The Di­a­mond geezers

East End roy­alty dom­i­nates King Of Thieves, a new take on the Hat­ton Gar­den heist

Empire (UK) - - PREVIEW - Si­mon crook

THERE HAVE AL­READY been two clunky movies (Hat­ton Gar­den: The Heist and The Hat­ton Gar­den Job) rushed out about 2015’s no­to­ri­ous Hat­ton Gar­den Rob­bery, the big­gest jew­ellery heist in Bri­tish his­tory. The dif­fer­ence with King Of Thieves, the new of­fer­ing? One: a pres­tige cast, in­clud­ing Michael Caine, Ray Win­stone, Jim Broad­bent, Tom Courte­nay, Michael Gam­bon and Paul White­house. Two: the authen­tic­ity. The script’s based on po­lice tran­scripts; di­rec­tor James Marsh is cap­tur­ing events docu-drama style; and, strangest of all, Win­stone ac­tu­ally knows the crim­i­nal he’s play­ing. He grew up with Danny Jones, and has vis­ited him in prison sev­eral times. In fact, the only fic­tion­alised el­e­ment is the elu­sive, mys­te­ri­ous Basil — so far, the only crim­i­nal to con­clu­sively avoid cap­ture and played by Dare­devil’s Char­lie Cox in an itchy gin­ger joke-shop wig. “yeah, it looks ridicu­lous,” laughs Cox. “But that’s the dis­guise he wore. We’re not mak­ing a com­edy, but you can’t not laugh at some of the de­tails — I mean, Jim Broad­bent’s char­ac­ter, Terry Perkins, was di­a­betic and was in­jected in the bum three times dur­ing the rob­bery.”

When Em­pire vis­its the eal­ing Stu­dios set (where The Laven­der Hill Mob was filmed six decades ear­lier), the gang are al­ready thick as thieves. In-be­tween takes, White­house is do­ing im­pres­sions of Michael Caine

— in front of Michael Caine. Caine keeps flash­ing him the side-eye. Win­stone’s laugh­ing so hard, he chokes on a tof­fee. “Soon as I heard they were mak­ing a film, I knew they’d call me,” says Caine, per­fectly cast as the mas­ter­mind, Brian Reader. “Big old cock­ney thief? Who we go­ing to get? Michael bleedin’ Caine. Well, here I am.”

Reader, in­sists Caine, is not what you might ex­pect. “He was ac­tu­ally quite posh, and his blag was un­be­liev­able — the heist he pulled off was like a great work of art.” “And it wasn’t about greed, nei­ther,” Win­stone chips in. “The rob­bery was all about stick­ing your fin­gers up at the es­tab­lish­ment. It was proper old-school — no­body got hurt. Maybe I’m just weird, but I find the story up­lift­ing.” Like the heist it de­picts, King Of Thieves is an ana­logue film for a dig­i­tal age.

King Of thieves is in cin­e­mas from 14 septem­ber

Top to bot­tom: Brian Reader (Michael Caine) leads the gang; Ray Win­stone’s Billy Lin­coln; Caine with di­rec­tor James Marsh on set.

Em­pire met the cast as they filmed the heist cli­max at Eal­ing Stu­dios on 10 June 2017.

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