Kane Headley-Cummings plays Stokey in the recent Robin Hood movie. He gives his UK
perspective on the legendary tale and its similarities and differences about
the cultures of the U.S. and the UK.
ATM: Being from the
UK, does Robin Hood take on a different atmospheric meaning or feeling for you
than in American?
Kane: I was born and raised in London Town. I spent
my school break summer holidays in the countryside. Robin Hood has been
one of those legendary stories that always lives on and is retold – Robin was
the ‘giver’ who lived in the Nottinghamshire forests. He was the Hero. I read
books on Robin Hood as a child and always felt like he made stealing seem ok as
it was for a worthy cause! He gave to those who needed it but I was always left
wondering how can that be right to steal! I even had my own bow as a child!
Although I only had plastic arrows!
Robin Hood is one of those very English
folklore stories that focuses on the working classes in England and
highlights the divisions that the class system brings about.
The story has a historical connection
to the English and I think there is more of a ‘close to home’
feeling. Robin Hood is a mixture of rebellion and conservatism.
England has evolved but the class system is still prevalent to some degree
today. We are living it. My American friends seem very fascinated by the great
History of England and seem to love the English accent! So I am sure they love
a bit of old English Robin Hood!
How does an insubordinate get to be a hero? If Robin Hood was not a
criminal, then what would the effect be? How would this have changed your
perspective on as a child?
Kane: The insubordinate type is normally frowned upon, but in Robin’s case he was seen as the challenger with integrity. A rebel with a cause. Everyone loves the ‘underdog’. Robin was the classic dark horse. He was strong in character, and willful. He risked everything for the people. Selfless acts. If Robin had not been a criminal, his acts may have been met with suspicion. There is the age-old theory that nothing is for free. He may have been seen only as the ‘goody two shoes’ and no one likes the goody two shoes, they are seen as never doing any wrong. There is a difference between doing good and the so-called perfect goody two shoes. The goody two shoes often make people self-project and feel insecure that they are not doing ‘enough’ or their bit in society to help the less fortunate. So, by him being a criminal doing good by the people, makes him into this likable rogue and people don’t feel threatened. He is the man with no agenda. The hero.
I don’t think Robin would have caught my attention
as a child if he had just been a man that was doing a good thing. I was raised
to believe that all men should do good and do the right thing. It was a trait
all men should process naturally. Robin caught my attention as the rebel with a
cause because he was unhappy with the injustice of the powers that be, and I
can relate to that. He was brave enough to challenge the system.
ATM: Explain how
you would try to embody Robin Hood as a kid with plastic bows.
Kane: I was a very curious child growing up and very
active. I loved the forest. That was my playground. When I went back to London
after the summer holidays, even though the city had its own charms, I felt like
I had lost some of that wild freedom. I had a fascination with action hero’s
and I loved dressing up in costumes. It felt like a form of escapism. I felt
strong and a form of responsibility with my plastic arrows!
Do you agree with the social class system? How would society be without
a social class system? What traits would this diffuse and what new life would
Kane: To keep things simple and without
getting too deep, I have very contrived feelings about the class system. I feel
that the system is highly flawed. I am very aware of sensitivities relating to
the system and politics. I do believe that the world would be a better place if
everyone were equal. The world is governed by greed and deceit.
ATM: What are your
comments on the American accent? Do you romanticize how Americans become
infatuated with the English accent?
Kane: The general American accent is
like a pared down, or looser version of the English language. Victorian English
is still quite present in the older generation in England. The English youth of
today are lazy with grammar and their language is often littered with ‘street
talk’. Americans always comment that I speak ‘proper English’, as they put it.
It always makes me chuckle. I have always found the Appalachian dialect
fascinating, it is like a real lazy accent. I think that Americans are
infatuated with British culture in general. There seems to be a lot of interest
in the Royal weddings and the Queen of England. I think Americans think the
British accent is more intelligent. That the accent is attractive. They seem to
be fond of the posh British accent that is associated with the middle- and
upper-class Britain. World War II created an eternal bond between America and
England. I hear a lot of Americans saying America lacks a history due to the
fact it’s still a young country. I think the history of England is like an
eternal lure. The elixir of being quintessentially English continues to reign
ATM: Explain your
character and principles the character possesses from the lines to the scene.
K: My character is Stoker, who is a minor in the
Community, along with the people. He is outgoing, the lad type, but also a
hardworking man. He is there for the people and acts up when the Tax
man is busy stealing their hard-earned money from them. He is one of the
strong men that helps give hope to the people to fight for
their rights, and back up Robin and Will. I had fun playing this
character and I am an avid believer in equal opportunities for the
elements are derived from this early 21st Century film adaptation of Robin
Kane: This new film version of Robin
Hood is edgy, cool and urban. It really focuses on a strong political
theme. I love the feel to it, the modern urban nature makes it relatable to the
modern audience, as opposed to the original films that were more traditional to
the original story. Robin Hood is a legendary heroic outlaw
originally depicted in English folklore…a do-gooder that can kind
of be excused for his crimes! This Robin Hood was able to flow
freely from politics to an engaging love affair between Robin & Marian.
Robin is a highly skilled swordsman and archer, so we see a lot of action and
intense scenes. The costumes are very futuristic and out there. This film
version has a modern twist and has relatable aspects of the modern conflict
that we see today on the news. We see how Rob gives back to the poor after he
steals back what the people see as rightly theirs. The same old struggle of the
rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. This whole theory has been a
constant throughout history to current times. You could say Robin Hood promotes
a form of socialism.
ATM: Does the love between Robin and
Marian mirror how you express yourself through your own relationships?
Kane: I like to think that I am gentleman, a man of
manners and strong etiquette. I like to hold the doors open for a women and
seat her at a table. I always stand when a woman enters the room. I am a man
who is willing to stand up for his lady, like the knight in shining armor. I do
believe man and woman should be equal, but that romance should never die.