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South Woodford actor to star in 'gritty' Kray twins film

PUBLISHED: 15:00 23 August 2015

Actor Kevin Leslie stars in The Rise of the Krays. Picture: Marker & Marker

Actor Kevin Leslie stars in The Rise of the Krays. Picture: Marker & Marker

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An actor is hoping his latest starring role playing a notorious East End gangster will provide the platform for his big break.

Actor Kevin Leslie stars in The Rise of the Krays. Picture: Marker & Marker

Actor Kevin Leslie stars in The Rise of the Krays. Picture: Marker & Marker

Kevin Leslie, 27, from South Woodford, will play Reggie Kray in a two-part film series starting with The Rise of the Krays and culminating in The Fall of The Krays next year.

The films, directed by Zackary Adler, will provide a “grittier” alternative to Legend, which stars Tom Hardy in a big budget adaptation, which is due for release just after a week of Kevin’s release.

The actor, who graduated from The Arts University Bournemouth in 2010, is not phased by the competition.

“It’s interesting because a lot of people will already be buzzing about the Tom Hardy film,” said Kevin, who grew up in Shropshire.

Actor Kevin Leslie stars in The Rise of the Krays. Picture: Marker & Marker

Actor Kevin Leslie stars in The Rise of the Krays. Picture: Marker & Marker

“Ours is the British, more gritty one and I’m really looking forward to it coming out.”

Kevin said he was inspired by the “rich history” of the East End and the story of the brothers, who became leading figures of organised crime in east London during the 1950s and 1960s.

“If you’re born and raised here you learn all about it but if you’re not from the area it’s a fascinating place to learn about and observe,” said Kevin.

“The script landed on my desk and I just wanted to do it.”

Actor Kevin Leslie stars in The Rise of the Krays. Picture: Marker & Marker

Actor Kevin Leslie stars in The Rise of the Krays. Picture: Marker & Marker

Kevin, who has also played leads in the film Pearl of Africa and play Eternal Love with the English Touring Theatre, said the experience of playing a real person was “nerve-racking but exciting”,

He said: “Everyone’s got their own version of what the Krays were like – some people are going to go ‘he was nothing like that’ or they’ll say we’ve hit the nail on the head.

“When it’s a fictional character you’re making it up as you go but for this I had to read a lot of literature and it’s fascinating to read what people say about Reggie and what he said about himself.

“He didn’t look at you he looked through you – it’s stuff like that. Reggie is so different to Ronnie – he has so many layers.”

Actor Kevin Leslie stars in The Rise of the Krays. Picture: Marker & Marker

Actor Kevin Leslie stars in The Rise of the Krays. Picture: Marker & Marker

Kevin, who says the production is “phenomenal”, wanted to play the part as it was “so different” to anything he had done before.

“It’s not just sex drugs and violence – it’s about the parts of the Krays that you didn’t know,” said Kevin.

“You’ve got the gory bits but you’ve got a story line with an intellectual undertone and it was great to play as an actor.”

He added: “The director has done a lot to recreate the feel of that time too.”

The straight-to-DVD film is set to be released on Monday, August 31.

Visit amzn.to/1UVf8du to pre-order a DVD.

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