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Robin Hood’s Merry Men - Kevin Durand (Little John), Scott Grimes (Will Scarlet), Alan Doyle (Allan A’Dayle) – have a profoundly serious conversation about their merry roles alongside Russell Crowe in Ridley Scott’s epic tale.

It seems like the three of you are pretty merry.
Kevin Durand: We’ve been merry for over a decade – having drinks and singing songs together.

Scott Grimes: We’ve known each other for quite a while.

Alan Doyle: Kevin and Scottie did a movie with Russell in 1999 (Mystery, Alaska.)

Scott Grimes: Kevin was a big fan of Great Big Sea with Alan’s band and presented the music to Russell and me, then Russell contacted Alan to write songs and they’ve written a bunch of songs together and introduced us all.

Kevin Durand: And we’ve all been merry ever since.

So when this film came along – Russell thought it was a good idea to get you all together?
Kevin Durand: When you talk about chemistry amongst characters it already existed, so all we had to focus on was the technical aspect of shooting arrows and riding horses and we all had to learn accents.

Did you research the merry men or wasn’t it that significant to the roles?
Alan Doyle: One of the things we wanted to do with this picture is to redefine the roles of these guys and try to find and place them in a real context in history, or where they could have been. We try to explain why this iconic hero, Robin Hood, became the legend we now know. For our individual characters we took a step back and thought if we had lived in that time of King Richard what would have been likely that we would have done? What would Allan A’Dayle would have done in the Crusades? He would probably have played a lute. I think for the first time we tried to make the characters as real as we could make them in the era that we know they were from.

Kevin Durand: From the reading I had done, Little John was very different from the way he had been depicted in film and TV that I had seen in recent years. I asked Russell if he thought I should put on some weight and get a little more rotund but we really saw him more as a man of the forest - so I lifted more weights, learnt how to swing that staff and made him a Scotsman. I went to Scotland and learnt how to speak the accent properly. We all had preparation in our journeys so we could get to the set and really become these men. And also of course we are all devastatingly handsome.

What drew the Merry Men to Robin Hood?
Alan Doyle: I think they were drawn together in our story for the love of a good time and a break from what was a dark time in history. Their lives weren’t particularly great going back and forth in the Crusades and one of the things we try and provide is why the merry men are indeed merry. They are drawn together by song mostly and I think Robin Hood has chosen these men of arms because he likes their company.

Kevin Durand: It was like Russell chose his men of arms and we were fortunate to be those men.

What was it like off the set?
Kevin Durand: They were all trying to join the merry men club. If you like having a drink and singing a song then welcome to the club. Even Cate came and sang songs with us.

So Cate was one of the boys?
Alan Doyle: Yes lucky us – she was great.

You went to Australia to do some training?
Kevin Durand: Yeah we spent two weeks there. I was terrible at archery but that’s where these guys began their training in archery and we all started riding horses and getting into shape. We all got into great shape.

Alan Doyle: This was the thing for me – I play in a folk band.

This was your first movie? What was it like being on the set of a huge Ridley Scott movie?
Alan Doyle: It was terrifying some days. I always felt comfortable because I knew if I was with them I would be okay. These guys and Russell helped me along and they wanted me there because I could sing a few songs when Allan A’Dayle needed to. I guess they thought I could handle the rest of it.

Scott Grimes: He had never worked out and he would come to set – and say ‘what is this?’ I would say ‘that’s muscles’.

Alan Doyle: I’ve always sustained the right amount of folk musician health.

Published September 23, 2010

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Alan Doyle (Allan A'Dayle)

Kevin Durand (Little John)

Scott Grimes (Will Scarlet)

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