British and Hollywood actor Tamer Hassan is back in action in arguably the coolest new series to hit our screens this autumn. He plays Hate ‘Em All Henry alongside Rupert Grint (Harry Potter films), Dougray Scott (Desperate Housewives, My Week with Marilyn), Luke Pasqualino (Skins, The Musketeers), and Juliet Aubrey in the television reboot of Snatch.
After premiering in the US in March, the 10-episode original series made its debut in the UK on Tuesday (31 October) night. But beyond its setting of London’s villainous underworld, the TV remake bears little resemblance to the Guy Ritchie hit movie of 17 years ago.
Featuring an entirely new cast, the drama centres on a group of twenty-something, up-and-coming hustlers who stumble upon a truck load of stolen gold bullion and are suddenly thrust into the high stakes world of organised crime. The story follows them as they quickly try to learn how to navigate the treacherous waters of London’s underworld as rogue cops, gypsy fighters, international mobsters and local villains descend.
Speaking to BT-TV at the UK premiere, Tamer Hassan, star of The Business and Football Factory, said: “Snatch is the coolest movie brand on the planet. Alex De Rakoff (the writer) made a conscience decision not to have anyone from the original cast in the TV show. A lot of the original cast are friends of mine and they said, ‘why don’t you leave it alone’, but Alex took a gamble.”
“He sat down with Guy Ritchie and Guy just said, ‘make it effing good.”
“I think it’s got the right beats, the right feel. It’s hard to match anything Guy does, but Alex does it brilliantly.”
Hassan’s character Hate ‘Em is the best friend and cellmate of Vic Hill, played by Scottish actor Dougray Scott. Hate ‘Em and Hill are in jail for robbery, with Hill seeking to guide his son Albert (Luke Pasqualino) from the inside to make sure he makes the right criminal choices.
To help prepare them for the roles, Hassan took Dougray to meet his relatives who are real-life former villains. The 49-year-old South Londoner of Turkish Cypriot origin told Metro.co.uk:
“I took Dougray [Scott] to meet my uncles, I’ve got uncles who are ex bank robbers from the 70s and 80s – not anymore – but a lot of these true life villains, I’ve been around them and I understand them. But when I hear these Guildhall trained actors talking out the sides of their mouths, it’s not like that.”
“That’s what I wanted to give Dougray, and he got it so brilliantly. A lot of it is just in a look, it tells a story. The first time he met these people, I asked one of them, “Tell him how to rob a bank,” and he said, “I’ve never told anybody how to rob a bank.”
The great chemistry between the Hassan and Scott is clearly visible on and off the screen. Not surprisingly, much of the comedy banter in the series also comes from the duo playing criminal elders.
Describing the relationship between the two jailbirds to Metro, Dougray, 51, says: “The relationship of the characters is based on them spending 15 years together. They’re both from that world of villainy. They’ve grown close and they trust each other.”
“Vic controls the prison from the inside, like he did on the outside, so not much has changed there. And Hate’Em has become his confidante, his partner, his brother in arms, and they do everything together.”
The second series of this comedy caper has already been commissioned, so we are destined to see a lot more of this classic gangster tale on television.
You can catch Snatch at 10pm every Tuesday or see the full box set on demand, both on AMC. The channel is available exclusively to BT TV Customers or SKY customers with the BT Sports Pack.