Cate Blanchett has been cast as Maid Marian in Sir Ridley Scott's upcoming Robin Hood film.

The as-yet-untitled movie - originally called Nottingham - will begin shooting in April, having been postponed last July over script concerns.

And according to Variety, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button star Blanchett has been cast as the "strong, independent woman" who meets her match in Robin of Loxley (Russell Crowe).

British actress Sienna Miller had been cast in the role and had spoken excitedly of the film, but left the production last year, with Crowe and Scott said to have decided an older actress would be better suited to the part.

Producer Brian Grazer, who will develop the film for Imagine Entertainment along with Sir Ridkey and his Scott Free company, said Blanchett and Crowe would make a fine onscreen pairing.

"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," he explained.

The Robin Hood film, originally scripted by Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris and since rewritten by Brian Helgeland, is said to have become "a Gladiator version of the Robin Hood legend".

Sir Ridley, who directed Crowe in Gladiator and has worked with him on five other occasions, revealed last year that the film is to be shown from the sheriff's point of view, returning to England as the late King Richard's right-hand man "to carry forward Richard's dream about England".

While Richard's brother, the unpopular new king John, arouses discontent through introducing taxation and arresting outlaws, the sheriff's attempt to instill order are threatened by the anarchical exploits of Robin Hood.

26/02/2009 10:09:17