Guy Ritchie - Details


Guy RitchieThough he may have enjoyed cultivating his image as a boy from the wrong side of the tracks, British filmmaker Guy Ritchie was actually the son of a successful advertising executive who spent much of his youth at the 17th-century home of his stepfather, Sir Michael Leighton. He spent his early twenties knocking about and earning a living as a laborer before finally setting his sights on a filmmaking career. Beginning as a film runner, he branched into directing music videos and commercials. Ritchie made the move to fiction filmmaking with the 20-minute short "The Hard Case" (1995) which caught the attention of actor-musician Sting and his producer-wife Trudy Styler when it was aired on Britain's Channel 4, Styler went on to serve as an executive producer of Ritchie's 1998 feature directing debut "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" and Sting made a cameo appearance as the bar owner father of one of the leading characters.

Possessing style to spare, Ritchie's glamorization of the tawdry world of East End crooks became one of that year's biggest home-grown successes in the United Kingdom, second only to "Sliding Doors". While it didn't fare as well in the USA, it was not for lack of humor or plot twists that kept the clever caper movie from running out of steam in the final act. Ritchie scripted some wonderful characters with Damon Runyonesque names like Hatchet Harry, Barry the Baptist and Big Chris and wisely chose to play some of the most vicious acts of violence off camera, showing the ramifications while effectively distancing the viewer from the bloodshed. His accomplished first picture made him one of the hottest young directors around and earned Sony's backing for his second film, "Snatch" (2000), a return to the same colorful gangland milieu, while his off-screen relationship with pop icon Madonna made him a staple of the British and American tabloids.