In Ridley Scott’s new take on the Robin Hood legend, Robin’s ‘Merry Men’ are portrayed by Kevin Durant (Lost, X-Men Origins: Wolverine) as Little John, Scott Grimes (ER, Band of Brothers) as Will Scarlet and Alan Doyle (lead singer of Great Big Sea) as Allan A’Dayle.
The three actors got together at the press conference for the movie and spoke of their roles and the unique way Ridley Scott directs a movie.
How did you get involved with Robin Hood?
Alan Doyle Russell called me about two years ago, and said, ‘Can you play the lute?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, probably.’ He said, ‘Would you like to come to LA to read for a part?’ I was like, ‘For what? The part of a lute player?’ He said, ‘Yeah, we’re doing Robin Hood and we want someone to play Allen A’Dyale.’ This was the most famous troubadour in literary history. So I got a lute, came down and did it and a while later I was getting off a plane and I walking onto the set of a Ridley Scott movie.
Where did you find the origins for your characters? Were they all in the script or did you have to do research?
Kevin Durant I had done quite a bit of reading about Little John, who I had found had been depicted like not the sharpest tool in the shed, but maybe the biggest one. I love the fact that he was the leader of men in a lot different things that I had read. He was so happy and honored to be Robin’s man and follow him. He was the kind of fellow that was a great warrior.
Scott Grimes And that’s what I loved about the way Kevy did it too. It’s not the [dumb] guy who can beat somebody up. You didn’t play that at all, and I enjoyed it.
There’s also a dynamic too, this kind of Three Stooges kind of thing. The three guys are an Irishman, Scotsman and Welshman. It was Russell and Ridley’s idea; it gives them something to fight about. As close as they are, they are like brothers, they fight all the time.
There have been a lot of different versions of the Robin Hood legend – have you watched any of them?
Scott Grimes I’ve seen the Errol Flynn and Kevin Costner versions of Robin Hood. No comparison, they are just completely different kinds of movies. I enjoyed the Kevin Costner one, thought it was a nice Nineties Hollywood movie.
Alan Doyle This is more of an origins kind of film; it was all fresh and new for all of us. We weren’t trying to emanate anything other than what we were there to do.
Scott, you were in Crimson Tide, so you’ve worked with both Scott brothers. What’s the difference between Tony and Ridley?
Scott GrimesThis was my introduction to Tony Scott. I walked in to do Crimson Tide and the first thing he does is drive by in his car and he points at me and he says, ‘He needs a haircut.’ I go in and the shave my head and I walk onto this giant submarine set and he used this big bullhorn to tell you stuff, and I hear, ‘Grimes, you’re not going to get laid for a year with that haircut.’
So Tony’s a bit more outspoken and Ridley’s very quiet and let’s you kind of do your job. They are similar in the way that they’re both fabulous directors, visually they’re incredible. Just because I had more to do with Ridley I liked the way he works with actors because we had to act in this, I didn’t really have to act too much in Crimson Tide.
Ridley uses multiple cameras when he shoots. Did that mean you didn’t know when he was shooting if you were in a close-up or in the background?
Kevin Durant The first scene that we did I heard there were 11 cameras set up and it was this big epic siege. You really didn’t know where the cameras were, which in a way some people might get nervous about that, but if you work the way that we did, we were just constantly immersed in our characters so you always had to be present, always on.
Scott GrimesIf you messed up you were messing up somebody else’s shot.
Kevin Durant Yeah, so I thought it was really freeing, you always had to be present and living in the moment.
Alan Doyle This is the only movie I’ve ever done. I was really worried about staring at the camera or doing something really amateur and dumb every day and (the multiple cameras) made it so easy to live in that world. It was like, ‘Try to look scared,’ well there were 800 horses riding at my head, and dudes on fire running up and down next to me. It felt like there were cameras everywhere but cameras nowhere. You just lived in it. It made it easy for a dude like me.
Ridley is famous for over-shooting and having lots of added scenes that don’t make it into the movie.
Scott Grimes A quarter of the way through filming this movie Russell said Ridley had just cut an hour and 30 minutes of it, so we knew when we were filming there were going to be scenes taken out.
Alan Doyle I like to think that the film is named after a different character, but it’s really a ‘Merry Men’ movie!