Jonathan Sothcott on what inspired The Krays – Dead Man Walking

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Ahead of its home entertainment release tomorrow we asked Jonathan Sothcott how his new film The Krays – Dead Man Walking came about. “Its a story I have wanted to tell for many years,” explains the producer, “my mother’s maiden name is ‘Mitchell’ and when Frank ‘The Mad Axeman’ Mitchell was on the run, her father (my grandfather) used to joke he was a relative and would be coming to hide from the police at their house. I say joke, I think they were all pretty terrified!”

The story stayed at the back of Sothcott’s mind for many years until another Kray connection triggered an idea: Martin and Gary Kemp are very good friends of mine. Gary had seen a play called Jump To Cow Heaven about Mitchell and Lisa Prescott. We talked about making a film of it and at one point I had the Kemps lined up to co-direct and cameo as The Krays. But pre-Legend there wasn’t much interest in it. Shame as I love working with Martin & Gary.”

Last year, Sothcott decided to have another crack at the story: “i met Rita Simons socially and liked her immensely,” he enthuses, “and I was looking for a vehicle for her. I’d had some time off from the Brtish crime genre but its a story that was too good not to tell so I put it together. Its a very strong cast and its a decent little film.”

“This very much isn’t a Kray biopic – that has been done too well twice before,” says Sothcott in summary, “its an untold true story from their life – they are the villains of the piece. And if it works, who knows – we might just make another one. Or two. There are some great stories out there featuring the Twins – Freddie Mills, Jack The Hat, Ronnie’s murder list and plot to kill Frances. There’s potential… but let’s see how the first one does!”

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