in front of the camera as Robin Hood, which is something he obviously won’t be expecting to do if his new version of the story makes it to the big screen.

Dean commented: “To me, Robin Hood is the world’s first action hero and in the world of James Bond and Batman reboots I wanted to bring him and his exploits back for a whole new generation. Ridley Scott’s version may be the grittier one but I’m aiming more for a rollicking Raiders of the Lost Ark meets The Rock style adventure with plenty of action, humour and some big surprises as well. It really is quite breathless and I believe my vision is perfect for the big screen treatment.”

Having copyrighted his material, Dean is now actively contacting agents and studios in Hollywood hoping that his Robin Hood’s aim will be strong and true and hit the target, and with any luck bring Robin Hood back to the future.

Hood do you think you are?

We all know that Kevin Costner and Errol Flynn donned tights and confounding archery trickery in the forests of Sherwood but Dean Newman packs a quiver full of people who have also brought the world’s most famous outlaw to life.

Daffy Duck

As featured in Robin Hood Daffy… (1958)

Following the same well drawn lines as his other alter ego Duck Dodgers, Daffy Duck, heads to Sherwood with fine support from Porky Pig as Friar Tuck. Directed by animation legend, Chuck Jones.

 

Rocket Robin Hood

As featured in Rocket Robin Hood… (1968)

The series was high concept to say the least: in the year 3000, a descendant of the original Robin Hood reforms the Merry Men, complete with namesakes of the originals, to combat a new Prince John, despotic ruler of the National Outer space Terrestrial Territories, and the Sheriff of N.O.T.T.(National Outer-Space Terrestrial Territories).

While the bow and arrow was still Robin’s weapon of choice, almost everything else was updated. He now had rayguns, electro-quarter staves and rocket ships at his disposal…and jet-packs! Think Space Ghost style animation meets the original animated Spiderman.

Keith Chegwin

As featured in Robin Hood Junior… (1975)

Cheggers plays pop-ular action folk hero in his Children’s Film Foundation classic (think the Robin Hood version of Bugsy Malone minus those custard pie guns and all that singing). A fantastically fun romp that deserves to be released on DVD with Keith Chegwin commentary!

Sean Connery

As featured in Robin and Marian… (1976)

Talking of Bond…one of the few Robin Hood’s to die on screen and indeed to show him in his twilight years. Slower paced and had a fantastic Guy of Gisbourne in the shape of Robert Shaw. Acting, of course, runs in the family and Jason got to step up to the plate in the third series of Robin of Sherwood as Robert of Huntingdon.

 

John Cleese

As featured in Time Bandits… (1981)

There’s more than a bonkers feel to this Terry Gilliam film fest with Python face as perhaps the oddest choice big screen aloof Hood ever, in charge of some perhaps too Merry Men.

Michael Praed

As featured in Robin of Sherwood… (1984 – 1986)

For me this was as much a part of early 80s Saturday teatime as Doctor Who. Still looks great nearly 30 years later and features a fantastic turn from Ray Winstone as the screens greatest ever Will Scarlet. Had a brilliant two-part opener that fused together would have made one of the best Robin Hood films ever! Famously full of mysticism, it was the first Robin Hood to take in the notion of the green man and introduce us to Herne the Hunter. It was also the first to introduce a Saracen character from the Crusades that has now – with Prince of Thieves and the recent BBC TV series – become the norm.

Praed bowed out after series two, succumbing to the Sheriff and his men, or in TV terms, moved to America to only be shot at his own wedding in Dynasty, surely the Hood equivalent of George Lazenby jacking in Bond after one film. Interesting fact: Neil Morrissey, from Men Behaving Badly and Boon, almost got to play the Hooded Man.

Patrick Stewart

As featured in Star Trek: The Next Generation… (1987 – 1994)

It’s in one of those dastardly Q moments that expertly lampoons the look and feel of Flynn’s Adventures of Robin Hood, albeit with a Klingon and an android, it also some brilliant knowing dialogue. Stewart also parodied the Sean Connery role in Prince of Thieves, complete with strong Scottish accent, at the close of Men in Tights.

Patrick Bergin

As featured in Robin Hood… (1991)

The ‘other’ Robin Hood of 1991, this Irishman played Robin Hood with a tache in what was released as a TV movie in America but theatrically over here in Blightly. Billed as gritty, it certainly rhymed with that, as it added elements into the mix that were just downright odd/dull. Uma Thurman made an interesting Maid Marian however. Not a lot really happens.

Cary Elwes

As featured in Robin Hood: Men in Tights… (1993)

“Unlike other Robin Hoods I speak with an English accent.” Cary Elwes showed he was good with a blade in The Princess Bride and actually would have made an impressive bonafide Hooded Man. Was actually born in England, which is something of a rarity for big screen Robin Hoods in Hollywood. Certainly not Mel Brook’s greatest film ever but has aged well and still manages to raise more than a titter.

Rik Mayall

As featured in Blackadder: Back and Forth… (1999)

One of those oh so special programmes produced for the millennium, indeed it was produced to be shown at The Dome, which generally means they miss the mark more than they hit with a parade of famous people trying to be oh so funny, also see Comic Relief specials etc, in the days before Extras. Blackadder’s very own Lord Flash heart managed to stuff himself in his tights and brought along Kate Moss as Maid Marian. Beware, not as good as the original series. Close, but no cigar, Darling.

Keira Knightley

As featured in Princess of Thieves (did you see what they did there)… (2001)

Before playing with Pirates this young moppet played Robin Hood’s daughter in this little seen Disney TV movie which also saw Malcolm McDowell as the scowling Sheriff. Directed by Peter Hewitt, who helmed both Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey and The Borrowers.