A heist movie in the tra­di­tion of British crime ca­pers, The Hat­ton Gar­den Job is based on a real-life raid. Crime Scene joins the cast and their con­crete-blast­ing drill on set.

Crime Scene - - CONTENTS - By An­dre Paine

Crime Scene goes on set for the British ca­per movie based on the real-life jewel heist.

Soon af­ter the Hat­ton Gar­den raid hit the head­lines in April 2015, film­mak­ers started to hatch a plan. De­scribed as the largest bur­glary in English le­gal his­tory, the au­da­cious heist net­ted the gang gold, sap­phires and di­a­monds worth up to £25 mil­lion. But it was the pro­file of the raiders – elderly ca­reer crooks look­ing for one last pay­day – that cap­tured the at­ten­tion of writ­ers and direc­tors. Sev­eral films are in de­vel­op­ment but The Hat­ton Gar­den Job will be the first to reach cin­e­mas.

“With this par­tic­u­lar story, ev­ery­body said the same: it’s a movie, isn’t it?” says writer and di­rec­tor Ron­nie Thomp­son dur­ing a break from film­ing in­side a hu­mid ware­house near Lon­don’s Olympic Park on a proper sum­mer’s day. Thomp­son’s got a track record in hard-as-nails Brit flicks ( I Am Sol­dier, Green Street 3) but in­sists this is a more com­mer­cial, main­stream film.

With ac­tors in­clud­ing Matthew Goode ( The Good Wife) as a mys­tery man who or­gan­ises the raid, Joely Richard­son ( Nip/ Tuck) as a Hun­gar­ian mob boss and Stephen Moyer ( True Blood) as a crook seek­ing the con­tents of a spe­cific safety de­posit box, Thomp­son’s cast gives the crime ca­per a shot at global suc­cess.

“It’s ex­cit­ing and the story ap­peals to a broad spec­trum of peo­ple,” he tells Crime Scene. “There’s no vi­o­lence, there’s colour­ful lan­guage but it’s within the com­edy el­e­ments of the story – it’s ‘OAPS 11’, that kind of feel.”

The movie is also a gift for the lineup of older British ac­tors, in­clud­ing Larry Lamb, 69, as ring­leader Brian Reader, and David Calder, 70, as Terry Perkins. Danny Jones, an­other of the con­victed raiders, is por­trayed by Phil Daniels ( The Long Firm), who’s a youth­ful 58.

It’s been a phys­i­cally de­mand­ing shoot in the heat as the ac­tors have been drilling through con­crete for the sake of au­then­tic­ity, just as the raiders did on that Easter week­end. “The drill’s not as hard work as we thought it would be,” says Daniels. “But it’s the time that it takes re­ally to drill through a wall.”

Crime Scene can re­port that it’s also pretty deafen­ing as we wit­ness the ac­tors us­ing the same equip­ment as the real-life bur­glars. We also get a tour of the vault, mod­elled on the safe de­posit com­pany in Lon­don’s Hat­ton Gar­den. Ex­te­rior scenes on the four-week shoot have been filmed around the ac­tual lo­ca­tion, as well as West Ham’s ground at the Lon­don Sta­dium.

Lamb’s got form when it comes to crime fig­ures, in­clud­ing the Great Train Rob­bery mas­ter­mind Bruce Reynolds ( Buster). But the ac­tor stresses that his per­for­mance as Reader is just that. “I’d be ab­so­lutely use­less, I’d be wor­ried sick,” he says. “The po­ten­tial for your free­dom be­ing taken from you, that’s enough of a de­ter­rent for me. But they’re not like that, it’s a dif­fer­ent mind­set. That’s what they do for a liv­ing – risk their free­dom for the loot.”

Calder ( Red Rid­ing) de­scribes the Hat­ton Gar­den gang as age­ing “adren­a­line junkies”, while Daniels openly ad­mires their “bot­tle”. But there’s no at­tempt to make them heroic – and they did ul­ti­mately get caught. “It’s not el­e­vated into a Hol­ly­wood ac­tion block­buster,” says Calder. “It feels like the real thing, which is filled with silli­ness and [ mak­ing plans] over a pint in a shitty pub. It’s not glam­or­ised. It’s more Eal­ing than Hol­ly­wood.”

The ac­tors play­ing the gang mem­bers hope the real-life vil­lains – cur­rently serv­ing prison sen­tences – get to see the movie of the heist. “I’m sure they’ll be over the moon in­side, the boys,” says Daniels. “Ob­vi­ously they’ll think ev­ery­one’s mak­ing mil­lions of pounds out of it and they’ll want a few quid.”

When The Hat­ton Gar­den Job hits cinema screens ex­actly two years af­ter the raid, there may be a hint of nos­tal­gia sur­round­ing the last of these old-style vil­lains. “When I was a kid, I al­ways used to hear of Se­curi­cor vans get­ting turned over and bank rob­beries, but it doesn’t hap­pen any more,” says Thomp­son. “It seems like thefts now are cy­ber crime or op­por­tunis­tic and in­cred­i­bly vi­o­lent. This was a planned, well-or­gan­ised and wellex­e­cuted theft. They al­ways say fact is stranger than fic­tion, and I think this is a good ex­am­ple of that.”


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