Tag Archives: Tom Hardy

How ‘rave’ organiser Terry Turbo became film producer Terry Stone

Once Upon a Time in London there was organised crime: Terry Stone as Jack Spot (3rd from left)

The British gangster movie Once Upon a Time in London is released today. The star, co-producer and co-writer is Terry Stone.

 Once upon a time, in the 1990s, he used to organise raves under the name Terry Turbo.

How did that career change happen?

Last week, I asked him.

With rave organising now behind him, actor, producer, writer Terry Stone in sunny Soho last week.


JOHN: Your first appearance as an actor was in ‘celebrity gangster’  Dave Courtney’s 2003 movie Hell To Pay (released in 2005). That must have been an interesting experience…

TERRY: I turned up on set. There was no script and I was told “You stand there” and I said “Well, what am I going to be doing?” and they said “Just stand there” and I said “Well, I’m not going to be in the fucking film, then. I’m not going to stand there and be an extra. You said: Do you wanna be in the film? I wanna be in the film.” 

So the director gave me some lines.

Basically, the whole film was improvised with no script which, at the time, I thought was cool. But then, afterwards, I realised it was insane.

I said to the other actors: “I’ve really enjoyed being on this film. It’s been a lark. How do you go about getting into the business?” 

They told me: “Do a showreel off this work, get some pictures done, send ‘em out and see if you can get an agent.”

I thought: Sounds really simple. 

So I did that, got an agent, did a bit of EastEnders, The Bill, some theatre, My Family, the usual stuff that jobbing actors do. But, after a year… Well, anybody who’s a professional actor will tell you it’s a fucking hard life. There’s no money; there’s no work; any work you get is peanuts. You have to sweep floors, wait on tables, drive taxis – anything to just keep the lights on.

I thought: Y’know what? I’ve made a mistake here.

Because, before I got into acting, I used to run clubs all round the world.

A few of my friends who I’d told “I’ve sold my business; I’m gonna to become an actor” all asked me “How’s the acting going?”

I said to ‘em: “Not bad, but not great. I’m not earning enough money.” 

At the time, I had a mortgage, a wife, a child. 

I thought: I’ve made a massive mistake here.

A friend said: “What do you really wanna do?”

I said: “I actually wanna be in films.”

Terry Turbo – “The Rave Scene Richard Branson” said Vice

He said: You used to put on big events for 20,000, 30,000 people. How hard can it be to make a film?”

So I said: ”You got me thinking now. If I get a script, would you put some money in it?”

And he went: “I’ll put some money in.”

So I went round to all my mates and told ‘em: “Let’s all put some money in and make a film. It’ll be a laugh.”

That’s how I raised the money for my first film One Man and His Dog – and it was a dog, that film. But it was my film school. It was released and it went out in Holland, Germany. We got it out, which was an achievement, and we got 25% of our money back on it, which I thought was a disaster but, considering we didn’t know what we were doing, it was an achievement.

JOHN: How much did it cost?

TERRY: £140,000.

Then a friend of mine in the club scene contacted me and said: “Have you ever thought about doing a movie on the black-on-black gun crime in London?” It was a kinda Boyz n the Hood kinda film: Rollin’ with the Nines.

It won the Jury Prize at the Raindance Film Festival in 2005 and the director Julian Gilbey was nominated for the Carl Foreman Award at the BAFTAs. We made that for £250,000.

And that gave us a stepping stone to do Rise of the Footsoldier, which was a £1.3 million budget.

JOHN: Based on Carlton Leach’s book.

TERRY: Yes, which I hadn’t read when he suggested to me it would make a good movie. I knew Carlton from club days and I thought: Who’s gonna wanna watch a film about a doorman? At the time, I didn’t know about his involvement in the Inter City Firm or The Essex Boys.

I read his book and thought: Fucking hell! It’s really interesting! And I thought: If I was to pitch the idea, it’s The Football Factorymeets Goodfellas.

So I paid someone to write the script and I developed and created the Rise of The Footsoldier franchise. I got the money together, made it and, since then, there’s been four of them. They’re just making the fourth one now; almost finished. It comes out in October.

After that, I did a film called Doghouse but what Rise of The Footsoldier did was allow me to be an actor AND a producer and the reason I’m glad I made that decision was because, when you’re not developing something, you’re raising money. When you’re not raising money, you’re making something. When you’re not making something, you’re acting in something. There’s always something to do.

At the moment, I’m still a jobbing actor. If a role comes along and I like it and it’s well-paid, I’ll do it. You need to pay the bills.

I suppose because I’ve got a low boredom threshold, I need to be entertained… constantly.

So what I’ve done is create a load of work for myself. But I enjoy it and now it’s my 17th year in the business. I’m an old boy now. (LAUGHS LOUDLY)

JOHN: When you were doing the raves, you blew up a police car on stage at Wembley.

Terry as Tony Tucker, one of the Footsoldier’s ‘Essex Boys’

TERRY: It was all about doing something different and making it fun. Let’s do some mad shit. Blowing up a police car on stage at Wembley was funny. Having Prince William and Prince Charles and the Queen lookalikes coming to the raves was funny.

JOHN: Once Upon a Time in London is about the pre-Krays era in crime – about Jack Spot and Billy Hill who most people have not heard of…

TERRY: I think the thing about the Krays was they were ‘celebrity gangsters’. They wanted people to know who they were which, obviously, was their downfall. Whereas, if you spoke to any other criminals, they’d always be like: No publicity; no pictures. We don’t want anybody to know what we’re doing.

JOHN: What’s interesting is that, in the 1920s, they were making films about Billy The Kid and Jesse James who were active in the 1870s and 1880s – which was 40 to 50 years before. Today, the Krays’ era was around 50 years ago. There comes a point where villains become acceptable anti-heroes or even heroes.

TERRY: All the films I’ve made have been based on true crime, but they don’t glamorise it. I’m not interested in doing pretend-gangster films about a load of wallies that don’t exist. I have always had an interest in true crime. I thought about making a film about Jack Spot and Billy Hill in 2010. But, back then, nobody was doing period crime films.

JOHN: The Kray era is period crime…

TERRY: But that was the 1960s. The Jack Spot story is 1930s, 1940s, 1950s. Back in 2010, there was no Peaky Blinders, there was no Boardwalk Empire and I thought it was a bit of a risk. But then I heard Ray Winstone was gonna play both of the Krays in Legend  (it was eventually made with Tom Hardy) and Peaky Blinders came on and I thought: Now’s the time to get this going

As Jack Spot in Once Upon a Time in London: “It took a couple of years to get the money together”

It took a couple of years to get the money together and stuff but what fascinates me is that Once Upon a Time in London is about the birth of organised crime here. There’s always been crime in this country since probably the Stone Age. But actual organised crime where people have protection rackets, prostitutes working for them, they had bookmakers, they had spielers, they had restaurants, they had clubs. And you had the backdrop of the Second World War – rationing stamps, people didn’t have any money, people had lost their homes – we were fucked – So these criminals thought: There’s an opportunity here, boys! Let’s make some money!

JOHN: I don’t remember any other British gangster film focusing on the Jewish angle. Once Upon a Time in London starts with Oswald Mosley’s plans to march his blackshirts through the East End in 1936, which resulted in the Battle of Cable Street

TERRY: I think Once Upon a Time in London is the first British Jewish gangster film. 

JOHN: Now there a marketing opportunity.

TERRY: I was on page 3 of the Jewish Chronicle (LAUGHS) fully-clothed!.. The woman who interviewed me asked: “Why are you making a film to glamorize Jewish gangsters? It’s something that, really, we want to forget about.”

I said: “Listen, there’s nothing glamorous about what happened to Jack Spot…”

…  CONTINUED HERE

1 Comment

Filed under Crime, Movies, Music

Where the Kray Twins gangster film “Legend” got it all so very badly wrong

Yesterday’s blog was about comedy twins. Today’s is about gangster twins. So that, of course, means the Kray brothers. well, two thirds of them.

Micky Fawcett in the ring at Repton Boys’ Clu ethal Gree

Micky Fawcett in the ring at Repton Boxing Club

There have been three movies about the Kray Twins.

The Krays in 1990.

The Rise of the Krays which went straight to DVD in 2015.

And Legend in 2015.

Micky Fawcett has seen all three films, worked with the Krays and has written arguably the most factually accurate version of their story: Krayzy Days.

A movie based on his book is in the early stages of development.

“It’s not a Krays film,” Micky told me at the May Fair Hotel on Friday. “(The writer/director) has done an outline and we’re on the same wavelength and that’s very important. He’s read Krayzy Days and different things have caught his eye such as, while the court case was going on, I was arrested in Brussels.

“So he’s going to do your whole story?” I asked. “Including Jack Spot and the Unione Corse and everything?”

“Yeah. That’s what got his attention. He’s more interested in all that than in the Krays. They’ve been done to death. Those Kray films, I think they’re dreadful.”

“I couldn’t,” I told him, “get my brain round Legend at all because it’s basically about the supposed romance between Reggie Kray and Frances (his girlfriend and then his wife).”

“In the first Krays film,” said Micky, “they had to go that bit further and make Frances into a complete imbecile. In reality, she was quite enjoying it up to a point, but you wouldn’t want Reggie round you all the time. You wouldn’t want anybody really neurotic around you, would you? She stuck with it for a long time, but there were a couple of incidents which sort of disqualify her from being a complete little mouse. There’s the one that’s in my book and which you blogged about when Reggie approached me and said: Mick, I was sitting outside Frances’ tonight and she came along in another car.

Micky Fawcett (left) with Reggie Kray and Frances

Young Micky Fawcett (left) with Reggie Kray and Frances

“And the other time was when she and Reggie had been on holiday and had more-or-less come straight to The Hideaway, the club, and she told me: Do you know, he hasn’t laid a finger on me all the time we’ve been away. She said it straight out. And Reggie said to me…”

“Reggie,” I asked,” was actually there when she said that to you?”

“Yeah. Me and another guy; a pal of mine. She said it to us right in front of him. And Reggie said: Oh, thank god it’s only you two she’s said it to! What he was worried about was that Ronnie would get to hear about it and start making really… Cos that’s exactly what Ronnie would have liked…”

“Because?”

“Because Ronnie didn’t like women. He hated women. He really hated women, apart from his mum. He used to say: Mick, Mick, Mick, what do you see in them? They’re horrible, smelly, rotten, stinking things. He was always trying to make other people gay. Wouldn’t you like to try it with… I can get you a nice boy…

“A feller called Ron Stafford – I think he’ll be dead by now – he said to him: Ronnie, I just don’t have the glands to appreciate it. He was an educated feller.”

“It was the sex thing,” I said, “that threw me in Legend. The Reggie and Frances relationship.”

“And the Twins never raised their voices,” said Micky. “They shout in the film. I never heard Reggie shout at all. Not ever. Ronnie might shout in a low voice at Reggie. He wouldn’t shout at someone else he was angry with. He wouldn’t alarm you so you could run or defend yourself. He would just attack.

Micky Fawcett (left) with Ronnie Kray

Micky Fawcett (left) with Ronnie Kray way back in the 1960s

“In the film, Ronnie shouts at people and then he comes back with a claw hammer and then spends a quarter of an hour bashing ‘em on the head. That’s mad. One whack with a lead pipe and you’re gone.”

“In both films,” I said, “The Krays and Legend – the Twins fight each other – in the boxing ring in The Krays and in the club in Legend. That’s not true, is it?”

“They often came to blows,” said Micky. “Not for long, but they would really belt each other – really punch into each other. I dunno who used to start it, really. It just happened.”

“There’s a scene in the first film, The Krays,” I said, “where they get in the back of a van and they have sub-machine guns. They didn’t have those sort of things, did they?”

“Nah. They didn’t have a big mob around them either. They never had a big gang round them.”

“It was like something out of Chicago,” I said.

“It wasn’t like that at all,” laughed Micky. “That was for America or… I dunno. Or for anyone daft enough to…”

“And swords,” I said, “crop up in both The Krays and in Legend. The Twins didn’t use swords, did that?”

“No,” said Micky. “But, once someone mentions anything once, it becomes a fact.

David Litvinoff was a gay guy who worked for the William Hickey column on the old Daily Express – in 1961. He spoke very well; he was an educated man. (He was ‘dialogue coach and technical adviser’ on the gangster sections of the 1968 movie Performance.) But he was originally a Jewish EastEnder.

“When Johnny Davies and I had the trouble at the Hammer Club – somebody got shot in the bollocks – it’s in the book – I went up to Esmeralda’s Barn and took Johnny Davies with me and asked Ronnie Kray: Can you give us some help?

Ronnie Kray (right) with Bobby Buckley

Ronnie Kray (right) with tug-of-love boyfriend Bobby Buckley

“He said: We’ve just taken a flat off a feller in lieu of a debt. He said: Here’s the keys. It was 7 Ashburn Place in Kensington and the feller was David Litvinoff. He had previously been having an affair with a young feller called Bobby Buckley, who Ronnie was madly in love with.

“So we moved in the flat and Litvinoff and Ronnie were rivals for this boy. Litvinoff was very naive about it all. I was sitting around with him and Ronnie one day and Litvinoff said: Mick, we’ve gotta get a good nickname for Ronnie, here. I think we should call him Hook Nose cos he’s got a big hook nose. 

“A lot later, I saw Litvinoff in Oxford Street, right outside Oxford Circus station, and this is where the sword business comes from – this is where it all comes from. The feller with me saw Litvinoff and said to me: Oh, he looks like a cat.

“Because Ronnie told me he’d got a feller – he told me the feller’s name – to walk up to Litvinoff in the street and slash his mouth horizontally – right into both cheeks.”

“A Glasgow smile,” I said.

“The Twins had just got their 30 years,” said Micky, “and Litvinoff told me: You know, I’m not sure if I’m pleased they’ve gone away or not.

Reg Kray (right) & Charlie Kray (left) at their brother Ronnie’s funeral; Steve Wraith is behind.

Ronnie’s funeral: Charlie Kray (left) with Reggie (bottom right)

“Charlie doesn’t appear in Legend at all,” I said. “Maybe they thought it would be too complicated for American audiences to have twins and a third brother.”

“The Twins didn’t like the first film,” Micky told me. “They hated Charlie for it all the rest of his life.”

“He was involved in The Krays?” I asked.

“He was the technical advisor,” said Micky. “He got £250,000 for it. But Charlie would have been: Do it, then. I’ll be in the bar. Who’s that girl over there?

“Have you seen The Wee Man?” I asked. (It was directed by Ray Burdis, who produced The Krays.)

“Yeah,” said Micky. “I thought it was a good film. Did you?”

“I thought it was a very good film, but it has very little to do with the facts of what actually happened. Arthur Thompson, for some extraordinary reason, is played with an Irish accent. And it’s very biased and you can see why. It’s Paul Ferris creating his own legend.”

Krayzy Days – remembered as they were

Krayzy Days – remembered as they were

“The thing is,” said Micky, “they could have made a similar film about the Krays. If they had said: It is loosely based on… I wouldn’t argue about any of it; I’d probably have enjoyed it. But it is supposed to be factual. The critics seem to think Tom Hardy did a good job with Reggie. They see him swaggering about. But Reggie was a little feller. He wasn’t a big feller.”

“And he didn’t swagger?” I asked.

“Not like Tom Hardy does, no. I’m not in love with Tom Hardy in it at all. Not at all.”

“I’ve not seen The Rise of the Krays.” I told Micky.

“Don’t bother,” he told me.

There is a trailer for The Wee Man on YouTube.

5 Comments

Filed under Crime, Movies