Ritchie’s hoping "RocknRolla” will strike some strong chords with its story of criminals cashing in on the recent real estate boom that’s been changing the London skyline.
"London’s changed so much in the last 10 years that it’s kind of not recognizable from the London of my previous movies,” the filmmaker said. "And to a degree, London is the star of this movie. London’s become sort of a new Wild West to a degree, and the new New York. There’s so much international interest in it now and so much international money. It seemed so perfect and the timing seemed right to make a story about that.”
The rogue’s gallery of characters ranges from small-time crooks such as One Two (Butler) to well-connected old-school mobster Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson), shady Russian billionaire Uri Obomavich (Karel Roden), and drug-damaged rock star Johnny Quid (Toby Kebbell), with classy accountant Stella (Newton) playing all ends against the middle. As in past Ritchie offerings, the plot is complex, the violence is sometimes brutal, the dark humor is brutally funny, and the action and the players are often over-the-top.
"I suppose that the characters that I’m interested in are almost caricatures to a degree,” he said. "I’m interested in the comic book notion on celluloid, and I suppose if you delineate your characters to an extreme, then what you end up with is a three-dimensional character. But I think you have to commit, you have to be confident that that character is a stand-alone individual, and you could make a narrative solely based on that character.”
Meanwhile, Ritchie is happy to leave the playing of those characters to the actors. He’ll make sure they get it right and won’t hesitate to show them how it’s done.
"My job is to make what I deem to be a highly entertaining, contemporary and fresh film,” he said.
Travel and accommodations provided by Warner Bros.