EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate is looking to beat its rival Robin Hood projects to the punch by mining up-and-coming talent from across the pond for its Robin Hood: Origins. Rising Brit actor Taron Egerton is on the mini-major’s shortlist to head into Sherwood Forest, along with fellow Brit Jack Huston and Irish-American actor Jack Reynor. The Maze Runner‘s Dylan O’Brian is also believed to be under consideration. Scheduling is an issue for some of these hot young thesps. For example Egerton, who came to prominence with a career-making turn in Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret Service, could have availability issues if a sequel to Kingsman, which grossed over $400 million worldwide, gets its expected greenlight from Fox.
Deadline understands that Reynor had a successful session with director Otto Bathurst, the only actor who did that, and that perhaps gives him a slight advantage on the likes of Hoult and Huston, though no decisions have been made. All of the above names would bring plenty — and different — strengths to the role.
Peaky Blinders‘ Bathurst is directing Lionsgate’s gritty, revisionist take on the legend. Joby Harold, the scribe who wrote Knights Of The Roundtable: King Arthur with Guy Ritchie directing Charlie Hunnam, has conjured up the origins story that has been likened to The Dark Knight. Here, Robin Hood returns from fighting in The Crusades and finds that Sherwood Forest is rife with corruption and evil. He forms a band of outlaws and they take matters into their own hands. The picture is being produced by Appian Way’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson, and Safe House’s Harold and Tory Tunnell and Basil Iwanyk.
There are other Robin Hood projects also set up around town. Disney has the Brandon Barker spec Nottingham & Hood, which is said to be in the vein of Pirates Of The Caribbean and Enchanted. The Picture Company’s Alex Heineman and Andrew Rona are producing. Sony last fall bought a Robin Hood pitch for $1 million from Cory Goodman and Jeremy Lott with Aperture’s Adam Goldworm executive producing. That project, Hood, has been described as Fast And Furious meets Mission: Impossible. Warner Bros has also quietly put one of its own Robin Hood projects into development, scripted by Gangster Squad and Aquaman scribe Will Beall and produced by The Lego Movie‘s Dan Lin and John Zaozirny.
With the quartet of projects vying to get to the start post, Lionsgate is doing everything it can to get out of the gates first. It is aiming to start production in the first quarter of 2016. The last time there were rival Robin Hood projects was in 1991, when the Kevin Costner-starrer Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves went against the Patrick Bergin-Uma Thurman Robin Hood and wiped the floor with it despite being released a month later.