Ray Winstone

BATD ON Apr 27, 2010 AT 12:40 pm

Ray Winstone after winning his Empire Award this year

With three films released in January and two to be released later the year, Ray Winstone has been seriously busy!

He has a cameo as the father in Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll, and stars alongside Mel Gibson in Edge of Darkness, but his pride and joy is 44-Inch Chest, which he co-produced. After thinking of the idea in 2000, he failed to find sufficient funding, so the project has actually been in the making for nine years!

Winstone grew up in the East End of London and joined the Amateur Boxing Club at age 12. Over the next 10 years, he won 80 of the 88 bouts he fought. The experience gave him a new outlook on his future acting career because, “if you can get in a ring with 2,000 people watching you be smacked around by another guy, then walking on stage isn’t hard.”

One quick year after enrolling, Winstone was kicked out of the Corona Stage Academy for pulling a prank on the headmistress. He almost gave up on his dream but, luckily, he stumbled upon his big break while with a friend at an audition. Director Alan Clarke knew his arrogant strut was perfect for the lead in Scum, a memorable role due to the scene in a billiards hall where Winstone’s character beat up an enemy with a sock filled with billiards balls.

Ray Winstone and his Family

From that point forward, Winstone was usually cast as a tough, violent man, although he enjoyed the sensitive parts more. He has admitted that his favourite role was the title character in the television biopic King Henry VIII, opposite another Londoner, Helena Bonham Carter.

The key to his good acting is immersing himself completely into his roles. While filming, he never totally turns off his character, because he feels like it takes too long to get back into character. Once a movie has wrapped, he is usually so mentally and physically drained that he spends several weeks in bed recuperating. Although he also enjoys sipping on vodka and Coke and enjoying a bath to unwind!

Another escape from his work is his family. He says his wife Elaine keeps him grounded and makes sure his fame doesn’t go to his head. He also has three daughters.  Lois and Jaime followed their father’s footsteps and are pursuing careers as actresses, but Winstone’s sweet spot is for his youngest daughter, Ellie-Rae, who was born when the eldest daughters moved out.

Winstone is best known for his roles in Indiana Jones, The Departed, and as the voice of Mr. Beaver in The Chronicles of Narnia. The two films due out later his year are 13, about Russian Roulette,and London Boulevard, whose writer-director William Monahan, is his old drinking buddy.

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