AR: Hi Vinnie, thank you for your time
Vinnie: Hey Jeff, no worries!
AR: First of all congratulations on headlining a movie again! What attracted you to the script of The Big Ugly?
Vinnie: Well i was the producer on it, it was a two man band. Scott wrote it and came to me and he said what do you think? I said well you the know the hardest bit will be getting the finance. We took it around Hollywood for a bit, got a couple of bites nothing for sure. I ended up, through a friend of mine meeting two guys that loved it and we done a sizzler reel they through in 3 million for it and i said Lock Stock 3 million Snatch 6 million where do you wanna be and they said Snatch 6 million.
So we got 6 million for it and we ran with it. We didn’t even have a bank account. One of them gave us a cheque there and then for $775,000 we had no LLC or bank account or nothing, so it was real exciting.
AR: Your character Neelyn was very layered he was a hardman but he also had this whole soft caring side. Do you prefer playing these types oppose to the heavy/thug characters?
Vinnie: You get more credit when you layer a character, other wise people are just saying he is just playing another tough guy. But when you do something out of the box people go wow! Hold on a minute.
Scott said to me i have to write something for you out the box and this is why i had the passion for it and to prove everybody wrong. It’s such a cliché you’re either this one, that one or that kind of actor. Everyone is just labelled. I think i proved everyone wrong with this. I layered it.
Neelyn was a drinker and it numbed everything for him and he done all the dirty work for Harris. When his girlfriend was taken he felt guilty and he wanted to do something about it. It wasn’t a Rambo style retribution it was a love retribution.
AR: In my review i wrote about how I thought a prequel set in London focusing on Neelyn and Harris would be cool, right? The characters had such a great bond, would that appeal to you?
Vinnie: I think it opens itself up to a TV show, Jeff. It could be a good TV show, I think there is a big hole there at the moment. Not so much Fools & Horses and Minder but more of The Bodyguard or something like that and discover where these characters came from. I think it could be a good TV show. Something like Donavan, there’s definitely something Ray Donavan about it.
AR: This movie was done through your 4G Vision production company which you also run with Scott Wiper. Can we expect anymore callaborations between the two of you?
Vinnie: Yeah! My manager Alex Cole at Elevate Entertainment and I brought a book titled Jack Noble that was about 7 or 8 years ago and we got the rights to it. We have had the script written and that’s a fantastic script it’s kind of like a James Bond, Mission Impossible kind of thing with myself and two girls and it’s called Noble.
We also have Solstice with Scott Roper. But when we came into 4G Vision we didn’t want to come in like a band with a one hit wonder. We wanted to come in with an album so we were ready for rock and roll. We are actually in production at the minute for Solstice.
AR: Ah wow thats awesome. The Big Ugly really has you back on our screens in a fine tuned role. Usually your getting wrote off mid movie nowadays!
Vinnie: (laughs) As Scott said to me “We need a movie to show the audience that you don’t just beat everybody up and get killed at the end”.
Scott wanted to get out of under the rock as a WWE director so we both did the movie for personal reasons. We wanted to show the world we’re not in this one little box. There’s more to people and if the reporters, cinema goers and Hollywood or whatever could open their eyes for once and see you don’t have to label everyone.
I know there is more to my bow, honestly Jeff I have been in casting meetings with big casting agents being like “take a chance on me i won’t let you down, i got more layers” It’s fucking bullshit, get some balls people.
I remember going to the casting for Lock Stock, Delia Fox her name was and she was saying i have found Schwarzenegger and all the rest of it. I tell people that and I’m like why dont you be the one that says i found the real Vinnie Jones!
AR: Well if anyone has turned you down they’re going to get their nuts grabbed when they see your performance in The Big Ugly, it shows you have many layers.
Vinnie: My mate said to me the other day, “fucking hell, Malcolm McDowell, Ron Perlman you look so natural next to them” I said well it’s like your going in the ring. When your in with these heavyweights you need to know your stuff, you got to be prepared. You can’t just go in there and wing it. You will be eaten alive.
If your gonna be on the screen with big hitters like Malcolm and Ron you gotta come away from it with your head held high. That’s what i have i done. I mean Malcolm and Ron, the first 5 minutes of the first scene i did with them they were like fucking hell you can act (laughs).
You have to earn your respect on screen. I once done a scene with Christian Slater. It was a TV show that never got picked up, it was a pilot. I learnt 8 pages of dialogue in less than 24 hours and they put me straight up first to do it and i got a standing ovation. Slater said to me did you have an ear piece in? I said i haven’t heard of that and he said that he would have one. That standing ovation from the crew, the cameraman and everybody else. That’s when you know your on top of your game.
AR: When you mentioned working with heavy hitters, i have to ask. What was it like working with Stallone and Schwarzenegger on Escape Plan?
Vinnie: It’s great but it’s all about them. You always feel like your waiting for the bus as they drive past in their limos (laughs).
AR: You did get to go toe to toe with Stallone which was a highlight!
Vinnie: Yeah well i met Sylvester before. I am a member of the same golf club as him. He’s a great guy.
He did an awesome thing where we went to have a game of golf but he didn’t play as his shoulder was hurting but he joined a local golf club in New Orleans and he joined it and made all the cast and crew members while we were there filming. He’s a really nice guy. He’s a mans man.
I remember meeting him for a Rambo movie i was going to be a part of but schedules clashed and i couldn’t do it. I went to his office in Santa Monica to meet him and he was showing me some of Rocky 6, which he had shot, he asked if i had done a bit of boxing and i had said a bit and we were sparring in his office. We got on really well and we got on great on the Escape Plan set as well and he gave me alot of respect. He’s a legend in my book.
AR: Initially I thought The Big Ugly was going to be a full out action, but it was character driven, like the latest Rambo.
Vinnie: Lots of people have been saying that. You know what, if Taylor Sheridan had wrote this and directed it this movie would have been the biggest movie out so far. I think it’s along the lines of Hell Or High Water, i really do. Its noir, stylish and the acting. Take me out the equation the acting and casting is phenomenal.
AR: I am sure people like Taylor Sheridan will be knocking on your door after viewing this, I haven’t seen a bad review yet.
Vinnie: Well you get the clever ones Jeff, who will try and be clever and go the other way with reviews. I have seen all that on Lock Stock and those people should clear the cobwebs from their rabbit holes as they will have to jump down them very soon. Because this movie stands alone.
Everybody who watches will be surprised it’s not a shoot ’em up gangster movie. It’s a noir layered movie with classic acting. McDowell is brilliant and Perlman is awesome, Brandon Skelnar who plays Perlmans son is fucking awesome! There are journalists who will go out their way to slam it like they did with Lock Stock and they all disappear down their rabbit holes soon enough.
AR: After The Big Ugly, what’s next for you Vinnie?
Vinnie: We’re doing Solstice which will be a bigger budget and Scott wrote it. Like i said earlier i am one for the team if there’s not a good enough part for me i wont be in it and i will just produce it i dont mind. Rihanna had the script and read it. She loved it. We like to aim high. With Malcolm and Ron i had their personal numbers and rang them and told them they were doing it, I didn’t ask them (laughs)
AR: Vinnie it was amazing speaking to you, thank you for your time
Vinnie: No worries and thank you for your support Jeff.