There are many roles in Hollywood that seem to be relatively interchangeable. Often, you will find actors becoming directors, producers becoming directors, and directors becoming executive producers. The one transition that makes the most sense is the transition from producer to director. After all, when a movie comes out, people are more concerned with who acted in it and who directed it, and not really who produced it. While some are found to be more adept in certain fields than others, occasionally some can find success in multiple areas. Matthew Vaughn is one of those people. While he hasn’t broken into the acting scene, his experience in producing movies eventually led to directing them. This week, we will explore the two sides of Matthew Vaughn’s career: producer and director.
Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels
Length: 107 minutes / 1.78 hours
Originally from England, Matthew Vaughn headed to Los Angeles to study film production. His uncle, Peter Morton, informed him of a project that his friend Guy Ritchie was trying to get off the ground. This project was to be their debut film together: Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels (1998). Since the film did well, garnering both Ritchie and Vaughn large amounts of money, they teamed up again on at least two more projects, resulting in Snatch (2000) (which did very well) and Swept Away (2002) (which did not). If anything, the story behind the Ritchie/Vaughn team-up is really a testament to connections. To get anywhere in this world, it truly depends on who you know. Talent, while important, is merely a perk.
While a good heist film is full of suspense, twists, and an intricate plan, a great heist film is one where everything goes wrong. Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels is such a film. In order to pay a massive gambling debt, Bacon (Jason Statham), Soap (Dexter Fletcher), Tom (Jason Flemyng), and Eddy (Nick Moran) overhear their neighbors discussing a drug heist, of which the four friends then decide to heist the heistees. In order to turn the drugs into cash, Tom makes a deal with an underground dealer that brings him into the possession of two antique shotguns. When the heists are executed, everything that could possibly go wrong does. Everyone is scrambling to try and get as much money as they can, while the actual value of the shotguns goes unnoticed until the very end.
Length: 127 minutes / 2.17 hours
Since Vaughn started out producing films, it would only come naturally that he would eventually find his way to directing them. His debut as a director came in 2004 with Layer Cake. However, his next film (which he co-wrote the screenplay with Jane Goldman) took the work of Neil Gaiman (also the writer of Coraline (2009)) and brought it to the big screen. This work was Stardust (2007). With these two films under his belt, he went on to direct such films as Kick-Ass (2010) and X-Men: First Class (2011). And while these films don’t necessarily stand out, they are well done and show that Matthew Vaughn has the potential to become an up-and-coming director who can hold his own in the big leagues.
With an all-star cast, Stardust is a fantasy story that exhibits all the trappings of a classic fairy tale. Magic, flying pirates, sinister witches, and princes searching for their birthright to be king are a mere handful of aspects about Stardust that provide its strong fantasy foundation. At the center of the plot is the story of a man, Tristan Thorn (Charlie Cox), who crosses over into the magical realm opposite his hometown of Wall to retrieve a fallen star that he wants to give to his crush, Victoria (Sienna Miller). And yet, through his journey, he learns that he loves another and their story of love overcoming obstacles is truly what makes Stardust a charming and enjoyable film.
2 sum it up: 2 films, 2 roles for Matthew Vaughn
Bacon #: 1 (X-Men: First Class (directed) / Kevin Bacon)