Actress joins Russell Crowe in Universal film

Cate Blanchett will play Maid Marian alongside Russell Crowe’s Robin Hood in the Ridley Scott-directed adventure pic for Universal Pictures.

The film, which had been called “Nottingham” but is undergoing a title change, begins production in early April.

Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer is producing with Scott and his Scott Free banner.

The drama, originally scripted by Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris and then rewritten by Brian Helgeland, has evolved into a “Gladiator” version of the Robin Hood legend. Crowe starred in that film and Scott directed it.

The film will be shot on a $130 million budget, benefiting from favorable exchange rates and tax credits that come from shooting in London. Scott will be aiming for a PG-13 rating.

Crowe plays Robin of Loxley in an original story that hews close to historical facts of the period. Abandoned as a child, he finds community with the common people of Nottingham. Robin’s abandonment and trust issues hamper his ability to fall in love. He meets his match in Marian, a strong, independent woman.

Sienna Miller was at one time attached to play the role, but exited late last year.

Grazer said Blanchett was a strong match for Crowe.

“They are both highly accomplished dramatic actors who are taken seriously playing rich characters in period pieces, but each has the ability to show you fun,” Grazer said.

Blanchett was last seen in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and teamed with George Clooney to provide the lead voices in the Wes Anderson-directed animated “Fantastic Mr. Fox.”

Blanchett is repped by CAA.

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