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As first noted here a few weeks back, ye olde stalled Robin Hood epic Nottingham is all but dead in the water now at Universal, where Ridley Scott, Russell Crowe and Sienna Miller were locked in to start shooting this month before a flurry of setbacks delayed it indefinitely. As presumed, labor woes and casting haggles were indeed among the pitfalls, but you have to know that an implosion of this magnitude can't simply stop there — as described after the jump, Crowe's weight, Scott's attention span, script haggles and other factors also conspired to keep Hollywood out of the forest this time around.Keep in mind this is the same script Universal bought more than a year ago for seven figures, piling on none-too-cheap rewrites by Brian Helgeland and now, according to Patrick Goldstein, British playwright Paul Webb. But that's the least of his problems, said Uni chair Marc Shmuger:

The original script had enormous appeal because it had what Hollywood craves—a great part for a big movie star. But it wasn't exactly the kind of character Scott imagined for his vision of Sherwood Forest. "The script had the sheriff of Nottingham as a CSI-style forensics investigator, set in medieval times," Shmuger explains. "It was really well written, but Ridley's interest took him in a different direction." ... The delay could help on one front. Crowe, who has looked, shall we say, like he's been feasting on the king's venison in recent films, needs to lose some weight before he's ready to play such an athletic part. (After all, he's not playing Friar Tuck in this movie.) As encouragement, the production team plans to send Joe Abunassar, a top Las Vegas-based trainer who works with NBA stars, to Australia to get Crowe into fighting shape.

So old-fashioned! Everyone knows the Seth Rogen Stretch-and-Retch is the wave of the future. In any event, Shmuger confirms the studio still wants Nottingham, but all signs point to a mid- to late-2009 shoot for a 2010 release, which we take to mean that the U and Nottingham producer Brian Grazer should default to Ron Howard by the time you finish reading this. Alas, Ridley, you were close.