“They are analogue criminals in a digital world..” - hmv.com talks to The Hatton Garden Job director Ronnie Thompson
It was a story that shocked people all over the world, how one day in April 2015, the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company, an underground safe deposit facility in London's Hatton Garden area, was burgled by four elderly men and a much younger accomplice.
By the time the job was over it was reckoned that they walked away with goods thought to be worth around £200 million, only for four of the men to be caught a few days later. New movie The Hatton Garden Job is a re-telling of how it all came together.
Matthew Goode, Joely Richardson, Stephen Moyer, Clive Russell, Phil Daniels, Larry Lamb and David Calder star in the movie, which has been co-written and directed by Ronnie Thompson, who had previously been behind the camera on I Am Soldier and Tower Block.
As the movie comes to cinemas, we sat down with Thompson to find out all about making the movie and working on a very tight schedule...
How did you get involved in the movie?
“I was approached by Ben Jacques, the producer, he was trying to piece together a movie and he asked me to come onboard and write and direct. I was pretty far down the line with another project, so I hesitated, but as I started to go through the material, I knew I had to do it.”
How much did you know about the robbery before you got involved?
“A fair amount. I watched it with keen eyes, it was such an intriguing story and it was really funny. To pull the job off and then get caught so quickly, it was such a good narrative there.”
What surprised you the most about the story when you really looked into it?
“The fact that they executed such a physically demanding and difficult robbery then got caught after such a simple mistake. They are analogue criminals in a digital world, it’s a remarkable story. Crime is different now, but there are much younger criminals who wouldn’t have the confidence or the know-how to pull off a job like this.”
Recreating the robbery looks like it was a really physical job, was it important to you that the actors did as much as possible?
“It really was. The camera lies, it’s easy to cheat scenes like that, but I wanted it to be done, I thought it would give us real camaraderie on set and add so much to the performance, so they were drilling all day!”
How did the cast come together?
“Larry was in my mind from the second I started writing the script, he’s been in so many great crime movies over the years and he looks the part. Everyone else fell into place after that, I was particularly pleased to get Matthew, he’s the glue to the movie.”
Matthew’s character is the star in many ways, getting him must have been a big plus for the movie...
“We had to get that right. The character he plays is still at large and we know very little about him so I wanted to cast that somebody who could get the tone right and really carry the movie. He’s got great chops, he’s a good-looking lad, been around the business for a while and pulls it off every time.”
It looks like it was a lot of fun to make and the actors are enjoying each other’s company, was there good camaraderie on set?
“It was genuine. When we were getting ready for scenes and setting up, no one was off in their trailers, they were all sitting around and having a laugh, it was a very fun set.”
What was the most challenging aspect of making the film?
“The time. We had 25 days, a lot of locations, a lot to do. That said, it was really enjoyable and it went really smoothly.”
There is another Hatton Garden movie in production, this time with a much bigger budget, does that bother you at all?
“There’s going to be about 10 movies in the next 10 years about this, it’s that great a story. I’ll watch it if it comes out, a lot of movies are quick to do press releases and then they never come together, I’d rather wait until you’re two weeks in before you issue a press release and get everyone excited. Lots of people are going to want to tell their version of this story, it’s like the Great Train Robbery, but I’m a fan of the story and I look forward to seeing what other people do with it.”
Must be nice to be first though…
“It does feel good. That was more important to the distributors than me, but I feel like we should be considered the original, whatever films come next.”
The Hatton Garden Job is out in cinemas now and will be available to pre-order on DVD in the coming days.