Sir Ridley Scott's new Robin Hood film may take years to reach the screen after production was halted indefinitely.

Nottingham, the revisionist story of the outlaw had been due to begin filming in mid-August but now may be delayed until spring 2009, according to trade newspaper the Hollywood Reporter.

It was revealed last month that Sienna Miller is to play Maid Marian in the Universal Pictures production while Russell Crowe will star as the Sheriff.

However, a combination of script concerns, the looming potential for an actors' strike and location problems have led Universal to shut down production, it has been confirmed.

A Universal statement cited the "cloud of the SAG strike" - the SAG (Screen Actors' Guild) has failed to reach a contract agreement with studio chiefs - as a major factor in the film's postponement.

"The current version of the screenplay," the statement continued, "is not yet where the studio and the filmmakers want it to be in terms of realising the full value of the story."

And it added: "The film's forest locations need to be green," which raises the possibility that even if industrial action in Hollywood was avoided and the script issues addressed, shooting the film would still be delayed.

Sir Ridley revealed in February 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 instil order are threatened by the anarchical exploits of Robin Hood.

Despite the current delay, the Universal statement confirmed that Imagine studios, Sir Ridley and Crowe all remain committed to the project.

28/07/2008 11:51:05