It’s hard to explain Danny Dyer to an American audience, but I’ll try. Think Steve Austin or Steven Seagal only he can’t fight. Danny Dyer is a stalwart of British gangster thrillers. He did THE BUSINESS with director Nick Love, kennelled himself with Noel Clarke in DOGHOUSE. He was a DEAD MAN RUNNING. DVD after a night out with the lads and he’s your man. But Dyer can only take the roles offered to him. He gets a fair amount of stick from the British critical establishment, who suggest he sounds like a weasel pleading for his life. So what must he thought when his agent said he was up for the British revenge thriller, VENDETTA? Your man Larry was a fly on the wall, well, sort of. [By the way I have no idea who represents Mr Dyer. I’ve used a pseudonym to protect the guilty.]
DD: Thanks for the bell, Sid. What’cha got?
SID: Daniel Darling, you know Julian Fellowes?
DD: I got a part on DOWNTON?
SID: No, he says hello.
SID: Well, he coughed when I said your name – practically the same thing.
DD: What about Nick Love? He should have ‘ad me for SWEENEY.
SID: I’m afraid he’s still not returning my calls, but then I do owe him.
DD: Are you putting me about?
SID: I’m not your pimp, if that’s what you mean.
DD: Thing is, I want to do something with Judi Dench. Her films always get nominated for awards, BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD WASHING UP GLOVES and that. Could I play her long lost son?
SID: Well, she is making the film PHILOMENA with Frears-y. I’m not sure that’s the sort of son you want to play.
DD: Why’s that?
SID: You want me to spoil the surprise?
DD: What about those ensemble British comedies that Richard Curtis makes?
SID: ABOUT TIME?
DD: About time, yeah, that’s what I was thinking.
SID: Well his leading men tend to be hesitant in a charismatic way. With you, I fear audiences think you’ll do them over.
DD: Nah, nah, you got me all wrong. I can do that stumbly, bumble-y stuff.
SID: Yes, when you’re holding a blunt instrument, not when you’re facing Rachel McAdams.
DD: Opinions differ. What about a Victorian crime drama?
SID: Plenty in television.
DD: I don’t wanna do TV, except DOWNTON a course. But most of it is tying David Tennant’s shoelaces. Next you’ll say I’ve been offered CELEBRITY BIG BROTHER.
SID: You wish.
DD: Come again?
SID: Go fish. Anyway, I have got a script for you.
DD: What is it?
SID: A revenge drama.
DD: Blimey, I’ve done enough of those. You saw OUTLAW.
SID: Sadly yes.
DD: Some critics quite liked it.
SID: Bereft of senses.
SID: Moving on, this script – VENDETTA.
DD: Not another gangland thriller!
SID: Actually, no. Your part is that of a Special Forces officer.
DD: Special Forces? They thought of me?
SID: Not immediately. Jason Statham was busy with HUMMINGBIRD. He also thought the role was too similar.
DD: I’m – intrigued – if that is such a word.
SID: Did I say Sean Bean passed on it and David Tennant –
DD: He’s totally wrong for it.
SID: He wasn’t even considered.
DD: I can bulk up.
DD: Two curries a night. Extra naan. Why is it called VENDETTA?
SID: I’m not sure. Maybe they confused it with a brand of ice cream – Viennetta.
DD: You’ve lost me, but in a good way.
SID: So you return from Afghanistan only to discover your mum and dad have been murdered and you want revenge.
DD: Sid, you’re breaking me up? I mean who would do such a thing?
SID: Some drug fuelled youths humiliated by your old man, a cabbie.
DD: My old man is Travis Bickle? That’s brilliant.
SID: No, he’s more a have a go hero.
DD: Wouldn’t the police put him in protective custody?
SID: No, otherwise there would be no story.
DD: So what happens?
SID: So the youths break into your parents’ house. They have your mum. They stick a knife to your dad. Then they burn them alive.
DD: And the neighbourhood watch does what exactly?
SID: No neighbourhood watch. People are scared.
DD: Of some drug fuelled muppets?
DD: How do they know to be scared? I mean the police must be onto them.
SID: They’re not.
DD: You’re pooping me.
SID: No, the police don’t do anything. That’s where you come in.
DD: So there’s a like social commentary to this movie.
DD: Don’t answer the door after nightfall.
SID: It’s more the youth are out of control. Your character doesn’t know why he is defending a country that’s rotting on the inside but wants to punish those who thought they could get away with it.
DD: Is there a subplot?
SID: Yes, your character gets back with his wife.
DD: Is there like physical intimacy.
SID: The script says it is fully clothed.
DD: So the director respects women?
SID: No, there is nudity, but only women with loose morals are shown with their tops off. It’s a sort of intriguing double standard.
DD: But he gets some.
SID: Oh, yes, otherwise the SE7EN-like ending wouldn’t make any sense.
SID: More like ONE AND A HALF.
DD: So how do I take my revenge? Presumably I round them all up and do them in one fell swoop.
SID: You get them one at a time, killing them off in dramatically interesting ways.
DD: Like SE7EN?
SID: More like ONE AND A HALF.
DD: You said that already.
DD: But by doing so, he maximises the chance of being caught.
SID: Well, otherwise darling there would no movie.
DD: But I’m like a serial killer. That’s not good is it? Unless I play it with a posh accent!
SID: You don’t want to go there.
DD: That’s right. I’m a Lion [Millwall Football Club fan].
SID: There’s a cop who is after you. But then the military step in.
DD: Hang about.
SID: Your character is a man with very special talents.
DD: That doesn’t sound like me.
DD: But I’m intrigued. If I’m going to do a straight to DVD film, I may as well do one where I show my six-pack – well, hairy chest – and seem like I mean business.
SID: So long as you don’t mean box office business. That would be unexpected.
DD: I could answer my critics, especially that Mark Kermode.
SID: He’s not going to be there.
SID: At the Q and A session organised by the Film Distributors Association next year , he won’t turn up.
DD: So I won’t answer my critics.
SID: The critics will get sandwiches instead.
DD: This could be a turning point for me. I could meet Royalty.
SID: Something about a Queen Vic.
DD: Isn’t that a cake?
VENDETTA was screened to critics on Sunday 24 November 2013 at Vue Piccadilly (15:00). Danny Dyer didn’t turn up for a Q and A – can’t say I blame him