Kevin Kline will play a washed-up Errol Flynn

Kevin Kline will play a washed-up Errol Flynn

Kevin Kline is one of the few major contemporary actors capable of summoning up the dash and theatricality of a swashbuckling, golden-age romantic idol, and now he’s about to play one of the golden-age movie stars—one whose private life may have outpaced his films for steamy melodrama. Variety reports that Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, the writing and directing team responsible for the indie hit Quinceanera, have cast Kline in The Last Of Robin Hood, where he'll star as Errol Flynn.

Kline (who played another old-school adventure hero, Douglas Fairbanks, 20 years ago in Richard Attenborough’s Chaplin), will be playing the washed-up, ailing Flynn of his later years, an alcoholic wreck whose body finally gave out at the age of 50. The film will center on his relationship with his last lover, actress Beverly Aadland, who was only 17 years old when she appeared with Flynn in his last film, Cuban Rebel Girls. The low-budget short grew partly out of Flynn’s admiration for Fidel Castro; it was intended to help promote the Cuban revolution. Aadland, who was with Flynn when he died, began a sexual relationship with Flynn when she was just 15, one that was encouraged by her star-struck mother. No word yet on who will play Aadland, but the role of her mother—like every other role for an over-50s actress that sounds halfway interesting these days—will be played by Susan Sarandon.

This isn't the first time Flynn has been portrayed in a movie. Guy Pearce played Flynn in a 1997 biopic, while Jude Law briefly impersonated him in The Aviator. (And Timothy Dalton’s role in The Rocketeer was based on the scurrilous—and way-untrue—rumors that Flynn was a Nazi agent during the war.) But these men got to play the beloved star and serial statutory rapist when he was still in his glowing prime. A better model for Kline might be Peter O’Toole’s Oscar-nominated performance in My Favorite Year, which was a fictionalized account of the week Flynn spent performing as a guest on Your Show Of Shows.