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Winstone, Hurt and Berkoff – is that all you've got?

8 January 2010 4:08 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

44 Inch Chest stars Deadwood's Ian McShane alongside a who's-who of British beefcake, but who would make John Patterson's dream team of UK movie hard men?

I have to admit I like the look of 44 Inch Chest, and particularly its wall-to-wall cast of British hard men: Ray Winstone, Ian McShane, Steven Berkoff and John Hurt.

John Hurt, you say, a British tough guy? Well, it's all about stunt-casting here; almost every major piece of casting works because somewhere in each actor's back catalogue is at least one meaty outing as a nasty piece of work brandishing a gun. For Hurt it was Stephen Frears's mid-80s Spanish revenger's road-movie The Hit.

Ian McShane is actually a two-stage piece of stunt casting. When he was cast as the ambi-sexual crime lord in Sexy Beast, the film-makers were referencing his role as Richard Burton's gangland catamite in Villain (1971), and »

- John Patterson

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