Vinnie Jones Interviewed – THE CONDEMNED

     April 22, 2007

Opening this Friday is The Condemned – the first movie starring Stone Cold Steve Austin in a leading role. In the film (from the studio synopsis) Steve plays Jack Conrad, a death-row prisoner who is “purchased” by a wealthy television producer to take part in an illegal reality game show. Brought to a desolate island, Conrad finds himself trapped in a fight to the death against nine other condemned killers from all corners of the world. With no possible escape – and millions of viewers watching the uncensored violence online – Conrad must use all his strength to remain the last man standing…and earn his only chance at freedom.

Going against Stone Cold is Vinnie Jones, one of my favorite bad guys working in movies today. In the film Vinnie plays one of the other prisoners who are trying to escape the island and win their freedom.

During the roundtable interview Vinnie discusses making The Condemned as well as his future projects.

The juicy stuff was:

Do you have any other projects that are lined up that will be happening after the one you’re filming right now?

I’m doing Midnight Meat Train now for Lakeshore and for Lionsgate. I’m going on to do Hell Ride a Tarantino project with Larry Bishop and then I’m going on to The Heavy in London. That’s my next….

Can you talk a little bit about your character in both of those films?

In Hell Ride, I play a biker—it’s about the bikers. It’s with Dennis Hopper and Michael Madsen, Larry Bishop and myself. We’re bikers and I play Billy Wings, I’ve got all sorts of wings and you have to watch the movie to find out what the wings are about. Then in the Heavy, I play a detective, a beard like yours, big scar and I spit futuristic gangster stuff.

Who’s directing that project?

Marcus Warren wrote and directed it.

If you haven’t yet seen the trailer for The Condemned you can go here to watch it.

And if you’d like to listen to Vinnie Jones you can click here to download the MP3 of the interview. No copy protection so you can easily put it on a portable player or on a CD for listening somewhere else.

Finally, I also did interviews with the Director Scott Wiper as well as Rick Hoffman – one of the other actors in the film. Since I won’t have time to transcribe them I wanted to offer them as audio files. If you’re curious what working for Vince McMahon is like you should definitely listen to Scott’s interview. To listen to either interview just click on their name.

During the interviews spoilers are discussed – you are warned

We heard that Scott saw your picture of you from Eurotrip and that’s how he came to the…wanting to have a meeting with you. Did he tell you that?

You might not want to listen to Scott too much especially when we’re filming.

Did you think Eurotrip would lead to this movie playing that character?

No, I thought maybe McDonald’s or something like that after that movie. I brought the character to life and it’s funny you get different things on the street, you know and for years even down to today someone would say oh, Rock Star, blah, blah, blah or Snatch. But more recently it’s been Eurotrip and She’s The Man and it’s like (he makes some noises like shhhh). It’s a fantastic story this movie I’m on now we started this movie and this one of the PA’s came up and said would you do me a favor and sign my Lock Stock DVD and I said sure. I said dude, it’s all muddy and he said, ‘well I lost my house in Katrina’ and he said ‘I grabbed 4 things and this was the 1st thing I grabbed in my house’. He’s got no house no nothing. I’ve given him half my wardrobe as well now but he runs out of the house and one of the first things he saved was Lock Stock DVD.

It does mean a lot actually.

It does mean a lot but we’re hearing now from various things not just Eurotrip things.

I don’t mean to talk about a different subject than this film but as long as we’re talking about the film you’re making right now could you talk a little bit about that?

The one I’m on now is Midnight Meat Train. Lots of blood. I tried showering but I’ve killed 3 people this morning actually. I’ve been very busy this morning. Yeah, it’s with Bradley Cooper and Leslie Bibb about a photographer who’s trying to get on and I play the serial killer on the underground.

Is that filming here in L.A.?

Well, I hope so, I ain’t got me own jet yet. I’m not up there yet.

When you said underground that sounded very London maybe?

Up in Santa Monica we’ve been filming it you know on the underground but we’re in the studio now.

Getting back to this film, what was your experience working on location in Australia?

I loved it because I think the Australians are proper tough people. Black is black and white is white. They say how it is. There’s no Hollywood bullshit. It was real men I think in Australia to be honest. I just loved it all. Loved the experience. Done a bit of fishing out there. We were in a small place called Terror Avenue. We became quite a large family. We were tight. We worked really, really hard. At the weekends we played hard. On Saturday night and Sunday afternoon then back at it. It was a really great atmosphere.

What kind of ….physically you’re a great soccer star but not, or I should say football, sorry, you’re a great football star.

Do you know I say soccer now.

What did you do to prepare yourself physically for this? I could see well Steve is a wrestler so maybe….?

We’d go out there early, me and Steve. I was finishing a movie and I said as soon as I do the movie I’m coming out so we went out there early. Richard Norton, the stunt guy here, he’d done a lot of work through the years with Chuck Norris and everybody else and we had him as our stunt man and he said guys here it is. Do you want the camera in close and fight each other for real 75% or do you want us to pull the camera back out there and we can…. so we both wanted to go for it especially Steve’s first movie. He said I’m going with you boys and I said Steve the adrenalin on the day gets you through it. There’s a couple of scenes there where he’s got me and he’s pounding me, we’re really going at it but we’re going at it with adrenalin. He was smashing me I can’t tell you.

Yeah, he mentioned that didn’t he?

I was screaming ‘come on!’ and the whole thing took over. He was pounding me, and never in the shot was he supposed to start hitting me with the other arm, he got carried away and he…. And on them rocks and stuff was horrible. The only thing we had to help was they put Hessian sacks on them and they put felt on our boots because they’d done it with stunt men but stunt men was up with the eagles you know that big and we said get it down there and we’ll do it.

He said he might have hit you a few times.

Oh, did he ever.

So let’s ask the question. Can he really hit?

He’s a strong MF.

Were you able to play soccer on your breaks?

Where we were staying on the beach was a tennis court and that there. Us English we turn a tennis court into a small soccer patch and we play I think like football/tennis. So you play tennis with the football without the racket. So we were getting everybody doing that. But even during the movie Steve was in the gym everyday. He seriously was down there working out.

How have you enjoyed playing the villain in this movie and the one you’re filming right now and even X-Men? It just seems like a lot of fun because it would let you really go over the top with?

Yeah. Listen in between I’ve done…you know, I’ve been #1 on the crew list with Derek Jacoby and Vanessa Redgrave, you know, it just doesn’t get the publicity that all these sort of movies do. I mean they’re creeping out there you know? But doing this sort of stuff is…one of my biggest heroes in movies is John Wayne. John Wayne never ever disappointed his fans because he was a cowboy. That’s how I look at this. There’s good action stars. I’m a bad-guy action star. What disappoints me is when you all of a sudden you get a good action star and then he wants to play a comedy with kids, you know? That upsets me and that’s not being true to your fans. I do my independent stuff where it’s real acting if you like. Intense, drama stuff. I love me actions. That movie that I just done I played a reporter with Jacoby. The testings coming back from the kids under 25 and they’re disappointed as to why didn’t Vinnie didn’t bash anybody up? So it’s a catch 22. But I want to be loyal to my fans and I don’t want to have to prove to anybody….because I done that as a soccer player, I had 15 years of trying to prove something. I’ve done over 40 movies now and I don’t have to prove to anybody, you guys or anybody, that I can do movies. Because there’s people out there that love what I do. They love my screen presence and Guy Ritchie said it, he said there ain’t a price on my screen presence.

When you look at a script what do you look for in it?

I look at my character first. I do that before I even read the script. I go through. With this I looked at my character and I didn’t particularly like it and then I read the script and I loved McStarley. So when I went and met Scott I said you know I really don’t like that you know Robert Mammone’s character, I said I like the McStarley character because although he’s like joint league #2 in the movie at the end his redemption and you know is brilliant for me. Here’s this guy killing people, shooting people all the rest and you think he’s the baddest lunatic on the planet and all of a sudden he gets in there and he gets the guy and he says do you enjoy watching all this? And all of a sudden you say “shit he is human”. Then when I do the speech in the chair about why I’m like this you know don’t think…what you had it easy. There’s a lot of people out there with McStarley’s problems that want to sit in that leather chair and explain it.

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What’s it like working with or for Vince McMahon?

I met Vince in ‘99 I think with Stone Cold they came to town in London and we’d done the WWE there the wrestling. I was Stone Cold’s tag partner, it’s a small world. But he asked me if I’d do the wrestling and I said yeah. He said we’re going to team you up with Stone Cold Steve Austin, so when this call came through and said Stone Cold’s doing this movie and I thought it must be the end of his career as a wrestler as well then, you know.

Did you ever want to be the hero? Why couldn’t you be the hero? You think of yourself as a bad guy? You said a bad guy in action films.

In this?

In this one, the next one you’re doing? Could you picture yourself doing like Steve Austin’s part?

I think a good baddy the audience loves them. They love to hate you. I said to Steve that for me this movie, if they cheer him and hate me and boo me we’ve done our job. The last couple of minutes of the movie for me turns the audience around on McStarley for me. They go shit, he’s intelligent. All this stuff has built up and this is not just because he’s been paid to do this well, this is a human being sitting there.

But then you kill everyone.

It’s the part when I’m in the chair. Did it not say to you, when I’ve killed everybody and then I stop and I go do you enjoy watching all this?

Some people were applauding when you killed them all but….

When McStarley actually stops and says do you enjoy watching all this it’s like the kid’s like what do you mean? In some of the takes, I say this is wrong. You can’t watch that, you know. McStarley, his character is what you see for an hour and a half and the last 5 minutes it shows you that somewhere this guy was an intelligent guy. Where did he come from? The fact that he was down there on the shop floor working for Robert Mammone doesn’t take away that he still doesn’t agree with what’s been going on and in real life we’re the same. There’s a big message, because how far in the future is it?

Do you have any other projects that are lined up that will be happening after the one you’re filming right now?

I’m doing Midnight Meat Train now for Lakeshore and for Lionsgate. I’m going on to do Hell Ride a Tarantino project with Larry Bishop and then I’m going on to The Heavy in London. That’s my next….

Can you talk a little bit about your character in both of those films?

In Hell Ride, I play a biker—it’s about the bikers. It’s with Dennis Hopper and Michael Madsen, Larry Bishop and myself. We’re bikers and I play Billy Wings, I’ve got all sorts of wings and you have to watch the movie to find out what the wings are about. Then in the Heavy, I play a detective, a beard like yours, big scar and I spit futuristic gangster stuff.

Who’s directing that project?

Marcus Warren wrote and directed it.

Working with Larry Bishop on something like that, I mean, looking up to him and I don’t know if you look but with motorcycles do you talk to him about that or have you had the chance to talk to him about that?

About what?

About riding motorcycles.

Sure, we was up at XO the other day choosing the bike and we were building my bike for Billy Wings and it’s quite fascinating. Larry’s a character man. He’s a dude. You look under dude’s in the dictionary and it says Larry Bishop, man, he’s great.

So you just hang out. Do you talk bikes or…?

Well, we did Sunday. That’s what we done. It’s one of the best scripts I’ve read for a long, long time. Yeah, this is the nice part about movie making. Sometimes we’re all after the big bucks but when the smaller budget comes along and you do it for the script it’s good for your heart.

On this film, what was the set like in between the scenes? You’ve got all this testosterone going on and these really tough guys you know acting together. Was it easy getting in and out of character or did you stay in character?

There was a lot of mickey taking because Steve’s got a great sense of humor.

He said that about you.

Yeah. The laughs were fantastic. But the only scene that went not wrong it went right, but the scene where I rape the girl, well see you can’t just walk into work and be laughing and joking and do a scene like that so I came to work and I was just had to alienate myself from everybody and I stayed away. I worked myself up into such a frenzy about what I was going to do and what I was going to do to this woman because I’m always have been in my life a big protector of women. If I see a guy slap a girl I would rip their head off. I’m very like that. So I had to get myself into this and it really spooked everybody because we’d done it even in between sets I didn’t speak to anybody I was in completely in the zone, you know. I was freaked out. We went to lunch and the whole crew was freaked out. There was this ridiculous atmosphere and then even until going home at the end of the day I couldn’t …it just never left me and I came back in the next day and we sort of eased into it but everybody had this big hangover of that rape scene.

Thanks.

Always good to finish on a nice note.

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