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ROCKNROLLA

About The Production
Writer/director Guy Ritchie, who previously explored the rougher edges of London in his debut hit, "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,” and later in his film "Snatch,” was fascinated by the infusion of big foreign money—mostly from Eastern Bloc countries—pushing its way into London's old school rackets. "I wanted to take a humorous look at the consequences of the new school pushing in on the territory of the old school,” says Ritchie, who is also a producer on "RocknRolla.” "This film is about trying to get into the property business, which so many people have tried to do, particularly in the last couple of years, because the profits are so vast. Everyone tries to get involved, and of course there are those that end up stepping onto banana skins.”

With new buildings going up almost daily, the city has become an endless construction site and London's skyline has been altered beyond recognition. "If you go to the top of any tall building, all you can see are cranes,” Ritchie describes. "It looks as though the cranes are breeding. And property prices continue to rocket. It goes without saying that because there's so much money involved, there are a lot of people taking advantage of the situation.”

Everyone wants in on the action—from the crime kingpin whose days are numbered, to the ambitious Eastern European whose criminal activities are hidden behind a veneer of respectability, to the accountants and bureaucrats counting the money, and, finally, to the small-time cons looking for a shortcut up the ladder of success. "What I've tried to do is amalgamate all these disparate journeys and personalities, which connect to one big whole,” Ritchie explains. "Inevitably there are connections, but they go through circuitous pathways from the upper tier to the lower and back again. We wanted to represent different facets of our society who are embroiled in this large-scale scam.”

Producer Joel Silver was immediately drawn to the intertwining elements of humor and action in Ritchie's edgy tale. "We had always talked about working together on a movie, and within 24 hours of reading it, I knew I wanted to make ‘Rocknrolla,'” Silver recalls. "Guy's vision is unique and encompasses this dynamic world inhabited by gangsters, rock stars, crooked politicians, Russian war criminals, and everyone in between.”

Producer Susan Downey adds, "‘RocknRolla' has everything people love about Guy's movies—the eclectic mix of characters, the interweaving storylines that dovetail in ways you don't see coming, the fantastic ensemble cast, the energy, the distinct visual style… But it also has an unexpected emotional layer and depth that I think sets this film apart.”

Ritchie, says Silver, has his finger on the pulse of the London criminal underworld where his stories live. "This film offers an affectionate nod to both the old school gangster, Lenny Cole, and to the up-and-coming wise guys in the Wild Bunch. But what they're encountering with these Eastern businessmen is entirely new. They don't respect the old school, and they've got the money and the muscle to change the way things are done in London. So, the old school will have to adapt to survive. It makes for a very dynamic story and a lot of wild card elements that just send the action into a whole new realm.”

Tired of barely getting by on small-time cons, the Wild Bunch is always looking for the big score. Gerard Butler stars as their de facto leader, a street-smart hustler called One Two, who is looking to play both sides of the fence. Butler had wanted to work with Ritchie since seeing "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.” "When I opened the script for ‘RocknRolla,' it was everything I could have dreamed of,” says the actor. "The film is thought-provoking, but it has also got humor, violence and silliness.”

Ritchie says that the actor poss

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