For fans of Guy Ritchie’s particular brand of action cinema, the news that the “Snatch” and “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” filmmaker was moving into the live-action Disney remake world with this year’s “Aladdin” might have been bit worrisome. What about the next “RocknRolla”? Never fear, because Ritchie has already teed up his first post-“Aladdin” film, and if a first look is to be believed, he’s back in his classic crime wheelhouse.
Previously known as “Toff Guys” and “Bush,” Ritchie’s “The Gentlemen” will see the British filmmaker teaming up with mini-major STX Entertainment, which showed off a first look at the film during its Tuesday morning CinemaCon presentation. And it’s vintage Ritchie: a crime thriller with plenty of laughs, a majorly stacked cast, and a few gags that might require a bit of a translation across the pond.
The film stars Charlie Hunnam, Hugh Grant, Matthew McConaughey, Colin Farrell, Henry Golding, Jeremy Strong, and Michelle Dockery in a drug-infused, crime-laden tale about a “very British drug lord” intent on selling off his fortune, and having plenty of trouble doing it. The first trailer showed off Ritchie’s sprawling cast of interconnected characters, all of them dabbling in different bits of the drug trade and having a hell of a time while doing it.
While Ritchie was not on hand for the festivities, stars Hunnam (who also starred in Ritchie’s “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”) and Golding were in attendance, and they joined STX head Adam Fogelson to chat a bit more about a film that sees fit to return Ritchie to his roots.
“When I read the script, it’s sort of vintage Guy Ritchie,” Hunnam said. “I grew up on ‘Snatch’ and ‘Lock, Stock,’ so when he sent me this script and invited me to be a part of it, I just jumped at the chance.” Golding echoed that same sentiment, adding, “He’s got such an iconic way about him, he really sort of created a lot of that sort of genre and camera movement.”
One other classic Ritchie-ism also on display in “The Gentlemen”: a real affection for improvisation, collaboration, and sometimes just tossing out the script wholesale.
“He’s very sort of immersive in his process, he needs to be there on set with his actors to fully realize, even though he’s written the script, to realize what it’s gonna be,” Hunnam said. “It evolves very, very rapidly through the course of the day. It’s really remarkable to watch him work in real time. There’s many scenes in this film that were excellent on the page, but the entire thing got thrown out in the morning and he just starts writing and we started improvising and playing … and the whole thing has been reimagined.”
Hunnam added, “It’s kind of a challenge, as actors, often we’re very process-oriented, we come with a very clear idea of what we want to do when we arrive. But Guy sort of forces you to be much more fluid, part of that process is what creates the amazing energy that he has in his films. … There’s some sort of weird alchemy to his filmmaking, he’s deeply collaborative and allows everybody to imbue the project with their own philosophy, their own worldview, and yet it goes through the Guy Ritchie filter.”
STX Entertainment will release “The Gentlemen” in 2020.