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Jude Law combines criminal brutality and comedy in 'Dom Hemingway'

Jude Law
Jude Law
Fox Searchlight Pictures

In the dark comedy film “Dom Hemingway” (written and directed by Richard Shepard), Dom Hemingway (played by Jude Law) is a larger-than-life safecracker with a loose fuse, and who is funny, profane and dangerous. Back on the streets of London after 12 years in prison, it’s time to collect what he’s owed for keeping his mouth shut. Traveling with his devoted best friend Dickie (played by Richard E. Grant), Dom visits his crime boss Mr. Fontaine (played by Demián Bichir) in the south of France to claim his reward.

Jude Law at the New York City premiere of "Dom Hemingway"
Getty Images

But Dom’s drink-and-drug-fueled ego decides that what he’s lost can’t be replaced. One car accident and a femme fatale later, Dom realizes that his priority must be to reconnect with his long-lost daughter Evelyn (played by Emilia Clarke). But Dom does what Dom does best. He screws things up for everyone. Here is what Law said at the New York City press junket for “Dom Hemingway.”

How would you describe who Don Hemingway is?

Dom is a petty criminal on the outer perimeter of gangland London. He’s a bit of a car crash of a man, really.

You find him at the beginning of the film at the end of a 12-year stretch in prison. It’s a sentence that possibly would have been shortened had he grassed up the people who were involved in what you find out was a heist, but he didn’t. He kept quiet.

He’s what you call an “old-fashioned” crook: He’s got morals and rules that he lives by. He’s an explosive and poetic and strangely funny yet violent and scary man.

What attracted you to your role in “Dom Hemingway”?

Part of me knew, deep down, having read [the “Dom Hemingway” screenplay] that I had to play him. It was odd. I’m not saying I have a lot of him in me, but there were sides of him that I knew I had never been allowed to entertain before. I wanted to.

What makes “Dom Hemingway” a unique film?

The film in itself is very individual, and that’s what makes it so exciting. It does have the elements that are familiar. It’s got a little bit of a crime scene. It’s got a little bit of that London swagger. It’s got a little bit the humor that maybe we’ve seen before, the sentiment of a man trying to discover himself. All of these familiar elements put together in a way that is unique.

The best way to describe it is the name of the film. It’s about an indescribable man: Dom Hemingway. All I can say is that it’s an hour-and-a-half of his company. And he will shock you. He will make you laugh. He will titillate you. He will excite you. It’s like going down to the pub with him.

What else can you say about the “Dom Hemingway” screenplay?

[“Dom Hemingway” writer/director] Richard Shepard writes in a very particular way. A lot of the impact and the extraordinary rants (or soliloquies, you can call them) that Dom had were very impactful off of the page. But also, the tempo he writes in between dialogue. The fluidity and the pulse that he writes is really engaging.

It was a script unlike any I’ve ever read. It was a part unlike any I’ve ever been considered for. And there was something both incredibly scary about him as a character to take on and also completely unavoidable.

For more info: "Dom Hemingway" website

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