Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Why Sweeney 'Slob' Ray Is a Sexy Beast ; Ray Winstone Has No Qualms about Stripping off in His New Film, Big Belly and All, Writes Shereen Low

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Why Sweeney 'Slob' Ray Is a Sexy Beast ; Ray Winstone Has No Qualms about Stripping off in His New Film, Big Belly and All, Writes Shereen Low

Article excerpt

RAY Winstone doesn't mince his words. While most people would make the most of being the centre of attention in a luxury London hotel, he admits he'd rather be anywhere else.

"I'm all right, but I could be picking my feet instead," he says, with a hearty chortle. "And I want a fag..."

Down to earth and instantly likeable, Winstone is as about as far from a sex symbol as you could get, with his gruff, gravelly voice, ripe Cockney accent and slicked-back grey hair.

Yet in his latest film, The Sweeney, the 55-year-old actor, manages to bed Captain America beauty Hayley Atwell, who happens to be 25 years his junior.

Viewers are treated to Winstone slobbing out in full glory - belly, saggy boxers and all.

It's not the first time the former boxer has bared flesh on screen - he revealed rather a lot in Sexy Beast, Beowulf and ITV drama Compulsion too.

"I have no qualms with that," he says.

"I am a big ol' boy. I am the guy next door. We're not all built like Dolph Lundgren or Arnold Schwarzenegger - we're British and we can be slobby. I'd love to be fit and strong but this is what I am. 'We're British we slobby. love fit and strong' "I think part of playing a character is getting rid of the vanity and the ego about what you might look like on screen, and I'm cool with that."

Winstone, who is happily married to wife Elaine and is a doting dad to three daughters, says he's baffled by his popularity with the ladies, though. He says: "I don't know what women see in a 55-year- old fat man.

"I haven't got a clue how that works. If I am a sex symbol, then fantastic, I love every minute of it.

"I think it's the way you treat women that makes you sexy.

and be I'd be "You've got to be genuine, a bit of a gentleman and a bit of a rogue at the same time, but if you try to set out to be that, you're never going to achieve it."

Winstone plays Detective Inspector Jack Regan, the role made famous by the late John Thaw, in Nick Love's big screen adaptation of the cult Seventies TV series.

Fellow Hackney lad Ben Drew (aka rapper Plan B) steps into Dennis Waterman's shoes for the role of sidekick Detective Ser-geant George Carter. As part of the Flying Squad, Regan and Carter employ non- conventional and largely violent methods to catch criminals.

Winstone explains: "Sometimes these guys are more the villains. They break down doors, smash your furniture in and ask questions later."

He relished the opportunity to do his own action sequences, brandishing guns, chasing cars and swapping blows, even if he ended up breaking a rib or two.

"Playing with guns, you revert to being a little boy, although guns are not toys," he says, admitting he didn't expect to be tackling such physical challenges at this stage in his career.

"You start to get to the wrong side of 50 and think, 'Maybe I just want to do love scenes now'. …

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