Many Internet readers are already aware that Layer Cake director Matthew Vaughn has been selected to take over the directorial reigns on X-Men 3 for 20th Century Fox, but what you may not know is that the director was also the producer of such movies as Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, and now has his directorial debut coming to the big screen in the form of Layer Cake.
What first may sound like some sort of cooking show is more than that, as Layer Cake sets out to tell the varying levels of British society, or more appropriately, the different layers. Of the film Matthew Vaughn says, “The movie’s about showing how drugs are everywhere and it doesn’t matter who or where you are, you’re only one person away from drugs, scoring drugs or being involved with criminals. There’s a speech at the end of the film where someone uses Layer Cake as a metaphor for life and how you go up and up and up from one layer of the cake and to the next.”
What started out as a 400-page screenplay, which translates to approximately a seven-hour film, writer J.J. Connolly, Vaughn and producers Dave Reid and Adam Bohling mixed and matched the ingredients necessary to cut it down into the film they needed.
Connolly didn’t take offense to having his work cut down, in fact he had a very realistic view on the situation, “I’m not precious about getting every single incident into the film. If a writer doesn’t want their work fiddled with by film business Johnnies, then don’t take their big bucks – it’s very simple.”
So what about this Vaughn character, this producer turned director?
Well Vaughn didn’t initially look at the film as a movie he would direct, instead he saw it as a film for longtime pal Guy Ritchie, but when Ritchie didn’t want to do it Vaughn decided instead of trying to find and convince someone else to take over the helming duties he went for it.
With the director in place, the next step was to find a lead actor to play the role of a man only referred to as XXXX in the credits. This unnamed hero has decided to retire from the drug game, a game in which he tossed around cocaine and ecstasy like any other commodity, he made a fortune for himself by keeping his hands clean and staying under the radar. But when you are successful in such a game the higher ups aren’t exactly easily convinced to let you go.
Crime boss Jimmy Price (Kenneth Cranham) wants two last favors from him. First, he must track down the missing, drug addict daughter of powerful criminal Eddie Temple (Michael Gambon). Second, he must negotiate the sale of a huge shipment of ecstasy with The Duke (Jamie Foreman), a loose cannon petty crook playing well out of his league.
When it finally came down to casting the role Daniel Craig became the sought after man. Connolly even said, “When Daniel Craig was suggested, it was a done-deal. We wanted to get as far away as possible from jolly-ups and banter, guys trying to look too cool throughout the movie. We needed an actor who was prepared to go to the depths of emotion without anchors – not wanting to remain too cool for school. It’s a film about dilemmas and having to make hard decisions.”
Not familiar with Craig? Well, if you have been keeping up with all the recent James Bond rumors he is apparently one of the finalists to follow in Pierce Brosnan’s shoes in the next Bond film, but he was probably most prominently featured as Alex West in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and as Connor Rooney in Road to Perdition.
Vaughn and Craig quickly found common ground as Vaughn says, “What [Daniel] wanted to do with the movie was what I wanted to do with it and his reservations about being in this film were my reservations about making the movie. I didn’t want to do another Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, I wanted to try and do a film which although it’s in the same vein it’s a totally different piece and he supported that.”
Then you have your female contingency and for any of you that saw Alfie know the name of Sienna Miller, the well endowed sexy gal gave audience’s a jaw dropping look at how sexy she can be in Alfie and aims to do the same here.
“Part of me was very nervous about playing someone who is that obviously sexual and slightly tarty but once I got on set, all of those worries disappeared because it was such a laugh,” Miller said.
Layer Cake is set to open in New York and LA on May 13th and will be released by Sony Pictures Classics.
To check out the entire cast list, check out production stills, trailers, clips and more click here.