Lionsgate has been courting various filmmakers over the past few weeks to find the right director for its high-profile Robin Hood: Origins project, and now a favorite has emerged in TV helmer Otto Bathurst.
Bathurst’s period gangster series Peaky Blinders, which has aired two seasons on BBC Two and was distributed in the U.S. by Netflix, has earned raves for its stylish cinematography and distinctive atmosphere. It’s said that Lionsgate has selected Bathurst for the gig, and it’s up to him to accept.
In the new Robin Hood take, a gritty reimagining that Deadline says has been likened to The Dark Knight, the famed character returns from the Crusades, only to discover that his beloved Sherwood Forest has been overrun with corrupt officials and villainous criminals. Forming a band of outlaws, Hood takes justice into his own hands. Joby Harold (Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur) penned the script.
Though Bathurst is also lined up to direct David Oyelowo and Luke Evans in Three Seconds, he’ll have to move fast to get ready for Robin Hood: Origins, as Lionsgate wants to get production started by early 2016 so as to beat competing projects at Disney, Warner Bros. and Sony into theaters.
The heroic outlaw of English folklore has been adapted for film many times since 1938’s The Adventures of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn, most famously by Disney in a 1973 animated pic that recast Hood as a wily fox. Lionsgate’s latest take seems most similar to Ridley Scott’s 2010 Robin Hood, though, cutting out any frills or silly touches (like felt hats) to center on Hood as a desperate outlaw fighting a corrupt system with a small group of freedom fighters. Unlike Scott’s take, it’s not expected that Robin Hood: Origins will feature lots of epic battle sequences that treat the character like a military general – this is a smaller, grittier, maybe even darker tale about what amounts to a historical vigilante hero.