Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett and Rachel Weisz were, in that order, the three main candidates in consideration to play Maid Marian. After Winslet turned the part down, Blanchett was offered the role. Since she accepted, Weisz didn't get the offer.
Russell Crowe originally decided to grow his hair long for the role of Robin Hood. He wore wigs in Body of Lies (2008) and State of Play (2009) to hide his long hair. But shortly before filming began, he decided to cut it short.
Universal Pictures acquired the rights to Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris's spec script in an aggressive bidding contest with other studios such as New Line Cinema, Warner Bros., Sony, New Regency Enterprises, and DreamWorks.
Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris's original script "Nottingham" turned the traditional story on its head by portraying the Sheriff of Nottingham in a more sympathetic light and Robin Hood as more of a villain. The script was extensively re-written by Brian Helgeland because director Ridley Scott wanted the Sheriff of Nottingham to be a more conflicted character. New rewrites were done by British playwright Paul Webb and later by Tom Stoppard, who reworked the story while the movie was already being filmed.
Stage actor who played Robin Hood on stage in London, England in 2008, appears as a French Lord alongside Mark Strong, with a beard and mustache. He later also appears clean-shaved as a Baron in the Magna Carta scene.