The word from the forests of Nottingham is that there’s a new sheriff rewriting Russell Crowe’s dialogue.

I’m told that Tom Stoppard, the genius playwright (Rock N Roll, Coast of Utopia, etc) and actual screenwriter of “Shakespeare in Love” among other films, has been reworking Ridley Scott’s “Robin Hood” from top to bottom.

2009 state of play wallpaper 0011 RUSSELL CROWES ROBIN HOOD GOES TO REWRITE AGAIN

The “Robin Hood” screenplay is becoming a legend in its own right at this pace, with several versions already in existence. And paid for with millions. But the most recent script –the one they were shooting from–was by Brian Helgeland. He’s not chopped liver, and probably added a lot of merriment to the scenario.

Alas, now it’s Stoppard’s turn to fine tune what Helgeland put to paper–or screen, as it were. There’s a nice irony here, too: Stoppard, who is Czech born, attended school in Nottingham as a lad. He’s also 75 years old this year. Who’d know better than he what went on there so many years ago?

Yes, “Robin Hood” has cost a fortune already and won’t be finished shooting until August. By the time we see it, the recession may be over and Yankee seats could be affordable. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be great. Scott is too smart to let “Robin Hood” become “Waterworld.”’ And besides, my spies say the cast–including Cate Blanchett, William Hurt, and Vanessa Redgrave–is just thrilled to be getting Stoppardian verbiage.

Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. He wrote the Intelligencer column for NY Magazine in the mid 90s, reporting on the OJ Simpson trial, as well as for the real Parade magazine (when it was owned by Conde Nast), and has written for the New York Observer, Details, Vogue, Spin, the New York Times, NY Post, Washington Post, and NY Daily News among many publications. He is the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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