KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 11 – The camaraderie between British actors Charlie Hunnam and Hugh Grant is much talked about in Guy Ritchie’s star-studded action-comedy The Gentlemen.
Hunnam, who plays Ray in the film, spoke about the tough business that is creating chemistry with a co-star.
“I always think it’s always a little bit of crapshoot, chemistry is a difficult and dangerous thing to try to manufacture, it’s either you have it or you don’t with somebody.
“I think we are just fortunate that we quite liked each other.
“Mainly it’s just Hugh doing all of the work, and I just try to be present and throw him the occasional thing if I thought it would be helpful,” Hunnam said in an interview transcript obtained by TGV Pictures.
In the film about an American expat (Matthew McConaughey) and marijuana kingpin in London who is looking to cash out of the business, Hunnam is the trusted advisor to McConaughey’s character Mickey while Grant plays sleazy investigator Fletcher who drops in on Ray to dig up dirt on his employer.
The impressive lineup also features Henry Golding, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong, Eddie Marsan, Tom Wu, Bugzy Malone and Colin Farrell.
As part of Ritchie’s ensemble cast, Hunnam confessed he would be “very annoyed” if he didn’t find himself on the set of the film.
Recalling the first time he met Ritchie – it was before he was cast as the lead in the 2017 film King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – the 39-year-old Newcastle native said the director initially didn’t want to meet him.
The two eventually met up in London, and ended up talking about the California marijuana business for hours instead of the medieval myth.
“I realised now when I read this script, he was just doing research.
“He realised I knew a little bit about this world just from being on the periphery of it and knowing people that are very involved in that world, so I was a good research resource for him in the infancy of this project.
“I felt like I earned my place on this set from sharing my knowledge about that world with him,” Hunnam said.
Having worked with Ritchie before, Hunnam knew his character would evolve on set so he didn’t make too many decisions, saying there was a pleasant vagueness in the way Ray was written on paper.
“Every director’s process is so wildly different and Guy is very orientated to his impulse on the day.
“So it’s essential to come in ready to play and explore for the first couple of weeks while the characters are being established, because that’s when the work is going to be done,” he said.
Also no stranger to Ritchie’s working style, Grant said good directors tend to come on set without any preconceived idea of how a scene might be for the day.
“They come ready to be entertained, ready to see on the monitor.
“They got to see it on the screen, and then they know what they got.
“It might be something they love, big tick. Or it [might] not even work at all. They don’t know until they have seen it,” said Grant.
The 59-year-old actor said The Gentlemen is much like other Ritchie crime action favourites like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch and RocknRolla but way better.
Known for his “black box” rehearsal process which entails shooting the entire script over a 12-hour period, Ritchie’s attention to detail extended to what each character wore in the film.
In one instance, the director and Hunnam spent four hours raiding a London’s men’s store to get all of Ray’s suits.
Grant raved about how all of Ritchie’s films feature stylish clothes.
The Notting Hill actor thought about taking the shabby raincoat route to nail the part of a private investigator and tabloid guy but opted otherwise.
“I think it will be more interesting to come out as it sideways because my character is mad about films, in particularly sort of 60s or 70s era, that’s how I came into that.
“We found this pair kind of Ray-Ban glasses but with slightly red-tinted lens, the whole oxblood theme started, then I have to start wearing [a] little oxblood jacket and oxblood boots – I’m thoroughly repulsive,” said Grant.
The Gentlemen opens in cinemas nationwide on February 13.