The plot (inspired by a true story of an unsolved bank robbery that occured in London in 1971):
“In September 1971, thieves tunnelled into the vault of a bank in London’s Baker Street and looted safe deposit boxes of cash and jewellery worth millions and millions of pounds. None of it was recovered. Nobody was ever arrested. The robbery made headlines for a few days and then disappeared - the result of a UK Government ‘D’ Notice, gagging the press. This film reveals what was hidden in those boxes. The story involves murder, corruption and a sex scandal with links to the Royal Family - a story in which the thieves were the most innocent people involved. “
Suchet plays Lew Vogel, a sleazy porn king, who is chasing the robbers because they - unexpectedly - get hold of revealing records of his, stored in one of the deposit boxes they have emptied.
Director: Roger Donaldson Screenwriter: Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais
Producer: Steve Chasman and Charles Roven Starring: Jason Statham, Saffron Burrows, Stephen Campbell Moore, Daniel Mays, James Faulkner, David Suchet, Peter Bowles
The story is inspired by a robbery that happened in London at Lloyds Bank, the bank is still here, it still looks the same on the corner of Baker Street and Marylebone road and the bank robbers tunnelled in from a store “le sac” underneath the Chicken Inn into the basement and the volts of the bank and managed to get away with a lot of money.
How did you find working with the cast?
My cast as are fabulous, they are all very talented, one of the pleasures of coming here to London as with many years ago when I came here to do ‘The Bounty’ is there is a fantastic depth of really talented actors, casting is always a real pleasure here and we have got together a brilliant cast of actors that really do this story justice.
And Jason Statham?
He’s very unique and has a very charismatic quality on screen and for me I do equate him to a British Steve McQueen he has a great brooding quality about him and he does a lot with a little. He has a fabulous voice and all those things make him the great actor that he is.
And Saffron Burrows?
Beautiful Saffron Burrows who is not only beautiful but a great actress also. She plays a character in the film that is probably a bit like the career that she’s had, she was once a famous model as well as an actress and she is perfect for the role.
What research did you do?
I personally love the research and this one the things I really do embroil myself on and I finished up by going to the newspapers of the time and the national achieves and digging up the facts of the time and that really has not seen the light of day since they happened in 1971. I really have enjoyed getting under the skin of this story and I consider those things I found out about the story to be part of the story.
Teletext Big Screen Film Interview with Suchet about his character Lew Vogel
Suchet finds his dark side
David Suchet said he understood his seedy gangster character Lew Vogel in The Bank Job when he saw Vogel's "horrible coat with the fur collar". Vogel is a grubby strip club owner in 1970s Soho who gets in trouble when his list of corrupt policemen is stolen in a massive bank robbery. Suchet says: "When I put the coat on, over a brown suit, wrinkled hair and those awful glasses I got Lew - he's a thoroughly unpleasant, violent man."
Vogel may have been a pimp, a ruthless exploiter of illegal immigrants and an informant, but he had his own bizarre form of ethics, explains Suchet. The veteran actor says: "He didn't mind about violence or who he abused, he was happy to have guns and kill people. ”But mention the word 'drugs' and that was it - there was no way, that was his limit. He was a thoroughly horrible man but he did have his own moral code, weird though it may have been."
Suchet says the brilliance of The Bank Job is it starts off as a heist film but goes way beyond that genre. Based on a real heist in 1971, the idea is a group of wide boys rob safety deposit boxes on behalf of the Establishment, who know there are all sorts of secrets lurking in them. Suchet says: "It really opens up all sorts of questions about what was in those boxes, that may have involved members of the Royal Family."
Lew Vogel may have been a violent gangster but his ledger was a clue that helped to uncover police corruption. Suchet explains: "He kept a note every time he had to pay off a copper to keep his strip club open. When that goes missing it has huge implications.
"We forget now but there was a huge amount of skulduggery going on then. It was a bleak time in London, and Vogel was a man utterly driven by his total love of money, that's all he wanted."
Suchet gets to show his nasty side as Vogel, but does have one regret about the making of The Bank Job. "My character wasn't involved in the actual heist," he explained, "And that looked like great fun to me. "I would have loved to be with that great cast all bonding and having fun - and robbing a bank. When I saw the finished film recently I realised how funny it was - it's a really witty, sharp, funny film."