INTERVIEW: Harry Potter’s Rupert Grint and co-stars on adapting Guy Ritchie’s Snatch for 2017
The television series based on the cult classic Guy Ritchie film of the same name is finally hitting UK shores this Halloween.
The 2017 television adaptation of Snatch, starring Harry Potter star Rupert Grint alongside Luke Pasqualino and Dougray Scott, premieres on AMC on October 31 at 10pm. Loosely based on a true story, Snatch offers a modern take on the adventures of a group of out-of-their-depths hustlers after they stumble across a truckload of stolen gold bullion. Together, they must learn to navigate the criminal underworld their new fortune attracts – to both terrifying and hilarious consequences.
We met up with the cast of Snatch, including Rupert Grint, Luke Pasqualino, Dougray Scott, Lucien Laviscount, Phoebe Dynevor and Tamer Hassan, during a recent press visit to London, where they discussed their love for the original film, how the series has builds upon that world and that very famous name attached to the series – Harry Potter star Rupert Grint.
We start with the film that started it all. Seventeen years ago, Guy Ritchie’s Snatch, starring big names such as Jason Statham and Brad Pitt, won critical acclaim and financial reward for its stylish depiction of the hunt for a priceless stolen diamond. The success of the original film meant it was hard to bring a re-imagining of its story to the small screen, one which Grint, who is an executive producer on the series, recalls.
“It’s always difficult when you’re making something so loved,” Grint admits, “It’s one of those films that’s really quoted and people hold it quite close to the heart, so it’s really difficult.
“This is a completely new re-imagining of it. It’s just that kind of world we kind of play in. It’s just the punchy dialogue that’s coming from the original.”
The new Snatch stars The Musketeers‘ Luke Pasqualino as Albert Hill, the son of infamous London gangster Vic Hill (Dougray Scott) – who is trying to build a reputation of his own with his aristocratic oddball friend Charlie (Rupert Grint) and rookie boxer friend Billy (Lucien Laviscount). While trying to con local criminals and fix Billy’s boxing matches, the trio inadvertently become entangled in a gold heist at the bequest of dissatisfied gangster girlfriend Lotti Mott (Phoebe Dynevor).
“The fact is there is something really quite clever about this series Alex [De Rakoff, showrunner] has come up with,” Scott tells us. “The story is real entertainment. The characters are really well drawn.”
One of the first things to notice about Snatch is the detail and care that has been taken on ensuring the characters’ costumes all represent their individual identities. Pasqualino’s Albert has a slick, dapper look going on, while his unconventional best friend Charlie sports more of a unique get up.
“Everyone’s really individual,” says Pasqualino, “I think it separates the characters and gives everyone their own identity as well. Everything I got given – everything Sian Jenkins, our costume designer – put in front of me I absolutely loved.”
“There’s kind of an old-school vibe about a lot of the costumes,” agrees Dynevor, who possesses the most beautifully extravagant wardrobe on the show. “For me, dressing up as Lotti very much got me into her. She wears some ridiculous stuff. Just getting into a pair of stiletto heels for a fight scene was brilliant.”
“I think I got the rough end of the deal,” laughs Grint. “A lot of tweed. [Charlie] kind of looks a bit like an antique dealer.”
Despite being based upon a film nearly two decades old, Snatch makes every effort to update that world to 2017. Nowadays, the way criminals work has changed entirely. Nearly half of all crime yearly in the UK takes place online, so it’s only natural crime television reflects this.
Asked what’s changed since the film, Grint answers simply: “Technology. It makes it much more difficult for us to be a criminal.”
The first episode of the series deals with this challenge in style. While struggling to succeed in his own criminal dealings, Albert has to also put up with the persistent interference of his dad Vic and Vic’s best friend Hate ‘Em All Henry (Tamer Hassan) via Facetime from prison. There’s also the problem that their bit of luck with the gold is videoed in its entirety on a teenager’s mobile phone and uploaded online for the world to see – prompting international interest.
“Stories are invented because of the technology that is around,” says Scott. “The opportunities are boundless because you can have like cyber crime. There are so many storylines you can travel down because of technology and how crooks work these days compared to how they did things 25 years ago.”
Technology isn’t the only thing that is adapted for a modern audience. One of the series’ greatest strengths over the film is its inclusion of a diverse cast, including strong female characters. Phoebe Dynevor’s Lotti Mott, a gangster’s girlfriend who turns against him when she doesn’t receive the money she is owed, is a prime example.
“It’s what I loved about the script when I read it,” Dynevor tells us, “There’s some really strong female characters in it, which is awesome because the original film doesn’t have that at all. It was great to bring something new. She’s just as badass as the boys.”
An editorial piece on Snatch would not be complete without discussing the series’ most-talked-about draw – that of Harry Potter star Rupert Grint, who both stars in and produces the show. Fortunately, his colleagues have only nice things to say about him.
“If you can’t get on with Rupert, you can’t get on with anyone,” says Hassan. “He’s a right little ray of sunshine. He’s such a lovely kid. He’s so wonderful.”
“Rupert’s a G. He’s an absolute pleasure,” agrees Laviscount. “He’s ginger. My mum’s ginger – so I love gingers.”
Their experiences are beautifully encapsulated in a story from set recounted by Pasqualino, in which Grint gave his co-stars each a wrap gift.
“He basically got us an empty box of Benson and Hedges cigarettes, gold ones. You know the bottom of the packet where it usually says smoking kills or whatever? It had Snatch 2017 engraved. On the inside there was a 24 carat gold ingot – a tiny one – like the ones we had on the show. It was such a great little gift.”