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Guy Ritchie On ‘The Gentlemen’, ‘Operation Fortune’ & Filming In KSA

Guy Ritchie was in the middle of shooting Netflix series The Gentlemen in London, an adaptation of his film of the same name and his first foray into the small screen, when he made a brief appearance as a special guest at the Red Sea International Film Festival in Jeddah this week.

The British writer-director told Deadline that he was “a big fan of the region” and would “encourage interest in this part of the world and the conspicuous evolution that’s taking place in this part of the world.” 

“I would do anything that is possible to encourage that momentum and the creative collaboration in the direction I would encourage most creatives to go in,” he said. “I just don’t think anything negative can happen from that creative cultural collaboration.” 

When asked if he would make a film in Saudi Arabia, Ritchie said, “I would absolutely consider making a film here – I would.” 

Speaking about The Gentlemen and the new experience of working in the world of television, Ritchie remarked that he was “really involved” in the project, of which he is directing the first two episodes and exec producing.

“I’m essentially making a two-hour movie, that’s what I seem to understand and it’s very new to me in a sense that you realize how long you can spin a story for and that’s very attractive,” he said, noting that he felt the production value was “exactly the same as it is in film” but at a “fraction” of the budget. “Everyone in film is used to being paid so handsomely,” he said.

While he’s “loving” working in the new medium and working with actors such as Theo James, Kaya Scodelario, Joely Richardson, Vinnie Jones and more, he said he was also enjoying feeling there was “less pressure” on him to deliver a story that’s wrapped up in a few hours. 

“Because there seems to be less pressure on me in order to give yourself two hours of a beginning middle and end form of entertainment, it allows you to be not under such pressure to deliver the requisite components of entertainment you need when making a two-hour movie.” 

But Ritchie admitted the need and desire to make movies for the big screen would remain: “You need a 40-foot screen. It changes the world even if it’s just the proximity to that kind of size. There’s something that takes place in the magic of the projection onto a screen that kind of magnitude and if you lose that, you do lose the backbone of what the theatrical experience is really like.” 

When pressed about the future of his most-recent Jason Statham collaboration Operation Fortune: Ruse De Guerre, which has been in limbo since the demise of STX as a distributor, the director said, “It stars to unfurl in different territories from January. Some are theatrical, some are not. That’s my understanding.” 

Check out the video above. 

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