The making of Legend - Director Brian Helgeland tells us about his take on The Krays and Tom Hardy, Emily Browning & Christopher Eccleston discuss the making of Legend – IN CONVERSATION


Posted by Craig Grobler on Google+ On Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Legend European Press ConferenceTo be fair it seemed Legend was on the back foot with me from the get go. I am most definitely not a fan of straight up East End gangster films, especially if they are set in the 50/60s. The reality of post war trauma seems to bleed into every aspect of creativity and tales of this time seem mired in the bleak kitchen sink social realism that had become the mainstay sensibility of the day.

Sadly, this still proliferates the British gangster genre. And for me at least, it always seems that in an effort to show “how it really was/is” the entertainment value of the film is smothered, stuffed uncomfortably into a cement laden barrel and then dumped in the Thames. Don't even get me started on the authentically dark camera work and more often than not dank locations.

This is of course a sweeping generalisation and there is something inherently British about this combination that sometimes gives seed to masterful acting, great character studies, immersive style Cinéma vérité or poignant storytelling but more than not it's overshadowed by a noticeable diminishing of the entertainment factor. Some of my favourite noir films have sprung from this very combination like Jules Dassin's unforgettable Night and the CityJoseph Losey's Time Without Pity and more recently Paul McGuigan's Gangster No. 1 and more that I cannot think of off the cuff.

Add to that, that I am by no means a fan or have any interest in The Kray Twins. Ronnie and Reggie sound like wholly unlikeable chaps, again to be fair I have limited knowledge of the subject matter.

All that combined under the film's tagline: “The notorious true story of The Kray Twins” should have spelt cinematic disaster for me.

Legend

Legend tells the story of two twins, Reggie and Ronald Kray and how they became two of the most notorious gangsters in history.


Director:
Brian Helgeland


Writer:
Brian Helgeland, John Pearson


Stars:
Tom Hardy, Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, Taron Egerton, Paul Bettany, Aneurin Barnard, David Thewlis, Christopher Eccleston, Chazz Palminteri
Legend One Sheet Poster
Legend One Sheet Poster (Enlarge)

I don’t know what the truth is but I thought to find something in the middle of all of that would be the truest thing I could do and I was interested in humanising them in a way.” - Legend Director, Brian Helgeland


But as it turned out Brian Helgeland's Legend is quite a different film and I really enjoyed it. Yes, Tom Hardy does indeed come out with both barrels charismatically blazing with aplomb - but it's one of a rare period East End gangster films that even though it's mostly based in and around a seedy and downbeat world steeped in staid parochial traditions Brian Helgeland constructs an environment that is alluring, hopeful and crosses over to the International mainstream whilst maintaining the erstwhile British edgy, growling attitude and traditions of the time.

     THE ESTABLISHING SHOT: TOM HARDY IN THE KRAY'S LEGEND UK TRAILER - 9 SEP 2015                                        

On the flip side of the aforementioned negatives, as I have previously said - Legend Writer and Director Brian Helgeland has a really interesting and unconventional body of work including; Highway to Hell (if you didn't see it in the 90s you may have missed the window for this surreal tale), Conspiracy TheoryA Knight's Tale, Mystic RiverMan on Fire & Green Zone and was involved in two of my favourite noir films - he directed the remake of John Boorman's Point Blank - Payback and adapted James Ellroy's L.A. Confidential for the screen - for which he won an Oscar.

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His body of work really seems to be that of someone who loves film and interesting stories albe-it/they sometimes commercially risky. So I was genuinely interested to see what Helgeland would do with a potentially stifling 50s set London gangster tale.

So it was with some glee that early on while watching Legend I started feeling that certain magical something of watching a film that completely takes me by surprise and sweeps me away. Pretty soon I was hanging on every scene and the spectacle of Tom Hardy's performances as both Kray twins was a large part of this - the last time I felt like this was when watching Jean-Marc Vallée's Dallas Buyers Club. I was shifted from quiet hope to being totally immersed in a compelling environment that I couldn't get enough of.

Of course no talk of Legend would be complete with at least 23 mentions of its double lead Tom Hardy who grows from strength to strength winning audiences over with his own distinctive configuration of boyish good looks, Brando'eske physicality (via a London swagger), all whilst charming us into believing that it is all just a veneer to hide his every boy vulnerability.

Almost as much is said about Hardy's looks as should be said about the unexpected and dicey role choices that he makes - a gamble that is paying off, allowing his particular brand of skill and talent to breathe unique and credible life into every idiosyncratic character he plays on screen. Hardy is a serious talent and clearly dedicated to his craft so it's is no surprise to those who have watched him completely posses characters from the beginning that he has steadily risen up the ranks to breathe the rarefied air of an A-lister (all whilst flying under the radar and avoiding the chintzy limelight affording him an air of mystery about his persona - adding to the longevity of being able to inhabit different characters on screen with plausibility. We never know what he's going to bring to the show, we just know it will be good whatever or whoever he is.

With Legend Hardy has his work cut out for him taking on the dual roles of Ronnie and Reggie Kray and the brothers seem to struggle with each other as much as they do with life. They are in almost every sense a dichotomy - apart from their unshakeable loyalty to each other and family – and this is deep enough foundation for Hardy to build the contrasting personalities of the brothers on.

Ron is an unpredictable intense psychotic who seems to be keen on building an empire as long as it doesn't get in the way of his primary focus - beating the crap out of anyone in eye sight and intimidating everyone else. Reg seems to want a better life for himself and working with the best tools he has at his disposable crime and The Krays propensity to go further than others to achieve their goals. Not only does Hardy physically transform himself into each of The Krays but he brilliantly plays with the twins personalities and audience expectation as he defies the audience from being able to pigeon hole either of the brothers easily - letting them both have complex inner workings revealing their darker sides as well as letting them shine with personable humanity in their own special ways.

Hardy brings both of The Krays to life with charisma, humour and tragedy - as it becomes apparent that the brother's bond is not only their greatest strength but their greatest weakness. Not only does Hardy have to fight for control of the screen with himself but Helgeland creates a compelling cinematic world precariously balancing between romantic and aspirational hope, dark comic satire, bloody violence and tragedy, he populates this world with interesting characters, played by engaging talent across the board to bring London of the 50s to life with their own English quirks and personalities

My only gripe in this respect is that Hardy is possibly given too much screen time and presence, not leaving much for the rest of the cast to bring sufficient depth to their characters - mainly the key roles played by Emily Browning as Frances Shea and Christopher Eccleston's Detective Chief Superintendent Nipper Reed - The Krays arch nemesis and the man who became embroiled in their fates to their detriment.

On seeing Legend I felt that it was very much a Tom Hardy film and it was all very engaging. And granted, whilst Legend is not the story of Frances Shea or Nipper Reed or even the struggle between Reed and The Krays, these elements certainly are pivotal parts of the weave - Legend is the story of The Kray Brothers, a force of nature and the world sucked into their orbit - but after sitting in a large room and hearing Browning and Eccleston chat about the making of Legend I couldn't help but feel that there was a bit of wasted opportunity - given more screen time to flesh out their character's personalities or depth to their backstories would have given more weight to their own struggles - both of these talented performers would have brought something very special to the world that Helgeland creates.

It wasn't so much what they said, but how they said it - particularly Christopher Eccleston who was electric and sparkles with brilliance. Many may already know this, given his Dr Who following but discovering the man's brilliance was revelatory for me, he was like some sort of mesmeric that had us eating out of his hands. Given a bigger role or more screen time I'm pretty sure Eccleston would have given Hardy a real show stealing run for his money.

In fairness bear in mind that I'm not taking anything away from Hardy, in the short time we had with the Legend team most of the questions were directed at him first and he did the bulk of the talking whilst the rest of the team had time to gather their thoughts and energise.

Brian Helgeland immediately goes against the usual 60s gangster clichés and gives Legend an accessible appeal as he makes London look as beautiful as we know it can be - by shooting when the sun is out (unless it is pertinent to the mood of the story at certain parts where the weather plays a symbolic role). This is a fairly minor thing but, for me, brought the gangster story out of the seedy and stifling ambience, plays with our expectations and gives post war London a personality of hope and a brighter future - which is a big part of why the 60s were swinging, baby. And Helgeland's dialogue is also full of many wonderful turns of phrase and colourful British language bringing its own charm to the piece.

When the opportunity came up to chat with the team from Legend I was excited about the chance to gain some first hand knowledge about the making of the Legend.

We were asked to focus on Legend for the discussion, which is understandable as most of the team involved have a body of work and upcoming projects that could be analysed and discussed Ad infinitum like:

Tom Hardy has such an ardent following that almost every aspect of his performances and private life is scrutinised and explored as well as - he has many big projects in development that any news hound would love to chat about like; The Revenant in which he re teams with Leonardo DiCaprio, Splinter Cell, the adaptation of the DC Comics 100 Bullets, upcoming biopics Cicero in which he plays Al Capone & Rocketman in which he plays Elton John, Greg Williams' London based ex vet drama Samarkand, working with Kathryn Bigelow for the tragic 9/11 aftermath drama The True American and it has just been announced that Tom Hardy will be back in George Miller's Mad Max: The Wasteland as well as another in the series.

Hardy has with surprising speed parlayed his talent and leading man status into that of a serious power player with his production company Hardy Son & Baker which have a hand in his upcoming projects; like the upcoming adaptation of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell and not one but two animal poaching and trafficking dramas that Leonardo DiCaprio & Tobey Maguire may be involved in. Alongside these huge scale productions his company is involved in TV shows like Taboo a period drama based on an idea from Tom's father being co-produced by Ridley Scott's team

And amongst Christopher Eccleston's copious outstanding performances he counts turns in many well known cult and fan favourites including; LOST writers current TV show The Leftovers, Heroes, Danny Boyle's Shallow Grave & 28 Days Later..., The League of Gentlemen, villain Malekith in Thor: The Dark World, Fortitude, the anticipated Safe House and of course his turn as Doctor Who.

Brian Hegeland's no slouch in the possible upcoming projects department either as he is rumoured to be on board Sony's much discussed Cleopatra that had Angelina JolieDavid Fincher and James Cameron attached at various stages. Robert Zemeckis' maritime monster tale Here There Be MonstersRon Howard's conquistador epic The Serpent and the EagleSlayer a dragon fantasy written by his son for Legendary and his long gestating remake of Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch originally attached to Tony Scott

However conversation pieces I had considered delving into prior to the press conference included:

After seeing Legend enjoying it and pretty much been swept away into the world of The Krays  I was keen to understand how much of Helgeland's film was actually true? As promised by the film's tagline. Given the breadth of literature about The Krays why did he settle on adapting John Pearson's book - The Profession of Violence? And what other sources did he draw on?

Given his varied body of work I was particularly curious about how Director Brian Helgeland got involved with the Legend? Was it a passion project, was he fascinated by The Krays or British crime stories in general? Or was he offered the project and took the opportunity to work with the team brought together. Inquiring minds want to know.

I was interested in how the team got involved in Legend and what Helgeland thought they brought to his film.

What was the important for Helgeland to convey or capture with the finished film?

What happened on Payback - Brian Helgeland's directorial debut? He left the production just before the film wrapped and released his edit of the film a decade later Payback: Straight Up—The Director’s Cut. Director's cut.

As he seems to have a fondness for the crime genre, would he revisit the works of Donald E. Westlake?

Could he tell us anything about the status of the rumoured Wild Bunch remake he is working on?

With Legend Tom Hardy takes the roles of  both lead characters but how does being a Producer affect his approach to his performance?

What draws Tom Hardy to the characters he plays?

Could Tom Hardy discuss his process of creating characters for screen? Not only the research he undertakes but how he forms personality, physical movement and the vocal inflection of his characters. With particular focus on: both Ronnie and Reggie Krays from Legend, Sam Fisher from the upcoming Splinter CellLeo Demidov from Child 44, Bane from The Dark Knight Rises and Forrest Bondurant from Lawless.

And what of the Tom Hardy James Bond speculation? Well of course an Establishing Shot post without exploring the James Bond connections would be remiss. Don't get me wrong I'm far from speculating on Daniel Craig being replaced - I'm a huge fan of Daniel Craig's Bond and hope that he stays on for as long as he wants to.

But it's no secret that to win projects grand cinematic efforts and gestures can put you ahead of competitors. Amongst other examples see Producer Matthew Vaughn's 2004 Bond audition and directorial debut starring Daniel Craig - Layer Cake and “There were 24 hours when I was directing Casino Royale [2006]”.

The long and the short of it delivered without comment: Tom Hardy is currently working with long time associate and celebrated Bond photographer turned director Greg Williams on his debut feature Journey to Samarkand now just Samarkand produced by none other than Tom Hardy.

Brian Helgeland's Legend is an adaptation of a book considered to be the best resource on The Krays called The Profession of Violence, written by John Pearson. Pearson is considered to be a serious authority on The Krays and has written a series of books on them.

John Pearson is also a well known authority on author Ian Fleming and his character James Bond and has written books on the both the real author The Life of Ian Fleming and a biography of the fictional character James Bond: The Authorized Biography of 007.

Legend Tom Hardy wields a Walther PPK
Legend Tom Hardy wields a Walther PPK (ZOOM)
I'm pretty sure that a gun, not the infamous Krays Luger, but the gun used by Reggie in a pivotal scene is a Walther PPK - the same gun assigned to James Bond.

And finally there is this, you really need to see Legend for the full effect as the pictures below don't quite capture the similarities between; the scene in Legend where Tom Hardy's Reggie Kray plays cards in Esmeralda's Barn as Emily Browning's Frances Shea looks on ...

Legend Tom Hardy as Reggie Kray plays cards at Esmeralda's Barn
Legend Tom Hardy as Reggie Kray plays cards at Esmeralda's Barn (ZOOM)
... and the scene from Dr. No that takes place at Le Cercle, less than 10 minutes walk away from Esmeralda's Barn in the real world in which Sean Connery introduces himself to Sylvia Trench (Eunice Gayson) and the world as "Bond, James Bond".

Dr. No Sean Connery's first scene as James Bond at Les Cercle
Dr. No Sean Connery's first scene as James Bond at Les Cercle (ZOOM)

     Video: Legend Movie Clip "Esmeralda's Barn" - Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, Taron Egerton                                        

Coincidence? Or is this the Inception of Tom Hardy throwing his hat into the ring for the coveted role? If so, probably worth thinking about which director Tom Hardy may wish to work with? Possibly someone with the right credentials and has worked with him on at least two films previously.

You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.”
                                                                        - Eames, Inception

The Legend press conference was more than capably hosted by the people's champion and Empire Magazine's 's News Editor Chris Hewitt and the Legend team attending were Director Brian Helgeland, Lead actors; Tom HardyEmily Browning and Christopher Eccleston. Sadly Mr. David Thewlis did not attend.

Tom wore a Rum Knuckles T-Shirt, short hair under a cap and a beard the look coincidentally favoured by low key in country Special forces. Initially and I had presumed the filming of Splinter Cell was ramping up and this was going to be Sam Fischer's look - but I suspect that this is the period look his character James Keziah Delaney from his upcoming TV series Taboo will be sporting. Emily Browning exuded a quiet confidence, whilst Director Brian Helgeland had an easy East Coast laid backness and as I said earlier Christopher Eccleston was on fire.

There was an obvious chemistry between the team, which kept the discussion light and we all cracked up on occasion with all the joshery and word play going on. I have not inserted the customary "..he/she said jokingly.." or "[.. then we all laughed..]" but bear in mind the light mood when reading the below.

Topics of discussion covered included:

- Brian Helgeland, Tom Hardy, Emily Browning & Christopher Eccleston discuss their first experience of The Kray Twins
- Brian Helgeland discusses his approach to telling the story of Legend
- Tom Hardy, Emily Browning and Christopher Eccleston discuss researching their roles for Legend
- Tom Hardy breaks down the characters of Ron and Reggie Kray in Legend
- Christopher Eccleston discusses his character Nipper Reed's motivation and inspiration
- Emily Brown discusses her character Frances Shea
- Tom Hardy discusses his physical transformation between The Kray Brothers
- Emily Browning and Christopher Eccleston discuss their period costume
- Brian Helgeland discusses how he approached the role of The Krays mother for Legend
- Brian Helgeland & Tom Hardy discuss the challenges and techniques of shooting two Tom Hardys
- Emily Brown and Christopher Eccleston discuss the experience of working with two Tom Hardys on Legend
- Tom Hardy discusses his approach to playing the sexuality of the Kray Twins
- Brian Helgeland & Tom Hardy discuss the grey association where celebrity and the underworld sometimes meet
- Tom Hardy discusses his thoughts on The Krays and gives some insight into his approach to his projects


The Establishing Shot: LEGEND PRESS CONFERENCE - MODERATOR CHRIS HEWITT, DIRECTOR BRIAN HELGELAND, TOM HARDY, EMILY BROWNING & CHRISTOPHER ECCLESTON SHARE A JOKE - SOHO HOTEL, LONDON
The Establishing Shot: LEGEND PRESS CONFERENCE - MODERATOR CHRIS HEWITT, DIRECTOR BRIAN HELGELAND, TOM HARDY, EMILY BROWNING & CHRISTOPHER ECCLESTON SHARE A JOKE - SOHO HOTEL, LONDON

Brian Helgeland, Tom Hardy, Emily Browning & Christopher Eccleston discuss their first experience of The Kray Twins
Chris Hewitt: When did you first hear about The Krays?                                                      

Brian Helgeland: Yea! I can tell you it was in 1988 - because I had been asked to go on tour with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. I heard about them then from a guy who was involved with the band - he told me some stories about them.

I was very interested, because when I first heard Krays I thought it was like a wild animal. I didn’t know what a Kray was but I quickly learned. It was just a fascinating thing. I didn’t think I wanted to do a film about them until I was contacted by Working Title many years later but that’s the first time I ever heard of them.

Tom Hardy: I think as a kid you see the books in the True Crime section. Well, I did anyway. I had a brief interest in True Crime when I was about fifteen, going on holiday, or whatever, and grabbing a book. So, that’s when they first came across my horizon as it where.

They are as familiar as a red telephone box in many aspects, so that was then. Then playing them was a question of going back and looking at all the source material available - and there’s a lot of source material on The Krays.

Emily Browning: I honestly had never heard of them until I read the script and that’s my whole story!

Christopher Eccleston: Who are the Krays?

Teenage boy like Tom. I think there is a point when teenage boys get very interested in Gothic violence and I remember going to the true crime section a lot. I would have been around the same age, about 14 I think. And I have twin brothers, so I was particularly interested in them.

Ronnie Kray and Reggie Kray Drink Tea
Ronnie Kray and Reggie Kray Drink Tea Image: © Hulton Archive Getty Images (Enlarge)


Brian Helgeland discusses his approach to telling the story of Legend
The Establishing Shot: The production notes we received, go into this to some degree and it seems that Legend the film, is well, legend - but I was wondering why you chose John Pearson's book The Profession of Violence as the basis for the film and can you discuss how much of the film is fiction, anecdotal and factual?                                                      

Brian Helgeland: The producers had options on the book The Profession of Violence at the beginning which I looked at and thought was great.

The Establishing Shot: LEGEND PRESS CONFERENCE - DIRECTOR BRIAN HELGELAND DISCUSSES MAKING LEGEND & THE KRAYS - SOHO HOTEL, LONDON
The Establishing Shot: LEGEND PRESS CONFERENCE - DIRECTOR BRIAN HELGELAND DISCUSSES MAKING LEGEND & THE KRAYS - SOHO HOTEL, LONDON
I felt obligated to try to cover as much of everything as I could. So I read a lot of books, met some people that The Krays knew when they were adults, read a lot of bad stuff as far as schlocky material

What I thought was interesting was is that it’s so extreme, from helping old ladies cross the street to nailing people to the floor. I’d never come across people that had such an extreme kind of mythology behind them. So my approach was to try and find something in the middle

I don’t know what the truth is but I thought to find something in the middle of all of that would be the truest thing I could do and I was interested in humanising them in a way.


Tom Hardy, Emily Browning and Christopher Eccleston discuss researching their roles for Legend
Chris Hewitt: I would like to open that question up to the actors in terms of the research you did, how did you go about doing it? Did you speak to people that were involved with the Krays? Did you read books?

Tom Hardy: There’s always a question about research isn’t there, as if "have you done your homework?" No, no I didn’t really know what I was doing.

To a certain degree that’s true and you have to let it be, what it is. But there is in fact a plethora of research that one can do on The Krays. Right down to - I even had Reggie’s watch which he died in on my wrist and we had various members of that world come out and talk and had various private meetings.

The one primary visual source, is them on the BBC speaking for a minute but you can’t really take a lot from that because, you know, they were on a show so you can’t tell if that is their true voice or true mannerisms. There’s lots of photos, and mainly people’s legend or mythic tales which are usually asinine that are usually circulated by people that didn’t know them – you get a lot of them come out.

It forms patterns of stories and anecdotes that seem to reappear a lot. Also, I had loads of diaries as well and footage from a Panorama documentary. So … yeah, I did loads of research – there you go

The Establishing Shot: LEGEND PRESS CONFERENCE - EMILY BROWNING ON HER CHARACTER FRANCES SHEA - SOHO HOTEL, LONDON
The Establishing Shot: LEGEND PRESS CONFERENCE - EMILY BROWNING ON HER CHARACTER FRANCES SHEA - SOHO HOTEL, LONDON

Emily Browning: There’s really not as much information available about Frances as there is about The Krays themselves which is actually kind of nice for me. As I didn’t feel like there was as much pressure on me to, not to get it right but people don’t have as much of a strong idea of who Frances is as they do about The Krays.

You know, I had little bits and pieces and Brian actually got me a few letters that Frances had written to Reggie. That was kind of my lighthouse. That was sort of what I held on to and kind of built her around that. I’m not very good at doing my homework either, a lot of my research for me was about the accent and learning about the time & the place, but otherwise I just kind of did it.


Christopher Eccleston: To quote David Bowie,
I threw my homework on the fire and I took the car downtown”.

I think there's a load of bullocks spoken about research.

Tom Hardy: Totally mate!

Christopher Eccleston: I think it's make believe and I felt what Brian had written sent a very clear message to me about what he wanted, and so I relied entirely on what was in the script and what happened on the set.

Me and Brian did have a number of conversations about what kind of a dog Nipper Reed might be. I think we decided on a bloodhound because apparently a bloodhound, according to Brian Helgeland, and this may be complete fantasy, will run until it dies, will chase a criminal or its prey or whatever until its heart bursts. So, we had a bloodhound and I threw in Malvolio from Twelfth Night because we thought of Nipper Reed is absolutely puritanical. A man of the 50s and a man who did not want the 60s to happen, who did not want The Krays to have sex and fun, who did not not want The Rolling Stones to have fun.

So he was the man from the previous ten, twenty years. So no homework - just drugs with Brian Helgeland.

Tom Hardy as Reg & Ronnie Kray in Legend
Tom Hardy as Reg & Ronnie Kray in Legend (Enlarge)

Tom Hardy breaks down the characters of Ron and Reggie Kray in Legend
Tom, in the production notes it says you were more interested in playing Ron Kray rather than Reg, what drew you more to play one than the other?                                                      

Tom Hardy: That is paraphrased. The truth is just from a technical point of view Ron is predictably unpredictable. So for a performer it’s fun to play because you have everything on the smorgasbord you can use, you have multiple options and you can pull the rug out from anyone you want at any given time.

So he's a free ball character even if he wasn’t Ronnie Kray, if you were playing Idi Amin it would be the same thing to a certain extent.

Whether you’re naturalising that, or whether you are going for a full heightened reality or arch super-realism or however you wanted to play it - that character is a free ball character you can roam freely with in any scene.

Whereas Reggie is constrained to boundaries and a strict discipline, he has to [operate] in a by the line way and go a,b,c,d,e,f,g. And in some aspects that’s kind of boring for me. I don’t want to go straight down the line. I want lateral choices and I want to have fun.

So I was drawn initially, because I have a bit of a disco ball head - to Ronnie. As there’s some options there, with Reg I know he’s going that way – and I'm not going to take him the other way.


Christopher Eccleston as Nipper Read in Legend
Christopher Eccleston as Nipper Read in Legend (Enlarge)
Christopher Eccleston discusses his character Nipper Reed's motivation and inspiration
A question for Chris...                                                      

Christopher Eccleston: About David Bowie?

I would love a long conversation about that but at what point do you think Nipper Reed becomes obsessed by the Krays? There is a scene where you face off with them in the nightclub...

Christopher Eccleston: [Repeating his lines from the scene verbatim] “I was working class. I was a boxer too. It didn't turn me into a thief.”

The Establishing Shot: LEGEND PRESS CONFERENCE - ACTOR CHRISTOPHER ECCLESTON DISCUSSES HIS CHARACTER NIPPER REED - SOHO HOTEL,   LONDON
The Establishing Shot: LEGEND PRESS CONFERENCE - ACTOR CHRISTOPHER ECCLESTON DISCUSSES HIS CHARACTER NIPPER REED - SOHO HOTEL,   LONDON
I seized on the class theme that Brian presented, which was that he believed that they were from similar backgrounds and that he felt a great deal of class shame about what they were doing. I think Nipper was obsessive generally, I think you probably have to be. I think what’s interesting about Nipper is surviving in the Metropolitan Police at the time as a Northern copper, that must have been difficult. I think he was a workaholic, I think he was obsessive and he was humiliated as we show in the film on numerous occasions by Ron and Reg and didn’t forget that. And got there in the end.


Emily Browning as Frances Shea & Tom Hardy as Reg Kray in Legend
Emily Browning as Frances Shea & Tom Hardy as Reg Kray in Legend (Enlarge)
Emily Brown discusses her character Frances Shea
Emily, looking at the characters you’ve played, including this one, I’ve realised that collectively they’ve been raped, violently abused, orphaned, lobotomised and killed. My question is - what do you see as the dangers and value in depicting the victimisation of women on screen?                                                     

Emily Browning: I think I have played something like seven films where my character has been in a mental institution. It’s not intentional I don’t know how it happens. I don’t have my career path planned out. When something comes along that makes me feel something - I go for it.

The Establishing Shot: LEGEND PRESS CONFERENCE - STARS TOM HARDY & EMILY BROWNING CHAT - SOHO HOTEL, LONDON
The Establishing Shot: LEGEND PRESS CONFERENCE - STARS TOM HARDY & EMILY BROWNING CHAT - SOHO HOTEL, LONDON
I don’t see Frances as a victim really. I think she could have easily been written differently, she could have been a bit wet, a bit sad and pathetic. I just think that the way Brian wrote her and the way that I wanted to play her was - as a human being. She’s complex.

She comes to a very tragic end and her story is quite sad but I think she’s ballsy and she has the guts to stand up to the boys. I don’t know if many people would have had that strength. So I don’t see her as a tragic character by any means.

Tom Hardy as Reg & Ronnie Kray in Legend
Tom Hardy as Reg & Ronnie Kray Legend (Enlarge)

Tom Hardy discusses his physical transformation between The Kray Brothers
How long did it take to do your turnaround with your transformation between Reg and Ron, in terms of make-up was your turn around for changing between the brothers?                                                     

Tom Hardy: I think it must have been around an hour, an hour and a half.

Brian Helgeland: It was about an hour.

Tom Hardy: It had to be quite quick. So we had wig, teeth, plumper up the nose, ageing stipple. So there was an hours worth of make-up between Reggie and Ronnie. We only had seven weeks to shoot so we couldn't faff about and had to get on with it quite quickly.

The Establishing Shot: LEGEND PRESS CONFERENCE - TOM HARDY DISCUSSES PLAYING BOTH RONNIE & REGGIE KRAY - SOHO HOTEL, LONDON
The Establishing Shot: LEGEND PRESS CONFERENCE - TOM HARDY DISCUSSES PLAYING BOTH RONNIE & REGGIE KRAY - SOHO HOTEL, LONDON
There were wedges in the shoes because Ronnie had to be a bit taller, and he had an extra layer of shirts, so his shirts looked bigger. Double breasted jacket, then a waistcoat and glasses. So there was a different silhouette between the two guys and it all had to come in under an hour, hour and a half.


     Video: LEGEND - STYLE IN THE 1960's - 9 SEP 2015                                        

The Establishing Shot: LEGEND PRESS CONFERENCE - ACTOR CHRISTOPHER ECCLESTON - SOHO HOTEL,   LONDON
The Establishing Shot: LEGEND PRESS CONFERENCE - ACTOR CHRISTOPHER ECCLESTON - SOHO HOTEL,   LONDON
Emily Browning and Christopher Eccleston discuss their period costume
Can the cast tell us a little bit about their period costumes?                                                     

Emily Browning: It was great. I love that period in terms of fashion so it was very enjoyable for me.

Christopher Eccleston: I looked exactly like my paternal grandfather and he was a frightening man. I was struck by that when they put me in the gear and I looked at myself, and I based it on him actually - his effect on me as a child, and his basic outlook as I imagined it. So it was helpful.


Brian Helgeland discusses how he approached the role of The Kray's mother for Legend
Brian, The Krays' Mother is quite a small role in Legend but she is very influential. Were you concerned about that at all?                                                     

Brian Helgeland: Yeah, but I thought that we had Frances and her mum as a child and her mother relationship and I thought that was enough for the film. So much has been done about the Mom and the boys that I wanted to stay away from it, in a way, because that’s a thing that’s really been done to death. But within that - I think we have a very interesting scene with the three of them.

The Establishing Shot: LEGEND PRESS CONFERENCE - LEAD ACTORS TOM HARDY & EMILY BROWNING - SOHO HOTEL, LONDON
The Establishing Shot: LEGEND PRESS CONFERENCE - LEAD ACTORS TOM HARDY & EMILY BROWNING - SOHO HOTEL, LONDON
Also I know how everyone talks about how close they were with their mum and all those things but every gangster story I know the boys are close with their Mom and I didn’t especially take it as a thing that was unique to them. Maybe that’s not true and that’s my own point of view but I thought that Frances and her Mom covered Mom's and their kids in the film in a way that I didn’t need to look into it with them as their Mom.

     Video: LEGEND - REGGIE KRAY AND FRANCES FIRST DATE - NEW CLIP - 9 SEP 2015                                        


Brian Helgeland & Tom Hardy discuss the challenges and techniques of shooting two Tom Hardys
The visuals of having to Tom Hardys on screen was very effective. Was there a particular shot that was challenging? If so how did you work around it?                                                     

Brian Helgeland: We tried to not make the camera too aware of what was going on, to try not draw attention to what he was doing. It was a lot of little things really. There were some things that we found out were just untenable as far as how much time they took up like; motion shots and things like that. We had a couple of tricks and we used them over and over again without getting too fancy.

Tom Hardy: It was a question of how we were going to do it. Once we started it was basic, there was no CGI or stuff like that, because there was no budget for it - so it was back to old school, slightly basic drill I suppose.

The Establishing Shot: LEGEND PRESS CONFERENCE - INTENSE TOM HARDY - SOHO HOTEL, LONDON
The Establishing Shot: LEGEND PRESS CONFERENCE - INTENSE TOM HARDY - SOHO HOTEL, LONDON
We were finding out for the first time how things would work, split screen, talking to a tennis ball or talking to Jacob [Jacob Tomuri – Tom Hardy's Stunt Double]. Ultimately there had to be another actor there, somebody who I could act opposite, who would not only take notes of what I was doing at the top of the day, but who could replicate it at the end of the day but also leave an opportunity for me to change it at the end of the day.

It was more of a mental puzzle that needed to be unpacked, and then breathe life into it from my perspective. At the same time, you have the rest of the cast there who in real time are having to deal with the fact that they have a split dynamic in the room.

It was kind of mathematical, in a strange way - you sort of let the bitch breathe as it were and then stop, start, turn it all around again, then let the bitch breathe again. It was a mixtures of sums and geometric shapes, maths and a bit of creative blagging.

Brian Helgeland: And then obviously a bit of homework and more drugs with Nipper.

Tom Hardy: The more drugs we can give to Nipper, the better really.


Emily Brown and Christopher Eccleston discuss the experience of working with two Tom Hardys on Legend
Chris Hewitt: Emily and Christopher just to pick up on that split dynamic. What’s the experience of acting opposite two Toms like?                                                     

Tom Hardy: Awesome!

The Establishing Shot: LEGEND PRESS CONFERENCE - HAPPY TOM HARDY - SOHO HOTEL, LONDON
The Establishing Shot: LEGEND PRESS CONFERENCE - HAPPY TOM HARDY - SOHO HOTEL, LONDON

Christopher Eccleston: Double jeopardy.

Tom Hardy: Awesome! Lucky buggers.

Christopher Eccleston: A deeply humbling experience! In stereo. Sadly I’m not sure I experienced it. There was one sequence where Nipper is jammed between Ron and Reg but I don’t think we had time on the day. So I don’t think I waited for you to change into either Ron or Reg. I think we did it with Jacob. 99% of my scenes were with Reg.

I had one scene with Ron and that was a revelation. Watching that really was really interesting as I only met Tom as Reg and suddenly, there was Ron and they were completely different. As I said, I have twin brothers, that was very interesting to see what an actor was doing with one role and the other - and I was jealous.

Emily Browning: It wasn’t really an issue for me too be honest. I didn’t have to think about the mathematics of it, I just got to do everything twice. I mean Tom was there as Reggie then he went away for a bit and then he was there as Ron. It was kind of a breeze for me to be honest.


Tom Hardy discusses his approach to playing the sexuality of the Kray Twins
Tom it must have been difficult playing two characters at the same time but how did you get your mind into playing the role of a gangster who was also gay?                                                     

Tom Hardy: You know what? I didn’t even think about it. It just what it is. I don’t think it needs playing and that's that - Ronnie was gay.

So if I did think about it, then that would give me pause and I had to get on and just do what I was doing - which is my job. Ronnie's gay that's it. It’s all good.

The Establishing Shot: LEGEND PRESS CONFERENCE - ACTOR EMILY BROWNING - SOHO HOTEL, LONDON
The Establishing Shot: LEGEND PRESS CONFERENCE - ACTOR EMILY BROWNING - SOHO HOTEL, LONDON
I think if you start playing anything, then you have kind of missed the point of what it is that you are there to do.

I think what was actually complicated is that potentially, well, we are unsure if Reggie was gay or not. That’s questionable. So my approach was to look at Legend as its own separate entity. Within this entity Reggie is heterosexual, Ronnie’s gay. Crack on.

Emily Browning as Frances Shea & Tom Hardy as Reg Kray in Legend
Emily Browning as Frances Shea & Tom Hardy as Reg Kray at Esmeraldas Bar in Legend (Legend)
Brian Helgeland & Tom Hardy discuss the grey association where celebrity and the underworld sometimes meet
Legend captures the glamour of London in the swinging 60s there are scenes that include Joan Collins is in the Krays' club and Barbara Windsor gets a mention as well. I just wondered if that type of association still exists today in Hollywood or elsewhere, where you are ushered into a room to meet someone with an “Italian” surname or something like that?                                                     

Brian Helgeland: Yea! It’s a funny business because you always meet people, you could never meet otherwise. Usually in Hollywood, they're arms merchants or something like that and they have a lot of money that they want to launder it. Well yeah, you meet interesting characters that you couldn’t ever meet if you had a normal job.

Tom Hardy: You can access all areas of society in our job, very easily. But the thing is we are in the entertainment part of it and they’re not, necessarily. They're wired slightly differently.


Tom Hardy discusses his thoughts on The Krays and gives some insight into his approach to his projects at the moment
Tom, it has been touched upon that the Legend of The Krays is like Robin Hood a folk tale with some people admiring or being fascinated by them. I was wondering what your opinion was now that you have played both of them?                                                     

Tom Hardy: I just have a healthy indifference to be fair mate. It was sort of a thesis that I worked on for a little bit. That was my subject and that was my “show and tell” under the Legend banner.

I spent a bit of time researching and working with them in fantasy and pretending and all that kind of stuff and that’s where we leave it mate, at the end of the day.

So I got to do a bit of research and some schooling as it were but I'm sort of healthily indifferent to anything really, so I can just invest in the next thing that comes along. Each experience is something under the belt to move forward in the training.

The Establishing Shot: LEGEND EUROPEAN PRESS CONFERENCE: ELVIS HAS LEFT THE BUILDING, LONDON
The Establishing Shot: LEGEND EUROPEAN PRESS CONFERENCE: ELVIS HAS LEFT THE BUILDING, LONDON
And on that note the discussion came to an all too soon end. Full kudos to Christopher Eccleston who hung around to chat and answer questions but I was already on my way to view the Legend of The East End Exhibition. But that is a story for another time.

Legend
From Academy Award® winner Brian Helgeland comes the true story of the rise and fall of London’s most notorious gangsters, Reggie and Ron Kray, both portrayed by Tom Hardy in an amazing double performance.

LEGEND is a classic crime thriller taking us into the secret history of the 1960s and the extraordinary events that secured the infamy of the Kray Twins.

#LegendFilm

LEGEND has been in UK Cinemas from 9 September 2015

The Establishing Shot: THE MAKING OF LEGEND - DIRECTOR BRIAN HELGELAND TELLS US ABOUT HIS TAKE ON THE KRAYS AND TOM HARDY, EMILY BROWNING & CHRISTOPHER ECCLESTON DISCUSS THE MAKING OF LEGEND

Craig Grobler says ood dags. D'ya like dags?
Craig is a retired superhero, an obsessive hobbyist, comics fan, gadget lover & flâneur who knows an unhealthy amount about Ian Fleming's James Bond. When not watching or making films he takes pictures, eats, drinks, dives, tries to connect to nature whilst mentally storyboarding the greatest film ever made. 

He also  & sometimes utilises owl-themed gadgets to fight crime.  A list of his 133 favourite films can be found hereIf you would still like to contact Craig please use any of the buttons below: 


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Craig Says...







LEGEND OF THE EAST END Exhibition

Legend of the East End Exhibition

135 Bethnal Green Rd,E2,
28 Aug - 11 Sep 2015
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the alibi film club

The Alibi Cult Film Club

The Alibi ,Dalston, E8 2PB
Every Mon

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