SDCC 2008: Dark Castle Presents: RocknRolla (Blog)

Category: RockNRolla News | Posted by: DaisyMay
Article Date: July 25, 2008 | Publication: Cinematical | Author: Elizabeth Rappe
Publication/Article Link:Cinematical

The story behind my RocknRolla coverage could actually be a Guy Ritchie film -- you'd have to add a few car chases and shoot-outs, but I think the framework is there. Due to the insanity of Hall H, I decided I would sit through the next three panels in order to be guaranteed a seat at RocknRolla. My phone rings. "RocknRolla press. Here's the room. You've got five minutes." I grab my tape recorder, and phone, and I run. I run up the escalator, yoga and stomach crunches actually paying off as I arrive with only the minor warnings of a heart attack.
And once I get in, what befalls me? Only an entire slew of strange technical difficulties -- my tape recorder refused to record, as did my cell phone, and my cell phone camera decided to take half the photo in blinding white, half in black. Naturally, everything worked outside the room, so go figure, and thank goodness for good old fashioned pen and paper, eh? There must have been something on my face -- shock, fear, or the paleness of impending death / bad coverage because Gerard Butler took one look at me, and stuck his tongue out in a "Total insanity, right?!" face. (At least, that's how I interpreted it. I hope he wasn't commenting on my appearance or broken tape recorder.)

As everything was running late (apparently, there was a surprise signing downstairs), the whole conference got down to business immediately. Just about all the questions were thrown Guy Ritchie's way. Despite the nefarious characters who populate his films, Ritchie didn't consult any criminal figures for RocknRolla. (He did reveal that the pig farmer line in Snatch came from a real source, who now is a kindly grandfather.)

He's interested in undercultures (his word, not mine), and sees RocknRolla as a commentary on modern London. The face of England is changing, London is becoming more international, and cultural identities are shifting. The influence of Eastern European and Russian corporate crime, is, of course a key component of the film and the new face of London. Ritchie also alluded to his "American wife" and how she helps him see the city not as a spy, with bad things around every corner, but as a tourist who is surprised anew by the city.

Ritchie also offered up a bit of info on his upcoming Sherlock Holmes reboot. According to him, it will have a modern sensibility and contemporary spin. It will be set in the Victorian era, and be more action oriented -- the sort of thing Holmes directors wished they could have done in the past. During the panel Q&A, a scant ten minutes later, he described it as "Bond in 1891" and a fun, wild ride.

I just couldn't write fast enough during this thing (thanks, tape recorder) but luckily it was repeated nearly word for word at the panel -- and with pithier quotes. The panel focus shifted, predictably, to Butler who performed with sarcastic aplomb. Little was given away about the film; all involved just kept stressing how cool the movie is, how awesome the script is, and that we all need to go see it.

Guy Ritchie on the critics hating his last two films: "No, no, they didn't -- they loved them!"
According to Butler, if you love London, you'll love this movie. It's the perfect backdrop to it. He also says "It defines cool" and [It's] better than sex. But not with me. With Idris."
It was less physically demanding for the former Spartan, though there was a close call as he was running along some train tracks. "Don't get run over, we have a movie to do." The biggest physical calamity he had to overcome was getting incredibly sick, which a B-12 shot to the bum (courtesy of Madonna) didn't fix.
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch are two of his favorite movies, and reading the script made him "immediately excited" to be a part of the film.
The film speaks for itself. It's a bunch of cool guys and girls, and a great script.
Jeremy Piven said Ritchie never saw Entourage, so he had to work that much harder to get the part, which was originally written for an African-American man. He plays an American music agent of the "rocknrolla" character, and took a lot of his cues from Ludacris.
Ludacris wanted to be in the movie just to kiss Thandie Newton, which didn't happen. Then he admitted he was kidding, and that the incredible cast and script made him want to be a part of it.
Ritchie writes so well, no one needs (or is encouraged) to improve -- but Piven did anyway.
The footage shown was an extended trailer of the version already online -- the only new scene which immediately comes to mind is Elba and Butler disguised as cops/security guards and bungling a car robbery. So, merely watch the current trailer over and over again, and repeat the above to yourself in a variety of UK accents, and you can mimic all that I saw!

Not that I was disappointed, mind you. One can't be disappointed when Butler sticks his tongue out at you.