David Harewood as the re-imagined Friar Tuck in BBC's Robin Hood. Photo copyright of Tiger Aspect
Continuing the series of Q & A’s with the stars of Robin Hood, season three of which is currently airing on BBC America. This time around, David Harwood chats about life in Sherwood Forest as Friar Tuck.
What do you think of this modern version of your character, Friar Tuck?
DAVID HAREWOOD - Creating a modern, strong Tuck for a 21st-century audience is a terrific opportunity and a real challenge, because many of us already have a picture of a roly-poly monk who loves his food and drink. But the new Tuck’s heart and mind are elsewhere. He’s a warrior poet, a man of vision and imagination, who has a very hands-on approach when it comes to justice and freedom and, believe me, you want him on your side!
I actually laughed at first and thought it was ridiculous! But they sent me that character breakdown and it was very different from what I expected. It was a welcome change and something I really felt was going to be exciting. Funnily enough, when I first saw Robin Hood, when it started three years ago, I thought they’d missed a trick and that they should have had a black character in it. It turns out that I am the black character, so I think it adds a modern dimension to it as well. I think viewers will really take to it…at least I hope they will.
Tuck is very much is own person. Many times he will go against Robin (Jonas Armstrong), argue with him, talk him into doing things he doesn’t want to do. I think he’s going to be a challenge to the whole group.
What do you think Tuck wants from Robin Hood?
DH - He wants England to be a place of hope, but he comes back to find that the people are slightly broken, much like they are now with the credit crunch! The people need a hero, and that’s what Tuck very much wants – to stand behind a symbol of good. If he did have an ulterior motive, I think it would be to make the country a republic. He’s not necessarily in love with the country at all. He’s very much for the people, by the people and, if it was up to him, he’d get rid of the monarchy and make it a republic. He wants the people to govern and be happy.
What type of training did you do for this role?
DH - My stunt double was a kind of capoeira champion, and there’s quite a lot of martial arts that my character does later on in the series which was really, really fun to do and very physical. It was a very enjoyable good romp. The guys were great fun, it was an amazing setting and the cast and crew were great. The series is fantastic, action-packed and it has something in it for the ladies as well as the guys; it’s just a very entertaining show. There’s a lot of comedy, but the ending is extremely moving.
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