For Russell Crowe, picking up a bow and arrow for “Robin Hood” was easy – it was everything else that wore him down.
“I’m in a continuous death battle with my own body,” he said laughing to Access Hollywood’s Maria Menounos at the film’s junket in LA on Friday. “I injured myself a lot on ‘Gladiator.’ I actually injured myself on a silly little ice hockey movie called ‘Mystery, Alaska,’ because I’d never skated… I’ve got wrist injuries and hand injuries from doing so much boxing [in ‘Cinderella Man’]. I’ve got stuff all over the place.”
However, he told Maria that stepping into the legendary role of the archer who robbed from the rich and gave to the poor was rejuvenating.
“I pushed myself really hard for ‘Robin Hood,’” he said. “You wake up in the morning and you feel 20 years younger.”
In the film, which finds Russell pairing for a fifth time with “Gladiator” director Ridley Scott, the star said his hero’s journey is different from many of the multiple “Robin Hood” adaptations.
“Most Robin Hood films end with King Richard riding in and saving the day,” the actor said, explaining that he found the period between King Richard’s death and the signing of the Magna Carta by King John more interesting – and had pushed the film’s time period accordingly.
“The 100-year history of cinema of Robin Hood had gotten so far away from the reality of the real Robin Hood story,” he added. “We tried to get back to the core values and push it off into the metaphorical… what was his end game? Was there a greater political purpose?”
Russell added that the film’s themes may have gone over the heads of his two young sons, who he attempted to treat to a screening.
“I thought, I’ll take them to this as the first one of my films they’ll see,” he said. “They were so excited, and they got to the screening room and were going crazy.”
Too crazy, Russell noted – “My two little jet-lagged meteorites burned themselves to a crisp.”
“Five minutes into the film, my oldest boy, Charlie, is like, ‘Oh Dad, can we go home now?’ And my little one keeps calling out, ‘Dad, when are you going to get a horse?’” he said. “After an amount of time, I got the horse, and my little one goes, ‘Oh good, Dad, you got the horse. Can we go home now? I just take it as one of those humbling moments you deal with all the time as a parent.”
However, Russell’s not giving up on his kids enjoying his films just yet.
“Sooner or later, we’ll try again,” he said.