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Iconic Guy Ritchie film almost had different Hollywood star in lead role

March 28, 20243 Mins Read

Iconic Guy Ritchie film almost had different Hollywood star in lead role

We all love a good Guy Ritchie film, but arguably his most iconic almost had a completely different star in the lead role.

An iconic Guy Ritchie film almost had a very different star in the lead role.

Guy Ritchie’s first film Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) was so successful it didn’t just change the lives of all those involved – it changed the British film industry.

Copycat imitations spawned instantly – and have existed ever since trying to imitate Ritchie’s style.

The cast was full of unknowns, with Vinnie Jones being the best known… but for football not acting.

Jason Statham was an unknown name, beyond the fact that he was a recently retired diver for Team GB who performed at the Commonwealth Games.

Now, Statham and others among the cast are some of the biggest names in British film – and their lives changed forever.

The film was almost stocked with a massive name however according to one of the actors.

Speaking to The Independent for the 25 year anniversary of the film, Nick Moran said how he knew he wasn’t the first, second, or even third choice for the role.

Moran played Eddy in the film, and it’s impossible to imagine anyone else playing him, but that almost happened according to the actor.

He said: “They’d offered the role to everybody who was bankable – Ethan Hawke, Stephen Dorff, any American. It sounds like an awful idea now. None of the names wanted to do it.

The cast of Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

Universal Pictures

“When I first auditioned there were pictures on the wall of Ray Winstone, Jude Law and Mark Addy.

“Eventually, I got the phone call and I was over the f**king moon.”

Producer Gareth Jones in the interview actually added that Ray Winstone was offered the role but turned it down, and Jon Slan added that he wanted Hugh Grant to play the role.

It’s easy to say now – but the thought of Hugh Grant, Jude Law, or Ethan Hawke in Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels in the place of Moran is inconceivable.

In the end, they picked Moran (in part because he was cheap according to the producers), and the rest is history.

The piece brought some other interesting details to light too – including how they ended up casting footy hard-man Vinnie Jones as ‘Big Chris’.

Vinnie Jones as 'Big Chris'.

Universal Pictures

Moran said: “In the script, it said lean, mean-looking Vinnie Jones-type, so [producer, Matthew Vaughn] went, “Why don’t we ask Vinnie to do it?”

With Matthew Vaughn’s brilliant idea to bring in the ringleader of the Crazy Gang – it’s not surprising to see that his foresight went well beyond this one idea.

Actor on the film Dexter Fletcher said: “I do remember Matt Vaughn saying Jason Statham’s going to be the next Bruce Willis. At the time, we were like, ‘Don’t be daft!’, but he was insistent he was going to become a big action star.”

I think it’s fair to say that on that occasion, he may have been right.

Featured Image Credit: Universal Pictures

Topics: Film, Guy Ritchie, Netflix, TV and Film

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