Tag Archives: Ray Winstone

The horror, the horror!

Bob Cranmer’s book The Demon of Brownsville Road is being adapted as Haunted
Bob Cranmer’s book is being adapted by Fox as Haunted
With shows like AMC’s The Walking Dead and FX’s American Horror Story performing so well, it’s no real surprise that everyone wants to climb aboard the horror show bandwagon.

FX sister channel Fox, for example, has already backed Scream Queens and is now planning another horror comedy series based on Bob Cranmer’s book The Demon of Brownsville Road. Called Haunted, the new show centres on a military agent who is partnered with her demonologist ex-boyfriend to help a family overcome a demonic infestation at their house. William Brent Bell (The Devil Inside) has been signed up to write the project.

ABC Family, soon to be renamed Freeform, is also moving into horror for the first time with Dead of Summer, which is set in a doomed summer camp in the late 1980s. The network, which has given the show a straight-to-series order, is from Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis and Once Upon a Time writer Ian Goldberg.

Meanwhile, Syfy has advanced a horror project it first started talking about in the summer. Channel Zero is an anthology series developed by Nick Antosca (Hannibal). This week Syfy greenlit what is being described as two six-part seasons. The first is based on Candle Cove by Kris Straub, which originates from an online horror concept known as creepypasta. There is no news yet on the second batch of six, though the assumption is that it will centre on a different story.

Meanwhile, in the UK, broadcaster ITV has ordered a three-part horror miniseries called Him. Produced by Mainstreet Pictures and written by Paula Milne, the story focuses on a 17-year-old boy with a hidden supernatural power inherited from his grandfather.

In the realm of sci-fi, one of the week’s most interesting projects comes courtesy of The CW, which is working on Cry, a drama about a doctor who works out how to bring cryogenically preserved people back to life. In an interesting twist on the Frankenstein myth, he starts by unfreezing his own father – but there are, of course, unexpected consequences. The show is being made in partnership with Paulist Productions, a Catholic-oriented company that makes shows exploring moral dilemmas.

Original cult sci-fi series Lost in Space is set for a TV reboot
Cult 1960s sci-fi series Lost in Space is set for a TV reboot courtesy of Netflix

Bigger news for sci-fi geeks is that Netflix is planning a remake of cult classic Lost In Space, which ran for three seasons in the 1960s. Created by Irwin Allen, the original story centred on an ordinary family called the Robinsons that becomes marooned in space along with the reprehensible Dr Zachary Smith. The franchise, which started life in a comic book, was brought back in 1998 as a not-very-good movie starring Matt LeBlanc. However it is probably better suited to TV. The challenge for writers Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless will be getting the tone of the project right. While it will need to be more plausible than the original to satisfy sci-fi fans, it would probably be a mistake to take it too far from the family-adventure feel of the original.

In the UK, meanwhile, actor Ray Winstone is to star as visionary author HG Wells in a new drama for pay TV channel Sky Arts. Called The Nightmare Worlds of HG Wells, the Clerkenwell Films drama will be an anthology series consisting of four stories about madness, obsession, hallucinations and horror (there it is again). These are based on Wells’ stories and will be adapted by Graham Duff. The series was commissioned by Sky Arts director Phil Edgar-Jones, who says: “One of my earliest memories is seeing row upon row of blue-covered HG Wells books on my grandad’s bookcase and being fascinated by the strange and disturbing worlds inside them. The team at Clerkenwell has brought four fantastic Wells stories to life in a wonderfully realised, stunningly performed compendium.”

There’s also some buzz around medical series this week. After a strong opening on NBC for Chicago Med, CBS has now given an extended order to its own medical show, Code Black. Although the show has not rated well, it now has 18 episodes to prove its worth.

Medical show Code Black has had its run extended by CBS
Medical show Code Black has had its run extended by CBS to 18 episodes

In the UK, another ITV commission announced this week is The Good Karma Hospital. Set in Goa, India, this six-parter follows a team of UK and Indian medics as they cope with work, life and love at an over-worked, under-resourced hospital. ITV says: “Run by a gloriously eccentric Englishwoman, the Good Karma turns no-one away – locals, ex-pats and tourists are all welcome. With a stunning location, exotic medical cases and unforgettable characters, the series mixes the heartbreaking with the humorous, as the doctors, nurses and patients discover that the hospital is more than a rundown medical outpost – it’s a home.”

The show goes into production next year and is being produced by Tiger Aspect. It is created and written by Dan Sefton, whose credits include Death in Paradise. There’s some logic to this since Death In Paradise (about a British policeman in the Caribbean) is another show that uses the interaction of different cultures as a backdrop.

UK dramas that showcase the Indian sub-continent are in vogue at the moment. First came Channel 4’s Indian Summers (shot in Malaysia but set in India) and then ITV’s Jekyll & Hyde. Also in the mix have been the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel movies.

The Good Karma Hospital has been commissioned for ITV by director of drama Steve November and controller of drama Victoria Fea. November says: “Dan Sefton’s scripts are beautifully written and deal with themes we’ll all identify with – love, loss, relationships, family conflict, facing adversity and the importance of seizing the day. The Good Karma Hospital is a feel-good drama full of warmth and characters we will love.”

The Bastard Executioner has been axed by FX after one season
The Bastard Executioner has been axed by FX after one season

From Germany, news this week that ARD is producing a series based on the novels of Swiss author Martin Suter. Allmen, produced by UFA Fiction and Mia Film in the Czech Republic, is the story of a rich bon vivant who gets caught up in a murder after turning to crime to pay off his debts. Filming is taking place in Switzerland and the Czech Republic until mid-February next year.

Finally, there was bad news this week for showrunner Kurt Sutter whose medieval drama The Bastard Executioner has been axed after just one season by broadcaster FX. Having opened in September with an audience of four million, it fell away to 1.9 million by the end of its run. But this probably doesn’t signify the end of the sword and savagery genre. HBO’s Game of Thrones, Starz’s Outlander and History’s Vikings continue to do well while the BBC’s The Last Kingdom has also received decent reviews. Also coming up is ITV’s retelling of the Beowulf saga, which should provide us with another indicator of the genre’s popularity.

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Hard lines: Ray Winstone on The Trials of Jimmy Rose

Ray Winstone tells Michael Pickard about his new ITV show – a drama in which he plays a career criminal who learns the heavy price of his life of crime.

From criminals to gangsters, Ray Winstone has earned a reputation for playing the hard man.

And so he appears again in his latest television role, in which he plays a notorious armed robber who has made crime pay. Only this time, the story is one of redemption and reconciliation as his character learns the true cost of his actions.

In ITV’s forthcoming series The Trials of Jimmy Rose, Winstone plays the titular character who, during his latest stretch in prison, finds his family have moved on.

His wife is not sure she still loves him, while his son has cut him out of his life. So when he’s released and not greeted with a warm welcome, can he put finally put his criminal life behind him?

Winstone was attracted by the prospect of working with director Adrian Shergold
Winstone was attracted by the prospect of working with director Adrian Shergold

The three-part series, produced by ITV Studios and GroupM Entertainment, was written by creator Alan Whiting and Dom Shaw. Jane Dauncey is the producer and Adrian Shergold (Lucan, Mad Dogs, Dirty Filthy Love) is the director. The executive producers are Kieran Roberts and Melanie Darlaston.

Roberts describes the drama as a “warm, funny and compelling drama about a man with a criminal past who has to prove to his wife and family that it’s never too late to start over.”

Winstone says he became involved in the series through Shergold, with whom he has worked on several occasions. “ITV approached him and he came to me with the idea,” Winstone recalls. “Once they say, ‘He’s a guy coming out of prison,’ I go, ‘Oh, hold on.’ But then you read the script and you see it’s not actually about that. It’s about family.

“It’s about what a man does to a family when he’s banged up for 12 years. He destroys them. He loses his kids. They’re growing up in a world that’s changing but he’s not. He’s standing in the same place. His wife Jackie’s world has changed. His kids’ world has changed. And he hasn’t been there to protect them.”

Winstone can empathise with Jimmy’s desire to protect his family. “It’s my way of living. It’s where I come from,” he says. “And where our age group comes from. You have a responsibility and a morality to look after your own and to deal with it yourself. We never used to call the police. If there’s a silly argument today, someone calls the police.

“Years ago, it was dealt with. Not necessarily in a fight. But in a row someone said their piece and they went in and looked you in the eye and you said what you had to say. I just think those days (in the UK) have gone. Everything’s become very PC. Everything’s become almost like America – ‘You touch me, I sue you.’ Years ago, if someone was out of line they got a clump and that was it. Forgotten about.”

But on the subject of his reputation as a hard-man actor, the Londoner adds: “I’d like (to be known as) ‘Handsome actor… most attractive actor. Adonis actor Ray Winstone.’”

However, unlike his character Jimmy, who is told by his wife that he “never knew when to quit,” Winstone says he will know when it’s time to step away from the screen.

The three-parter was produced by ITV Studios and GroupM Entertainment
The three-parter was produced by ITV Studios and GroupM Entertainment

“I think about it all the time and then something great comes along that you want to do,” he says. “I’m not in a position to retire at the moment. We all have to pay our tax – we all have bills to pay. And I still enjoy doing what I do. But I’d probably much rather be sitting on a beach or lying on a sun lounger somewhere hot.

“Wouldn’t it be a perfect scenario where you haven’t got to work and then something comes along and you say, ‘Do you know what? I’d love to do that. I will do that.’”

Part of the role’s appeal to Winstone was the chance to appear alongside actress Amanda Redman (pictured top with Winstone), who plays Jimmy’s wife, Jackie. The relationship is not a new one for the pair – they also played screen spouses in the 2000 crime film Sexy Beast.

“I love her to death,” Winstone says. “I’ve worked with her a few times now. I don’t know whether ‘underrated’ is the right word (to describe Redman) because she’s not underrated by people within the profession. She’s up there with the best actresses who have ever come out of this country, and I know that from working opposite her.

“I’m a friend of hers, so I’m a bit biased anyway. But she’s never failed to deliver in anything she’s done.”

Like Winstone, Redman was drawn to the series through Shergold, with whom she says she had always wanted to work. “That is the reason I took the role,” she explains. “I knew in the hands of someone like Adrian it would be fabulous. And, indeed, he was just so fantastic to work with. He is extraordinary.

“Adrian was an actor and is so unusual in his approach. He’s not like any other director I’ve worked with at all. We did a lot of improvising. It’s a completely different way of working. He demands a lot of his actors, which I already knew. I have adored watching his stuff. So when they said Adrian Shergold was directing it, that was a no-brainer.”

Redman’s close relationship with Winstone – the pair have known each other since they were in their 20s – also meant the set felt like a “real family,” she adds.

However, looking at the wider television industry, Redman believes there’s a problem in terms of roles for older women.

The star, who previously appeared in long-running BBC1 drama New Tricks, says: “I’ve been saying it for a very long time. There aren’t enough good roles for women in their 50s. If that were the same for male actors then you’d just have to go, ‘Well, that’s life.’ But it isn’t. And therefore it’s insidious sexism and it makes my blood boil.

“The truth is there just aren’t roles written for women in their 50s. And there are quite a few of us. So, consequently, there are not enough to go around. (Talking about the issue) is labelled as whingeing – but why is it whingeing when all you are doing is defending your right to work? Why is it wrong to say that the issue needs to be redressed?”

As for her next move, Redman says she has “no idea what I’m doing next because nothing has been sent to me that I want to do.”

She adds: “Until something comes along that I want to do, I don’t see why I should work just for the sake of it. I never have done, so I’m not going to do it now. Life’s way too short.”

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