Ray Winstone happy to play the ‘good guy’ in ‘Sweeney’
BY CINDY PEARLMAN February 27, 2013 5:42PM
British actor Ray Winstone poses during a photo call for the movie "The Crime" in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. The movie will have its premiere in German cinemas on Feb. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/dpa, Joerg Carstensen)
London-based character actor Ray Winstone, 56, isn’t such a tough guy today.
Calling from his home in London, he is more lamb than lion. “I got a bit o’ the flu. The bug has bit me hard. It just never seems to go away,” he says between sniffles.
The AMA does not endorse his cure although popular in many Hollywood circles. “I might get a big bottle of Saki and kill these bugs once and for all,” he muses.
It’s a fit and slightly peeved Winstone who stars in “The Sweeney,” about a hardcore detective in the Flying Squad of London’s Metropolitan police department that believes in street justice. Based on the ’70s UK television show, the film also stars Damian Lewis of “Homeland” fame.
As for Winstone, he’s best known for his roles in “Sexy Beast” (2000), “The Departed” (2006), “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” (2008), “Hugo” (2011) and “Snow White and the Huntsman” (2012). Next up he stars in the big screen “Noah,” the Biblical epic starring Russell Crowe.
Question: Wasn’t your first job on “The Sweeney” TV show?
Ray Winstone:Yes, my first job was on the original series and I was lucky enough to work on it because it was a great show. That was back in the ’70s. When they came to me about this film, it was exciting to talk about a remake, but on the big screen. In England and around the globe, it’s a successful show that my age group remembers. A whole new generation will see it on TV now because it’s back and on the screen. The challenge with the movie was to bring something new to it and make it our own.
Q.Tell us about your character Jack Regan.
RW: I’mkind of the dinosaur guy, but that’s good because he’s someone who looks at things morally. He also has his own justice. He has seen the front door bash him in the face enough times, so he asks questions later. The world is so PC today. You can sue for everything. This is a movie about old sort of values and old school ways of getting things done.”
Q.Do you think the world is too PC?
RW: I wish the world was different and perfect. It seems the more sophisticated and PC we become as people, we also become more barbaric. Just look around anywhere. There is war and all these murders on the streets. You think we’re supposed to be evolved, clever, bright and intelligent people, but I wonder.”
Q.You play such a great bad guy. Was it fun playing a good guy for once in “The Sweeney?”
RW: Don’t get me wrong. I love playing bad guys. I usually play them like I think they are still good guys. But now I am playing a good guy who might be bad. He’s cocksure of himself, but he’s real. He’s also a man doing a tough job thinking he’s making society better by cleaning up the streets. He’s an honest man, if nothing else.
Q.You’re starring opposite Russell Crowe in “Noah.” Can you give us a few set secrets? And what was it like to work with all the animals?
RW: It was quite an experience. I can tell you that it was great to work with Russell because he’s a tremendous guy to have around when the storm comes in and you have to run for the ark. We actually filmed on Long Island and it was quite weird because we were making a film about a storm at the end of the world and then that real hurricane hit New York. It was great for us, but not so great for New York. …As for the animals on the “Noah” movie, there were birds around, but most of the animals will be put in later through CGI. But the ark was actually incredible. They built the ark the actual size of the real ark, with interiors. You could turn this as a ship and it worked. That was pretty amazing.
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