THE BIG UGLY Exclusive Interview With Star And Producer Vinnie Jones

THE BIG UGLY <font color=red>Exclusive</font> Interview With Star And Producer Vinnie Jones

The Big Ugly arrives on VOD/Digital on July 31st, and we recently had the opportunity to talk to legendary football player turned actor Vinnie Jones about starring in, and producing, the crime thriller...

Vertical Entertainment's The Big Ugly is released on VOD/Digital on July 31st (you can already find it in some drive-in theaters), and is already available to purchase in the UK. New releases are few and far between at the moment, but if you're looking for something new to watch, you should definitely make this a priority as it's both a must-see thriller and a movie that boasts an impressive cast including Vinnie Jones, Ron Perlman, and Malcolm McDowell. 

In the film, we find Neeyln (Jones), a man who has always been the loyal enforcer for crime boss Harris (McDowell) back in London, taking care of problems and people that disrupt his illicit business. When Harris strikes a deal with an old friend – American oilman Preston (Perlman) – they find themselves in the wild hills of West Virginia. Contracts are signed and the whiskey flows in celebration, but overnight Neelyn’s girlfriend disappears, last seen with Preston’s wayward son Junior. Lines are drawn between family and friends, but nothing will stop Neelyn from getting answers - and retribution.

Jones delivers a career-best performance in the movie, and when we recently had the opportunity to catch up with the legendary footballer turned actor, we had plenty to talk about. As well as starring in The Big Ugly, he took on the role of producer for the first time, and clearly took that seriously.

You can find out what he had to say about his unhappiness with playing Juggernaut in X-Men: The Last Stand by clicking HERE, while his thoughts on Arrow can be found HERE. In the meantime, check out the rest of the interview below, and we obviously want to extend a huge thank you to Vinnie for taking the time to sit down and talk to us about The Big Ugly
 

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I wanted to start by asking what it was about The Big Ugly that grabbed your attention and made you want to play Neeyln?

Well, after doing The Condemned with Scott Wiper, the writer and director, he said to me, 'You're a much better actor to work with than people know, and I want to write a script for you,' and that's what he did. He went and wrote it, and he said, 'This is going to show people what you can really do.' I think it does that, hands down. 

I noticed that you have your first producing credit with this movie, so what was that experience like and is it a role you're hoping to take on in future projects as well?

Yeah, I mean, actor, producer, writer, director. There are four titles, but only two guys. What we did is we both carried one another on each other's shoulder. When one was tired and ran out of ideas, I would get Scott on my shoulder and carry him through the trenches, and then he'd do the same to me. We put the script around Hollywood and never really hammered it home, and then I met a friend of mine who introduced me to two lads in Detroit of all places. We made a screener reel, took it out to Detroit to show them, and they financed it. I said, 'Look, we've got no collateral or anything. All I've got is my trust. I can give you my word, and all I've got is my word. We're not going to run off with this money.' We upped the budget to six million, and we've all become great friends and the trust and my word is the most powerful thing that's come out of it all really, so it's been great. 

You got to work with some real heavy hitters here like Ron Perlman and Malcom McDowell, so could you give us some insight into what it was like for you to share the screen with them?

It's important to put yourself up against the best. In football terms, do you want to play Torquay every week or do you want to play Manchester United every week? You become a footballer to play Man United every week, and that's what I like about acting. You get on there, and you're away, you're in the ring together. Acting opposite Malcolm or Ron on the screen means you're in the ring and it's a heavyweight fight, and they are heavyweights. You've got to know your craft, and get in there and do it. I personally phoned the guys, I had Ron's number and I had Malcolm's number. I phoned them up, told them what I was doing, sent them the script, and said, 'Let me know over the weekend, the money will be in your bank account on Monday morning.' For a small budget movie like this, to actually have six million in the bank waiting to pay actors is a far cry from what you do here in Hollywood. They try and raise money on the actor; I actually had the money, so I wasn't bullsh*tting anyone, do you know what I mean? 
 


Absolutely. Of course, you also have a really impressive list of credits, but when you realised acting was something you wanted to do after your football career, who were some of your main inspirations?

Lee Marvin was a big favourite of mine. I was a big Lee Marvin fan. Clint Eastwood. Rocky I and II were two of my favourite movies...Braveheart was another one. I love Robert DeNiro in his movies. I don't agree with him ranting and raving as an actor about politics, but I love him as an actor. There's so many. Bob Hoskins in The Long Good Friday. Michael Caine: awesome. Ray Winstone, I grew up with in Scum, so they're the actors I really liked. 

Reading the press notes for the movie, it sounds like you and Scott Wiper have a great relationship, but what sort of dynamic did you have on set and how did that differ from the last time you worked together on The Condemned

It's more than a friendship. We started off as work colleagues, then friends, and now brothers. Obviously, me and Stone Cold Steve Austin were the stars of The Condemned, so Scott as a director, has to work with you, and you've got quite a lot of say as an actor. When you're a producer, you go head to head with each other and don't agree all the time, but when one of you is down, the other has got to pick you up and put you over his shoulder and be professional. We both respect each other enormously, we're both straight batters, we're both honest as the day's long, and if we shake hands and say our word is our bond, you can bet your life it is, and we had that with each other. We've still got it now.

We don't always agree, and we've had some serious rows, but it's good to get it out and then you've got to be man enough to say, 'You're right, I'm wrong.' That's what creates a good working relationship. Sometimes, Josh, he doesn't want to deal with the actors. They're going to him, and he'll say to me, 'C'mon, f***ing step up as a producer here and deal with this and deal with that,' and you have to, you know? I didn't feel some of the actors were taking it as serious as what we were at first because we sweated blood and tears to get this movie going, and after the first week, I took all the actors for dinner and read them the riot act and, not Ron and Malcolm, of course, but all the others, and I said, 'If you think you're going to come here and f*** this up and not give it your all, you're very much mistaken. You'll be on the plane home in the morning, so buck up.' And they did. I'm not sure many producers would do that. The trouble is, a lot of producers and directors all kiss the actors arses, and I don't think that's the right way to go. I think you should be strong with them, and they should feel lucky they're on the set.

You're obviously not just there to have fun; you're keeping an eye on the budget and those things, so did that strain your relationship with the actors or were you purely focused on getting this movie made?

A bit of both really, mate. I was focused and weeks ahead with the acting and dialogue. Basically, I went very, very strong and hard producing, and then I went all balls out to the wall as an actor, and then that released me on set to be a producer when I wasn't filming. First and foremost, they all knew that, yes, I was starring in the movie, but I had my producer's hat on, and I wasn't going to be f***ed around by anybody. There was too much at stake. 
 


You made your acting debut with the classic Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, but would you like to reunite with Guy Ritchie down the line whether it's another gangster movie or even something like Aladdin 2?

Oh, yeah, that's no question. I love working with Guy, and when he's got the right role for me, I'm always waiting for the phone to ring. Me and Guy are brothers, and I'll just wait and see when he wants me. He knows where I am, and obviously, if there's something there – he's very particular on what he wants – then we'll see! I think he's just done another movie with Jason Statham, so we'll see going down the line. His stuff is great. It's what we all love. 

Getting back to The Big Ugly, I thought your monologue in the jail cell was superb, but were there any other moments on set that stand out to you as being particular favourites?

I got a standing ovation for that from the crew and the camera men. That was great, that was. There was one. When I was sitting on the wall with Lara, and she's saying to me, 'You loved her...' and all the rest of it, I looked down to my left while we're in the scene and I saw an eight-foot snake coming straight towards me along the wall. In the middle of the scene, I said, 'Leven, I just need to stop a minute. Just come with me, love. Just walk over here a minute.' She's like, 'Yeah? What's going on? What are you doing?' What's up?' and all that. So, I said, 'Just walk away, just come over here with me,' so we walked away and then I said, 'SNAKE! THERE'S A F***ING SNAKE!' And there was this eight foot f***ing snake coming straight at me. Mate, it was about three foot away from me. I don't like snakes, and I wanted to keep her calm because I didn't want her to fall off the f***ing wall or something. That was a bit scary!

I recently spoke to Stu Bennett about working with you on I Am Vengeance: Retaliation, and with that coming out on Blu-ray soon, I wondered how you found squaring off with that former pro wrestler?

It was great. Stu was great. We just went on, we were both professional, and we did our thing. Stu's trying to make his big break in acting, and I'm sure he'll get bigger and bigger, you know? Fair play to him and hat off to him. He's worked very hard. Really nice geezer, I really liked him. 
 

I Am Vengeance: Retaliation is out in the UK now! Check out @thevinniejones as Sean Teague, Gold's charismatic former comrade-in-arms, now his deadly nemesis! Buy the film using the link in the bio! #action #wwe #iamvengeance #iamvengeanceretaliation #WadeBarrett #fight #VinnieJones #newrelease #evolutionaryfilms @stubennettofficial @thevinniejones @rossboyask @evofilmsuk @bentley.kalu.3 @katrinadurden @phoebe_robinson_galvin @sambenjaminnow @jacob.anderton @jessicajanerabbit @evofilmsuk @bigjoeegan @gregburridge @mrleeacharles @timman79 @tonycactor @aaron.destrete @markgriffinwrites @morganjamesofficial @dritanrkastrati @sonny_louis @jleemoon @joshmyers1986 @theaxelnu @law_action @therealdavidschaal @leoncheesua @actiondanstyles @dominickinnaird lyjeanpaul Less Today

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Finally, with cinemas closed, The Big Ugly obviously has the chance to grab more people's attentions than it might if big blockbusters were still playing, so what would you say to our readers about why they should check out the movie in their homes this weekend? 

Well, I think if you like anything like Hell or High Water or that kind of stuff, old Westerns, love stories, it's for you. It's got a lot of layers this movie for a lot of people. I had a screening for 100 people in England on Friday night, and we got a standing ovation, and there were women in there that loved it, blokes that were going, 'I thought this was just gonna be like a Rambo movie with you going on the rampage like you did in Condemned and killing everybody. How cool is that?' It's a stylish noir movie, and it needs the recognition. If Taylor Sheridan would have written this, people would be singing from the rooftops about it, I'm sure they would have. 
 

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