Vinnie Jones: “My career flew off the rails. The wheels were going. There was no spare seat! | Movie

I Obviously, I’m afraid of Vinnie Jones. Even though he’s calling from New York, 3,000 miles and five hours away, I can still expect him to tap his neck three times and pull me into a breathless head lock. But instead, he’s sleepy and thus charming, and doesn’t threaten to kick my face all at once.

He’s sleepy because he’s been up until 2.30 a.m. shooting Law & Order: Organized Crime, in which he appears in the recurring role of the Albany Alpine gang. “Going to toe with Christopher Meloni,” he smiles, “is a legend in the acting world.”

The Law & Order job helps celebrate a third phase in Jones’ acting career, an era that has now outpaced his time in professional football at the age of 23 and is still going on. The first boom era saw him in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Gone in 60 Seconds, Snatch and then Swordfish, before his first leading role in Mean Machine. This film culminated in a triumphant turn in 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, in which he provided his first line of dialogue inspired by cinema history (“I’m a juggernaut, bitch!”). Then came the second era: a rather significant period in which Jones would appear and do surprising work on every direct-to-DVD release I’ve ever seen.

“If you look at my career, it really flew off the rails,” says Jones, 56. The wheels were going, it was a ramp train and everyone was on it – the train was full! There was no spare seat! We loved and enjoyed it, and it was such a wonderful part of my life. Never take it back.”

He paused to catch his breath. It turns out that Jones loves an extended metaphor. “But then the train starts going up and slowing down. And you have to rediscover yourself; you know, you have to take the train up the hill, so you can go back again.”

The current stop is Rise of the Footsoldier: Origins, the fifth installment in the franchise, which is originally based on writer Carlton Leach’s novel about his days when a bouncer turns eccentric in an ecstasy-dealing scene in Essex in the 1980s that ended in The Rettendon murders It has developed its own complex myths.

Origins follows Tony Tucker – still played by Terry Stone – as he rises through the ranks from a muscular playboy to a drug addict who makes increasingly desperate and misguided maneuvers for power. It’s a classic Footsoldier: shot in co-owners’ quarters, and engravings of people the producers made visibly friends with on nights out, but it’s still a glossy, lovingly made movie with car chases, kicks in the head, people who mislead important things and a generous script So using the C word, you’re assuming they’re going to achieve some kind of logging.

Jones plays Bernard O’Mahoney, a real-life safety detail and one of the stars Danny Dyer’s bloody men documentaries. He’s capable of great, powerful acts of violence, obviously (his first scene sees him biting his ear) but he’s guided by an unwavering – albeit unique – moral compass.

As Tony derails, Bernard remains steadfast in his stance, which is why the real O’Mahoney is able to talk about it all today. “He came on set, dropped his family, and we chatted really well,” Jones says. That’s why he was so well suited for the role, he believes. “Bernard is his man. Yes, he licks it with the boys. But when it was time to go out, he came out—and it wasn’t about being afraid, or anything like that. He just knew the balloon was going to go up.”

British true crime films—often based on arrogant survivor narratives, often financed by the same men who did well outside the scene they lovingly portray—are now an important genre in their own right: action films with their own rhythms and metaphors, a phrase About a local counter to the American mob epics for three hours.

Vinnie Jones
Armed and Dangerous… Vinnie Jones in Locke, Stock and Two Smoke Barrels (1998). Photo: Allstar/Handmade Films/Sportsphoto Ltd/Allstar

These films – inevitably violent, and British in a very specific way – play out what Jones calls the “young boy generation” he idolizes on Instagram. The problem, of course, is its quality. Some are wonderful. Most – not much. Jones once again loots the chest metaphor. “It’s kind of like an ice cream shop. If there’s two or three flavors, that’s great – but suddenly it’s 30, 40 flavors inundated. The flavors or three start out great, but then they start cutting corners. I think you could make a British gangster movie Very inexpensively, and that’s a problem because you can get away with it.”

He is pleased with the foot soldier. “All I’ve had for the past two weeks is, ‘Oh my God, Finn, you’re going to be so shocked. Your role is so amazing. And I’m upset about that. But that pride comes from falling. For the first time in our conversation he paused. “Do you do some jobs for money? Yes. Someone comes and offers you money for a few days. this happens “.

Jones’ wife, Tanya, died of cancer in 2019; The two had known each other since they were twelve and had a son who is now in the army. In an emotional interview with Piers Morgan last fall, Jones said he would never marry again.

He ended our conversation cheerfully but wisely. “You never know,” he says, “I mean: Did you ever think I’d beat Man United? Did you think I’d win the FA Cup? Do you think I’d win Best British Actor? [for Bullet-Tooth Tony in Snatch at the 2000 Empire film awards]. I have won many awards with the big ugly [a recent thriller with Malcolm McDowell]As a producer, filmmaker and actor. Where did it stop? “

Acting is now less outlandish than being a footballer, as he says, “With law and order I find myself completely at home in a big role.” He says he was seeing a therapist who asked him about the last time he thought he was dignified, when he felt so proud of himself. He told him he was 18 years old. He said: And when did you start drinking? And I said, “Eighteen,” he let out a short laugh that sounded more like the end of a fight than a dusty start.

Rise of the Footsoldier: Origins hits cinemas on September 3rd

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