Robin Hood is one of the most beloved and discussed pop culture characters in the history of mankind.
But did the hero who stole from the rich to give to the poor actually ever exist?
In his recent research, director Otto Bathurst, who has just overseen the latest big-screen incarnation of “Robin Hood,” this time with Taron Egerton as the titular character, came to the conclusion that he didn’t.
In fact, Bathurst was inspired to oversee the film because he “realized that the versions of the Robin Hood story” he had watched from Hollywood and the British film industry presented “a very narrow view of the whole myth and legend.”
“This is a story that has been told for 400 or 600 years in various iterations and I wanted to know why this guy had become such a legend. Stealing some money from some rich people and giving it to some poor people doesn’t get you legendary status for 500 years.”
“I looked into it and realized that this was a guy that appeared wherever governments had been corrupting people. Or where religions had been oppressing people.”
“Or where world leaders and kings had been abusing their power. Or wherever there has been injustice. there has been a need and a craving for this Robin Hood story.”
“A call for people to put their heads above the parapet, sacrifice whatever and say no the injustice and stand up for truth. That for me is what the legend of Robin Hood is.”
Ultimately, that’s what also convinced Bathurst to bring Robin Hood to a brand new audience, too.
“Take a look at the 21st Century. We have more political corruption than ever. More wars being fought over the world, religions oppressing people across the continent. It feels like we need the story more now than ever.”
“I wanted to take this story, this myth, which by the way is untrue, he never really existed, it is a fairy tale, and dump it in the 21st Century and to inspire a modern audience to contemplate the notion of being a Robin Hood or how we need a Robin Hood.”
“To take a look at what is going on in the world. If one person decides to stand up for truth and make a difference, it has worked. We can all make a difference in the world.”
“I say it is not a true story, but there have been hundreds and hundreds of Robin Hoods of various sorts throughout history.”
“Over the last 20 years there have been plenty of Robin Hoods. Men and women from across the world who have had to stand up.”
“There are Robin Hoods who have stood up on a big, international scene. There are smaller Robin Hoods who have done it for their families and local communities.”
“To me anybody who is prepared to get out of the comfort of their own little bubble, stop looking after just themselves and play for the big picture and humanity and want to be true, that is a Robin Hood.”
“Robin Hood” is now in theaters.