Outlaw - I Fought The Law

 
Source: Total Film
I Fought The Law
On set with Bean, Dyer and the Outlaw posse...
20 Feb 2007 12:02pm

Johnny Depp has swaggered past; Orlando Bloom pelted up the stairs
and Stellan Skarsgaard stopped for a nice chat. So Total Film is packing
away the dictaphone for the evening, dripping in the sticky summer heat
and about to head for the tube.
 
“Hello. How are you?” A floppy haired fella is brandishing a straight-lipped
smile in our direction. TF nods in recognition. Rupert Friend is at the Odeon
Leicester Square to support his missus at the premiere of her new flick.
Said missus, Keira something-or-other, has a little film out and it’s about Pirates…
 
Friend has changed since we saw him last. Gone is the dirty great scar
across the left hand side of his face, his milky-white eye is now back to
piercing normality and, truth be told, he seems a little more comfortable
in his surroundings.
 
Two months ago, far from a thousand screaming girls in T-shirts emblazoned
with inventive slogans such as ‘Mrs Jack Sparrow,’ TF chatted to Friend on
the set of Nick Love’s latest flick, Outlaw. In the middle of shooting a
pumped-up punch-up with Sean Bean, Danny Dyer and Lennie James, the
atmosphere was tense. There was a job to do, a frame of mind to be in
and despite the fact we were taking over a pub for the day, the testosterone
was flowing faster than the ale.
 
“I won’t lie to you, it was a very testosterone-fuelled set,” Friend admits.
“The women there had balls bigger than most of the guys and gave as
good as they got. But it was very enjoyable. Nick Love is probably a
genius but also probably quite insane. He’s an amazing guy. I look forward
to seeing what he does with it.”
 
The film follows a group of men who’ve been the victims of the UK’s soaring
crime culture and haven’t received a sniff of justice. So they go out and deliver
their own brutal brand of vengeance. Controversial? Well, this is the man
who’s been routinely (and many would say unfairly) consigned to making
movies for the chav culture. The Football Factory, The Business… love ‘em or
loathe ‘em; the fact is, Love’s ideas push people’s buttons, piss people off
and entertain the masses. The fact that he’s managed to rope in Sean Bean
and Bob Hoskins on Outlaw, goes some way to suggesting that Nick Love is
growing as a filmmaker.
 
“Nick wanted something different on this one,” the amiable Danny Dyer tells
TF over a pint on set. “In the past, he’s used certain type of actors, who I
love to death; they are all my friends but they all only bring a certain type
of thing. Whereas, when you’ve got Sean Bean, Lennie James, Rupert
Friend; we all approach this game in a different way and that’s really
going to stand out when you watch this.” So what is the major difference
here from the usual Nick Love fare, you might wonder…?
 
“It’s not ‘cunt’ every other sentence and people are going to notice that,”
Dyer tells us, taking a drag from his cigarette. “The Business is a fucking
good film but it’s not necessarily a film for adults. So he had to come back
with something that’s going to blow everyone away and I think he’s pulled
it out of the bag with this. He’s not necessarily reinventing himself. He’s
got a lot of critics but there’s also a lot of people who love what we do and
a lot of people who fucking despise what we do and we want to try and
shut them up a little bit.”

A month after we meet Sean Bean, he will be hip-deep in filming for slasher
remake, The Hitcher - stuck out in the desert on a cushy set run by Michael
Bay. Now, he’s perched on a pub garden bench in Cheltenham, chatting
about his beloved Sheffield United with Total Film. “I don’t get to see them
as much as I’d like,” he says, in his understated, hushed tones. That’s
because Bean rarely gets Saturday off nowadays, especially during the
hectic schedule on Outlaw. So why do it?
 
“These are well drawn characters, they aren’t just part of a gang for the sake
of it. We’ve all got our own stories, that’s what makes it so real. There’s a
feeling in the group that draws them together despite the different
backgrounds and beliefs.”
 
Bean is getting a reputation as something of a jobbing actor who brings a
bag load of talent to the party. He freely admits that he is just as
comfortable on this set as he was duking it out with Pierce Brosnan in
GoldenEye. “Yeah, why not?” he muses. “Danny, Lennie, Rupert; everyone
here knows what they’re doing and everyone knows what they want to get
across. They’re pros”
 
Spend ten minutes within five feet of Lennie James and you’ll notice the
fella can’t stop singing. When he does stop, someone will say something
that vaguely resembles a song title and he’s off again. As we sit and
watch rehearsals for a brutal scene in which a young teenage girl is
smashed over the head with an ashtray, James’ mood alters. He is
focused, drinking in the dark mood.
 
“I play a guy called Cedric Munroe, a criminal barrister, who is dealing
with a particularly unsavoury character. He threatens me and my
pregnant wife and in the course of doing that, they kill her.” For a man
who has spent his whole life backing the law, Munroe feels abandoned
and isolated. “Given the same situation, what would you do? It’s a
question a lot of people are asking themselves and a lot of men my age
are asking themselves. It seems, at a distance, to be a scary and
lawless generation coming up behind us. So when it turns on you, what
would you do? When that madness touches your life, do you hide or
do you stand up and decide you can’t take it anymore? That’s what
attracted me to the script.”
 
Outlaw will likely score points outside of Love’s usual audience based
on the cast and their commitment to the cause. Gone are the little
nods to pop culture and comedy asides that the director built his
career on but suffered criticism for from the viagra-stiff sniffy brigade.
 
“There’s no light-hearted bits in this at all,” Dyer says. “It’s saying how
fucked up our country is and how the common man has lost his voice.
It’s about kids running around beating people up, sex pests moving in
opposite schools - we’re dealing with this everyday in this country.”
All finger on the pulse stuff. So is this finally the film that will get
Love the recognition his huge fan base believe he richly deserves?
Dyer thinks it’s high-time.
 
“Well, the fact that they do make these films and they’re doing it for
half a million quid is something. All this BAFTA bollocks, where they
keep rewarding films made with huge budgets, that have been made
eighty times before in one way or another. What about Nick? What
about Vertigo Films? Alright, we make films with a bit of a swagger,
they’re a bit cocky but we made The Business for just under £2 million
and made it look like it was made for just under £10 million. That’s
down to Nick. That’s down to his vision. Maybe Vertigo are due
something and this film could be it. No disrespect to everything
else we’ve done but Outlaw puts them all in the fucking bin.”

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