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Russell Crowe to play Robin Hood with East Midlands accent

Russell Crowe has undergone intensive voice training to be the first actor to play Robin Hood with an authentic East Midlands accent.

Crowe, a New Zealand-born Australian, will be pronouncing Nottingham as 'Noddinham' after the director Ridley Scott insisted that his film sounds as well as looks accurate.

There have been more than 100 on screen depictions of the outlaw of Sherwood Forest – who steals from the rich and gives to the poor – including Kevin Costner with a heavy American accent in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves in 1991 and the plummy English accented Errol Flynn when he starred as the hero in 1938.

Scott, the British film director behind Bladerunner, most famously joined forces with Crowe to make Gladiator, which was released in 2000.

He has hired two voice coaches for his latest venture: Judy Dickerson and Andrew Jack, an Englishman who worked with other cast members, such as Cate Blanchett, who plays Maid Marian.

Sienna Miller was originally cast as Maid Marian, but she left the film for undisclosed reasons and was replaced by Blanchett.

The film has suffered several setbacks including moving the set halfway through filming after executives realised that the leaves in Sherwood Forest would turn brown.

The script has also undergone several rewrites, and an initial plan to cast the Sheriff of Nottingham as the hero and Robin as a morally ambiguous vigilante were dropped.

The long awaited film – which comes out in May – promises to be a bloodier recreation of 12th-century Britain than previous versions.

A new exhibition of Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood will go on show at Nottingham Castle from Tuesday 23rd March 2010, until the end of October.

© Telegraph.co.uk