The Win­stones: Jaime talks about Dad (Ray) and be­ing the bad girl,

She has a fa­mous movie vil­lain for a dad but, as Don­ald Clarke dis­cov­ers, Jaime Win­stone is down to earth, ded­i­cated and do­ing very nicely with her own line in hard-boiled char­ac­ters

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Front Page -

HAP­PILY, I see no rea­son to say any­thing nasty about Jaime Win­stone. She comes across as a bright, un­pre­ten­tious Lon­doner. When I stum­ble over my vow­els she ac­tu­ally says: “Whas­sat, my dar­ling?” The young ac­tor is not at home to pre­cious naval-gaz­ing. She doesn’t pre­tend that act­ing is more dan­ger­ous than bull­fight­ing. No, I see no rea­son to be rude about her.

Mind you, even if she were an ogre, I very much doubt if I’d men­tion the fact. Jaime’s dad is, you see, the great Ray Win­stone. I would be very sur­prised if the old bruiser al­lows any­body to speak ill of his sec­ond daugh­ter. In her new film, a feisty comic hor­ror ti­tled El­fie Hop­kins, Ray plays a butcher who ex­acts vengeance with a bloody meat cleaver. You wouldn’t want that turn­ing up at your door clutch­ing a copy of The Ticket.

“Oh, he’s as pro­tec­tive as any dad for sure,” she says. “He’s an amaz­ing dad, ac­tu­ally. But he does al­low us to step back and do what we want. He’s al­ways trusted us to be in­di­vid­u­als.”

I won­der when she first re­alised that dad was prop­erly fa­mous. Jaime was born in 1985. Ray had al­ready ap­peared in Scum, the great Alan Clark borstal drama, and Quadrophe­nia, Franc Rod­dam’s im­prove­ment on The Who’s mod epic, but it wasn’t un­til later in that decade that he ce­mented his rep­u­ta­tion as the great­est of all con­tem­po­rary geezers.

“I guess I no­ticed when we first moved to Es­sex,” she says. “Be­fore that, I went to a girls’ school and no­body blinked an eye­lid about him. But then boys started talk­ing about Scum. Then Nil By Mouth hap­pened. He had a sec­ond wave of fame. But it was never a big thing in our fam­ily.”

There was never any great pres­sure to fol­low in dad’s foot­steps. When, in 2006, she was cast in Kidult­hood, a con­tro­ver­sial, in­flu­en­tial youth film, she ini­tially kept the news a se­cret from her par­ents. Jaime was, it seems, wary of be­ing seen as slav­ishly clock­ing in at the fam­ily busi­ness.

Over the in­ter­ven­ing years, she has be­come a key mem­ber of a new Bri­tish brat pack. She ap­peared in the raunchy Don­key Punch and the lively Made in Da­gen­ham. She was su­perb as An­nelli Alderton, one of the Ip­swich se­rial killer’s vic­tims, in the BBC’S ex­cel­lent Five Daugh­ters.

Along the way she’s picked up a de­gree of tabloid in­ter­est. Bring­ing to­gether two hard-nut dy­nas­ties, she spent some time dat­ing Al­fie Allen, brother of Lily and son of Keith. In the past she has (with­out too much bit­ter­ness) blamed the col­lapse of that re­la­tion­ship on the swarm­ing me­dia in­ter­est. Be­ing the next It Girl has its down­sides. “There was al­ways a bit of at­ten­tion due to var­i­ous things,” she says.

“It was to do with who my dad was. It was to do with who I was with. But my main con­cern was al­ways the work. You just can’t live in that world. You can’t be­lieve in it. These things come out that aren’t true. I’ve seen it over and over again with my dad. You just can’t live by what the pa­pers say or you would be dead. But you know what? If you’re happy as an ac­tress then ev­ery­thing else just falls into place.”

There are, as she ad­mits, more up­sides than down­sides to her bub­bling fame. It has, for in­stance, al­lowed her to shep­herd El­fie Hop­kins into pro­duc­tion. Writ­ten and di­rected by Ryan An­drews, the picture fea­tures Jaime as a re­bel­lious young girl who sus­pects that her new next-door neigh­bours are up to some sort of hor­rific mis­chief. As you might ex­pect, no­body be­lieves her. An amus­ing tri­fle, the picture, in its later stages, sud­denly switches from a lat­ter-day Nancy Drew ad­ven­ture to a grue­some fes­ti­val of de­cap­i­ta­tions and evis­cer­a­tion. It’s a very crafty change of tone. “We had the idea of the char­ac­ter for quite a while. She’s like a pri­vate de­tec­tive,” she says. “Then we just had the idea of bring­ing in all this stuff. It’s like a trib­ute to The Lost Boys and Twin Peaks and all the stuff that we loved when grow­ing up.”

It seems to have been made with lit­tle money and with­out any ma­jor stu­dio in­volve­ment. Must we reach for a cliche such as “labour of love”? “Yes. That’s what it is. I was an as­so­ci­ate pro­ducer. It was ini­tially this idea Ryan and I had. We took this script to London and pitched it. You know when you have a feel­ing and want to drive some­thing for­ward? That’s how it was. And sud­denly it was up and run­ning.”

Jaime Win­stone comes across as a fairly self-con­fi­dent young woman. Large-eyed, with a funky, mod­ern face, she ex­udes a class of brassy charm you only en­counter with Lon­don­ers. A glance at her bi­og­ra­phy con­firms that, de­spite Ray’s fame, she did not have a glam­orous up­bring­ing. Her dad, who has been mar­ried to her mother, Elaine, for more than 30 years, some­how man­aged to go bank­rupt on two sep­a­rate oc­ca­sions.

She ini­tially at­tended an or­di­nary school in En­field, north London, be­fore go­ing to col­lege in Es­sex. Noth­ing about that brief pré­cis sug­gests the life of a movie star’s brat. There is no men­tion of Biar­ritz. The man­sions of Bel Air don’t come into it.

“Cer­tainly not. It was not very glam­orous. It was very nor­mal then and it still is,” she says. “I didn’t re­ally train as an ac­tress. I stud­ied it at col­lege and I kind of left it aside and de­cided I wanted to get a nor­mal job. Then some­thing hap­pened and I was no­ticed by a cast­ing di­rec­tor.”

Jaime found her­self cast in two highly praised, gritty Bri­tish films: Bul­let Boy and Kidult­hood. She played the rough, mouthy kid who wouldn’t take any lip. Win­stone re­turned to that role for the strange, faintly du­bi­ous shocker Don­key Punch. She wasn’t ex­actly be­ing type­cast as a bad girl but no­body would mis­take those early parts for those es­sayed by the young He­lena Bon­ham Carter. Of course, it’s fun to play the naughty girls.

“Oh, they are looked upon as bad, feisty char­ac­ters. But that’s not fair. I based them on real peo­ple. Ev­ery bad per­son has a good side. They were real peo­ple. They ex­isted for me. I never thought: ‘I am go­ing to play this as a bad per­son.’ I put a dif­fer­ent spin on it. I’ve been very lucky with the roles I have had. I’ve had bold roles. It’s been re­ally great. I can’t com­plain.”

The part in Five Daugh­ters marked a real shift in di­rec­tion. In 2006, Steven Wright mur­dered five women in var­i­ous parts of Ip­swich. As is of­ten the case, the tabloids


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