Diamond thieves, rigged boxing matches, gypsies, and lots of cockney accents. Those are the ingredients of Guy Ritchie’s 2000 classic Snatch, as well as a new streaming series on Crackle. Crackle’s Snatch is 10 episodes with an all-new story set in the world of London gangsters and criminals.
Albert Hill (Luke Pasqualino) is trying to get out of his father’s (Dougray Scott) crime business, but as Michael Corleone says, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.” Albert thinks one last job with Charlie (Rupert Grint) could allow him to go legit, but every heist movie ever made says that something will go wrong.
Grint and Pasqualino, along with the show’s creator Alex de Rakoff, spoke with Rotten Tomatoes before the premiere of Snatch on Crackle. Here are 10 ways 2017’s Snatch reinvented the classic film.
It’s not like Grint woke up on his 18th birthday and said, “I’m going to play adults now.” It’s just the characters he’s right for have grown up with him, and grown-up men are more likely to turn to crime than enroll in wizard school — probably.
“It’s fun to do something edgier,” Grint said. “That’s what I really liked about the script. It was kind of ballsy. There’s a dark side that comes out which is really a joy to play. I’ve never really played anyone like him so it’s been good.”
“This show’s younger,” de Rakoff said. “All our kids are 21, 22, 23, 24. You’re dealing with relationships between boys and girls which you don’t see in the film. You’re dealing with kids growing up, and boys becoming men, and you’re dealing with family.”
Albert and Charlie end up in a long con trying to snatch some gold bullion. That will take 10 episodes, but every week de Rakoff promises some heist action.
“There’s a heist in every episode,” de Rakoff said. “When I say heist, I mean some shit goes down whether it’s a robbery or a diamond heist or something. There’s always a central narrative that each episode runs around with this meta-narrative which is the gold bullion.”
The gold heist evolves every episode too.
“It’s really interesting seeing how each character deals with the gold,” Grint said. “The gold becomes a character in its own right. It’s kind of like the ring in Lord of the Rings. It kind of has a dark effect on everyone. We all deal with it in different ways.”
When Snatch came out on DVD it was a whole different movie for Americans who could finally turn on subtitles and understand the thick British slang. The characters on Crackle’s Snatch speak in cockney rhyming slang, a dialect first developed by gangsters to speak in code around police. It has now become common in London, but Crackle offers subtitles.
“We’re trying to make a show for a wide audience, as well we still need to stay true to the characters and how they would actually speak in London and what not,” Pasqualino said. “There is a lot of that dialogue there.”
De Rakoff said he was conservative with the slang: “I actually held back and was very restrained in terms of how much slang I use.
“When I first saw The Sopranos, I didn’t understand half of what they said,” De Rakoff said. “I like that because you get the essence of what you’re watching and you get the context, but you’re like, ‘What was that word?’ Then you hear it again three episodes, later and you start to understand the fabric of the show.”
Creating new characters in the underworld of London, the cast drew on many cultural resources. Grint even looked at British royalty.
“It took me a while to find exactly who he was,” Grint said. “There’s a bit of Prince Harry in there. [Charlie] comes from this kind of aristocratic family. These people do exist, all their money’s gone, maintaining these huge properties and they can’t maintain it. So they have no money, but they live this kind of façade of wealth and very proud of the family name, despite having not a pot to piss in. It’s interesting he’s always trying to get away from that and trying to be more gangster. He’s desperate to justify his position in this gang.”
As Albert, Pasqualino focused on his physicality.
“It was how he moved, how he talked, how he points and how he uses his hands and stuff,” Pasqualino said. “When you get dressed and you’re in the costume, you feel in character.”
The film Snatch is a classic, but it’s also a sausage party. De Rakoff wanted to have a strong female presence in the show, so there are two female main characters. Chloe (Stephanie Leonidas) is a jeweler who become’s Charlie’s love interest.
“He falls in love pretty hard for this jeweler, Chloe Cohen,” Grint said. “Kind of a weird, complicated love triangle emerges.”
Lotti Mott (Phoebe Dynevor, pictured) is a gangster’s moll who teams up with Charlie and Alex.
“Lotti Mott’s not just a femme fatale,” de Rakoff said. “She’s integral to the heist and the plots. She becomes very embedded in the gang. Especially 15 years after the movie, it was really important to have strong female characters. Lotti on the surface is a hustler, but there’s a lot more to her than that.
“Chloe, played by Steph, appears more straight-laced when you meet her and a bit more on her game,” de Rakoff added. “She’s also very powerful, intelligent, ambitious female character on the show.”
Albert and Charlie do manage a boxer (Lucien Laviscount), and there is a double cross in the ring. It goes about as well as Statham’s deal with Pitt in the movie, even though de Rakoff moved the fight from the streets to the arena.
“There didn’t have to be a boxing match but I love the boxing match in Snatch,” de Rakoff said. “It’s something I felt was true to the world and true to the original. It’s also not a bare-knuckle fight. It’s a gloved fight, and it’s 15 years later. It has a bit more of a pop-up East London boxing feel as opposed to in a basement, grungy.”
Look for some more twists on the common themes of Snatch.
“Like the film, gypsies play a big role,” Grint said. “There’s a lot of characters from the gypsy camp, which is something people will be familiar with from the original. A lot of it is in the edit and the kind of music and the punchy dialogue. It sits somewhere between reality and cartoon. It’s just fun. That’s one of the things about the original. It was just fun. That’s an important thing to keep, not take it too seriously.”
Crackle will release the entire first season of Snatch at once so viewers could potentially binge watch the whole thing. That’s how de Rakoff conceived it.
“I look at this thing and feel like it’s a 10-hour film, not 10 episodic TV shows,” de Rakoff said.
The cast recommends binging too.
“I feel it’s something you really can binge-watch,” Grint said. “It’s so fast-paced. It’s all kind of quick cuts and slow motion. It’s got such a great style which is pretty authentic to the original. It just really kicks off.”
The movie filmed on location in London circa 1999. For the show, Snatch built sets in a Manchester studio, so the London that appears is an artist’s rendition of the streets.
“We’ve taken over a set in Manchester, Old Granada Studio,” Pasqualino said. “It was home to a very popular soap opera in the UK. The production designers and set decorators have made it into a really unique world for us. Manchester is such a great place. It doubles as London. It doubles as New York. It can be anywhere you would want it to be with a little bit of help.”
De Rakoff added that they included some location shots in back alleys of Manchester, still doubling as London.
Music plays a big role in Guy Ritchie movies. In fact, he made one called RocknRolla. De Rakoff wanted to have a modern musical style to Crackle’s Snatch and discovered some new artists to provide it.
“It’s all unbroken bands predominantly in the show,” de Rakoff said. “It’s all 2016/2017. The clothes sit in today’s world, and I think play really, really strong. We identify ourselves and separate ourselves through the fact that it is 15 years later through the music and the fashion and the overall style of the show.”
Snatch premieres March 16 on Crackle