If it seemed difficult to stop the Juggernaut, just try getting in Vinnie Jones’ way.
Like his brutish alter ego in X-Men: The Last Stand, the British footballer turned action icon hasn’t stopped in his forward momentum through Hollywood, having recently resurfaced on Arrow as the villain Brick.
But it’s his stint on ABC’s fairy tale-themed musical comedy Galavant that has Jones particularly tickled, playing the evil king’s thuggish right-hand man, an expert in masculinity who has no compulsion about breaking into song to get his point across.
Ahead of tonight’s finale, Jones spoke with SPINOFF about what drew him to the role of Gareth, getting back into comedy, and his own musical past.
Spinoff: For this role, what was the first thing about Galavant that made you say, “Yeah, I’m showing up. I’m for sure doing this one.”
Vinnie Jones: Well, I just thought when you first get the memo and it says, “the King’s henchmen.” You go, “Oh, here we go again.” And I’d already made a conscious effort to comedy – I wanted to get back into the comedy side of stuff: Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, that was comedy, and Snatch was comedy, so I wanted to get back in that. And then [Galavant creator] Dan Fogelman said, “You’re not going to be picking up what you think. You’re more picking the pieces up for the King, because he’s goofy and he’s funny.” And so it killed me, and when I read it, it was very, very funny.
At this point in your career, you’ve got a pretty serious, intense body of work. What do you like about your resume and what are you trying to add to it?
I’m just trying to add the comedy side of it now. I mean, I’ve worked with all the big names and all the big stars, and I really feel, after 70 movies now, I’ve learned a lot. That was my main thing, to learn as much as I can. And like being friendly with Robert Duvall and people like that who really encourage you, and Jerry Bruckheimer who was very good to me early on. Val Kilmer was very good to me. I’ve just been on a learning process, and now, I feel it’s time to flex the wings and maybe jump off the branch, you know.
How exciting or scary was the musical element for you?
Well, I did an album in 2002, which is good fun, so it wasn’t alien to me. I sang at the Queen’s birthday. I like surprising people, and I have in this. It’s that element of surprise. The minute people think, “Oh, he’s going to bash people up forevermore,” I come out with a comedy, and people go, “Wow – great move!” You know what I mean? That’s the main thing I’ve had from this, from everybody in industry and friends – I got congratulated by Bradley Cooper, saying, “What a great move for you.” So I’m really enjoying it.
What was your audition song?
It was called “Manology.” I was telling the King to man up. And it’s a little bit of an Ian Dury rock song. And then I come out with this lovely like Gone with the Wind-type song at the end. And it’s funny. It’s hammy and it’s a little cheesy, but we play it straight. And that’s what makes us all laugh. We got bloody Weird Al and Ricky Gervais on – I mean, the show keeps surprising people. And it’s great to be in a comedy. There’s too much crap going on in the world. People want comedy. I think it’s the way to go. You make somebody laugh, one person a day, if you can make one person laugh a day, you’ve accomplished something.
What was the big surprise of the job?
Although it’s a musical and everything, it’s more along the Monty Python lines than I thought it would be. And the reason is, the director, Chris Koch, and the writer, Dan Fogelman, they’re funny guys. And they were on set, and they would throw in one-liners to us. They were watching it on the monitor, and saying, “OK – try this.” And when the crew and that crack up as well, you know you’ve got some good lines. And we weren’t afraid of asking them, “Oh, can I say this? Can I say that?” It was a really nice experience. All good pals. And I got told a long time ago to enjoy it. And I told a couple of our cast – they’re not big names right now, but they’re up and coming – I’ve said to them, “Enjoy this. Because everything you do, this does not happen. You’re going to have a lot more knockbacks, so these nights, you’ve got to enjoy. Take it all in and learn the process.”
A four-week event, Galavant concludes tonight at 8 ET/PT on ABC.
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