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Married to Madonna, making movies and headlines

Guy Ritchie heads west

"Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" brought director Guy Ritchie acclaim in 1998. He's earning more raves with his new movie, "Snatch"  

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Former music video director Guy Ritchie caught the collective critical eye with his crime comedy "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" in 1998.

The public eye focused on Ritchie in a big way last year: He and Madonna became parents and a married couple, in that order. The wedding itself, in the hinterlands of Scotland, was one of the big publicity events of 2000.

Less publicized, but possibly more deserving of publicity, is his new film "Snatch." It was released in late 2000 in Europe and opens January 19 in the United States.

"Snatch" is a crime comedy in the same vein as "Lock," with many of the same cast members. These little-known performers now mingle smoothly with actors like Brad Pitt, Benicio del Toro, and Dennis Farina. A Madonna track "Lucky Star" bounces on the soundtrack.

Success, love and fame seem to ride lightly along the filmmaker's path. His colorful British dialect is much more "street" than BBC, and he still seems to take simple delight with the craft of putting fun on film.

Ritchie said he and his new wife Madonna would probably work together in the near future
Ritchie said he and his new wife Madonna would probably work together in the near future  

CNN recently talked with Ritchie in Los Angeles as he worked to promote the film's release in the United States.

CNN: You have such a unique directing style, peopling your films with these faces that are just so fresh and great. Are these your buddies? Where do you find these actors?

Guy Ritchie: Some of them are my buddies, actually. It's really a question of casting, and the casting process for this film went on for two years. I thought it was nice to sprinkle complete fresh faces, interesting fresh faces with established and respected actors.

CNN: This time out, unlike the last film you have some pretty big names in the film ... like Brad Pitt. How did that come about?

Ritchie: The bloke was a big fan of "Lock, Stock" and was out here at the time when he saw it and he called up about meeting me. We met in this hotel actually, the next day and we had a jolly-up. He expressed how he'd like to be in my next film and I expressed that I would also like him to be in my next film and he came along and got on fantastically.

CNN: Pitt has some fight scenes in the movie. Do you think his work in "Fight Club" (1999) was helpful in preparing for those sequences?

Ritchie and Brad Pitt on the set of
Ritchie and Brad Pitt on the set of "Snatch"  

Ritchie: We did do quite a lot of preparation for the fight scenes. He broke one of his fingers while doing it, and he didn't tell anyone that he broke one of his fingers doing it, and he just got on with it and we found out afterward that his hand was swollen up to the size of a fat man's kneecap. He just didn't mince at all. He just got straight on with it.

CNN: He did seem to fit right in.

Ritchie: He's got terrible lung capacity, he smokes too many cigarettes. But he can look half fit.

CNN: How are you bearing up under the enormous whirlwind of events that have happened to you in the last six months?

Ritchie: Very well indeed. I couldn't be happier. ...I've never been this happy in my life and I pray it continues.

CNN: Will Madonna have a role in your next film?

Ritchie: It won't be the next film, but I'm sure we'll end up working together at some stage.

"Snatch" is a crime comedy with an ensemble cast that includes Brad Pitt, Benicio del Toro and Dennis Farina  

CNN: Now you'll be operating on both sides of the Atlantic. Will you make films in Hollywood?

Ritchie: I'm not prejudiced about where it is that I make a film. The infrastructure is greased and smooth here. I have a crew I work with wherever I go, and we don't care where we work.

CNN: The reviews in the United States have been generally favorable to "Snatch."

Ritchie: That's great. "Snatch" plays better in America than "Lock, Stock." which I'm very pleased about. I don't know which is the better film. I'm just pleased at the way it plays. It does play better in America than it did in England. I don't know why that is.

CNN: Which film do you prefer?

Ritchie: "Snatch." I haven't seen it as much as "Lock, Stock." That one I've seen about a thousand times; "Snatch" only about eight times, which is very little for a director.



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