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INT: Vinnie Jones

04.26.2007
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Vinnie Jones is the "go to" actor anytime you need a tough guy who can also act. His work in such films as LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS, SNATCH, X-MEN: THE LAST STAND and don’t forget GARFIELD : A TAIL OF TWO KITTIES. He has had a long career that continues to grow. He now appears opposite Stone Cold Steve Austin in THE CONDEMNED. He plays a real bad ass that is fighting for his survival against a bunch of other criminally like-minded individuals.

I got the chance to talk with him recently at the Wizard World Convention and we talked about the tough guy image. He is exactly what you would expect from him. He has a very dark sense of humor and the tough guy thing really is him. He spoke of his work THE CONDEMNED and also his work on X-MEN. He is now currently working again with Lionsgate for THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN, a horror flick with Brooke Shields and Bradley Cooper. It seems this may be a genre he may continue to live in.

Vinnie Jones

With your prior work in “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” and “Snatch” you created a ‘bad guy’ image. What was it like taking on this role in “The Condemned”? What fascinated you with the script?

Well, first of all I thought the script was too violent. When I first met Scott [Wiper], we met in Santa Monica . He asked me, “What did you think of [the script]?” I said, you’re going to get arrested if you make this movie. He said, “No, no, no, it’s not that bad. We’re going to rewrite stuff.” Originally my manager said to me to [read the script] and talk to the director about the role of Breckel. So I went down there and I read the script, and I said I’m not Breckel. My look is McStarley. So I said to Scott, before we got any further and wasted each other’s time, that role [of Breckel] is not for me. I loved the McStarley role.

[That character] fit for me – he was brilliant. What I didn’t know was the McStarley was written for a British guy and they changed it to an American or something. But then Scott decided to go back to that idea and we went on and nailed it. It was a great role for me. I enjoyed doing it. It was also Steve [ Austin ’s] first movie. We got on great. Just sort of trying to help him and give him some advice that I’d learned on the way. We both come out of sports - my soccer background and his wrestling background. Obviously, we’d met some years before. We’d done the WWE type wrestling together in London so we knew each other and we got a lot of interests the same. I thought it was the perfect scenario. We went in and it was like two buddies doing a movie really.

What was it like working in that location?

It was brilliant. Steve loved it more than anyone. He’d stay in the woods in the trailers. He didn’t even come back to the apartments.

What’s the difference for you between bigger budget films and something like this?

When these movies go too big, you’re working on a set with people who you may be working with for four or five months and you don’t even say “hello” to them. You don’t have a drink with them. You might just nod your head at them. On this we all live together on the Gold Coast in Australia . Me and Steve [and] Rick [Hoffman] and Scott Wiper all lived in the same apartments. On the weekends we’d all hang out together – all of us. Nobody ever did their own thing. We’d all ate together and had booze together and then we’d go back to work. It was [like a] family. I think that’s important for a good show.

With “X-Men”, how did you get involved?

I just got asked to meet the producers, really. Because when I saw the drawing of Juggernaut it was as if they’d drawn me in the suit. So I went along and basically shook hands and got the part.

Had you been a fan of the series before?

I do like science fiction movies. I like “Superman”. I loved “Robocop”. The “Bionic Man” back in the 70’s I loved. I loved all them movies. I would love to have some them powers. It would make life a lot easier.

What’s up next for you?

I’m doing a horror film called “The Midnight Meat Train”. The first day of [shooting] is tomorrow. [It also stars] Brooke Shields and Bradley Cooper. I play a serial killer on the underground. [Bradley plays] an up and coming photographer and he keeps seeing me doing these killings and he has to get to a point where does he stop taking the pictures and when does he call it in. There’s a big twist at the end. It’s a real horror, horror movie. It’s gruesome.

Are you a fan of horror in general?

Not in general really because my wife won’t watch them. Because of research I’ve been watching a lot of these movies. Rick Hoffman was in “Hostel” and I’ve been watching that. I don’t know how they get away with some of these horror movies. Jesus! Adding the gore and the special effects stuff that we’ve got, I mean, I’ve got contact lenses which I wear that are oozing out blood. It is incredible what they can do now, but they are really using technology as gruesome as they can. I skin two people on the train. I hook them up by their Achilles [tendons] and actually skin them. That’s just to give you a little taste of it.

The gore hounds are going to love it. I take it we’re looking at an R-rating for that one?

I don’t know how they get away with it honestly.

You mentioned you wife doesn’t watch horror movies. So what do you say when you go home [and talk about your day]? Oh, I just skinned a couple of people today?

Even when I watch it I have to keep telling myself, it’s only prosthetics or this or that, because it really is on your plate, isn’t it?

So what release date are they looking at for that film?

I don’t know, probably the end of summer or Halloween.

What are your expectations for “The Condemned”?

I think it’s going to go through the roof. This movie tested 82 [with test audiences]. “Die Hard” didn’t even test at 82. Anything that tests over 50 is good, and anything that tests over 60 is unbelievable. When you start getting into 70’s and 80’s – forget about it. And this tested 82. The biggest response was with women, because there is a story there about Steve and his family. There are two stories there. There is the island, but there is also Steve and his family in Texas.

“The Condemned” was a blast, which is what any action film should be. You are doing a lot of action genre films. Is that what you like doing?

It’s what I get offered. I’m an old-fashion minded person in a lot of ways, and I think for John Wayne to do anything a part from be a cowboy is wrong. People want him to be John Wayne, the cowboy, and do a hundred films like that because that what we want. And I think what fans expect from people. You get your fan base from what they like you doing, and I think you should be true to your fans. I did a great movie about the IRA and it was one of my best performances, but people were a bit disappointed because we wanted to see Vinnie killing people. If that’s what they, that’s want you got to give them. You got to be true to the fans.

After this I think it will get me up the ladder a bit more because this will be the second feature I’ve done with Lionsgate. And Jason Statham, more power to him, he’s doing the same there. You’ve got to get producers to trust that you can get the people in the doors and pay the money to see the movies that they want you to see. I think that’s a rule. I think Steve should stay on this road, [he] can’t stop. Vin Diesel has changed tactics. The Rock has changed tactics. I think they might get a big payday on the Monday, but they’ll fizzle out as actors by the Friday.

What people don’t know is that they might think, oh yeah there’s a big payday but these boys don’t need that money. Steve is very fan conscious. I think he’ll stay at what he’s good at and his fans want. I feel that a lot actors they cheat their fans because they take away [what the fans want]. These guys shouldn’t be doing comedy, they should be [doing action movies] because that’s what the fans want. When guys like The Rock and Vin Diesel learn from what they’ve done and they switch tactics, it’s very hard to come back from that. I think Stone Cold will be true to his fans. That’s the vibe I got all through the movie. He’s a great guy.

Let me know what you think. Send questions and comments to jimmyo@joblo.com.

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Source: JoBlo.com

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12:51PM on 04/26/2007

Clive Barker news!

MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN?!?!? Vinnie Jones playing Mahogany!!! schweeeet.
MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN?!?!? Vinnie Jones playing Mahogany!!! schweeeet.
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7:29AM on 04/26/2007

I like this guy

But I think fans should be your fans regardless. I like the Rocks other movies.
But I think fans should be your fans regardless. I like the Rocks other movies.
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1:18AM on 04/26/2007
Jones and Statham in MEAN MACHINE. Loved it way more than either of the LONGEST YARDs.

Brilliant man, and former phenomenal footballer. Can't forget about the latter.
Jones and Statham in MEAN MACHINE. Loved it way more than either of the LONGEST YARDs.

Brilliant man, and former phenomenal footballer. Can't forget about the latter.
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12:20AM on 04/26/2007
WOW! I'm very impressed with his view about fandom and all. It's not the sort of thing I necessarily would think about too much, since pure action isn't my thing unless there's a decent story behind it, and I'm still confident Diesel and Johnson will find movies where their acting talents will work. That said, Vinnie's got a point about what the audience wants. And, if it's the money they're concerned about, he's exactly spot on. Then I'm also glad he can personally appreciate his work that
WOW! I'm very impressed with his view about fandom and all. It's not the sort of thing I necessarily would think about too much, since pure action isn't my thing unless there's a decent story behind it, and I'm still confident Diesel and Johnson will find movies where their acting talents will work. That said, Vinnie's got a point about what the audience wants. And, if it's the money they're concerned about, he's exactly spot on. Then I'm also glad he can personally appreciate his work that didn't pay off so well.
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