Ray Winstone Chats To ZOO About Plan B, The Law And "Kiss-Ups"!

Hi, Ray. You’re the star of The Sweeney, which is out this week. Was it hard to film?

We first talked about doing this film five years ago. At the time I was well up for it because I was a massive fan of the original TV series. Then that got scary – we suddenly all thought, “What the f**k are we doing?” But I loved it, and I think we’ve pulled it off. 

Ben Drew – Plan B to us – is your sidekick. Are you a fan of his music? 

I am, as it happens – although it was my kids who got me interested in him! But we were lucky to have him on the film. I first saw him in Harry Brown and he looked as though he could kick a door down, but he can act as well! In fact, we wanted him so much that we waited for him. We delayed filming for five months until he was free!  

Here’s the important question: who would win in a karaoke contest between you and Ben? 

Hey, I’m a bit of a crooner after a few pints. I’d sing him under the table any night!

Are the action scenes as fun to perform as they look?
I’ve got to tell you, it’s like you’re playing Cowboys & Indians again like when you were a kid. But when you reach my age, the fun sometimes goes out of the window! Still this time, I was being the Old Bill, kicking down doors and saying those immortal lines, “Get your trousers on, you’re nicked!” So yeah, it was a lot of fun.  

Speaking of immortal lines, which of your quotes do you get shouted at you most? 

I do get “I’ll have the calamari” from Sexy Beast quite a lot. I also get some from the Bet365 adverts, where folk start asking me for the live odds. But I don’t mind all that. It’s all in good jest, innit?

Have you ever had any run-ins with the law?

Oh yeah, of course. I don’t know anyone who didn’t when they were growing up. Let’s just say I’ve been on the good and bad side of the police. If you’d asked me about the police when I was younger, I would’ve told you to f**k off! 

You’ve been in a lot of big films now. What’s it like being a Hollywood superstar?

It’s a funny old business. I’m just a kid from East London, not a film star. I guess I’m a jobbing actor, just like everyone else. You don’t look at me and say, “Wow!” I’m hardly George Clooney, am I? 

Do you still get to live it up like a film star? 

I’ve mellowed with age, but I still like to have a few parties when I’m out there with the family and a few mates. They usually get a bit wild around 1am! But there were wild times when I was younger, when I went to the US to work with The Sex Pistols. That was all kinds of f**king mad. We had a good time – it was going off left, right and centre!

As a West Ham fan, do you reckon the Hammers can do a Swansea this season?

To be honest, I don’t think we’re at that level yet. Big Sam has done a great job and brought a lot of stability. But we were lucky to go up this year, I think. We’re going to have a tough season, but one or two others will struggle, too. That might help us.

Last question: can you describe yourself in three words?

Very. Good. Looking. Ha ha!

Nice! does that mean we’ll see you in a rom-com soon? 

I did one a while ago actually, called Fanny & Elvis. I like to be funny, so I’d like to think I’ll do another. Everybody likes to have a kiss-up, so it would be nice to have a kiss-up instead of a punch-up for a change! 

The Sweeney is in cinemas from September 12.

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