Chris Sullivan, journalist and DJ, blogs from the London première of the new hit movie Mr Nice, based on the life of notorious drug smuggler Howard Marks and starring his friend, the actor Rhys Ifans…
The big London première of Mr Nice, at the beautiful Cineworld in the UK capital’s Haymarket, got off to a less than flying start, having fallen on the day of the mass strike of workers on the London Underground train network, which left hundreds of dressed-up attendees having to fight with pissed-off office workers trying to get a cab.
The film, adapted from Howard Marks’ memoirs of the same name, follows his rise from recreational drug user to becoming the world’s biggest hashish smuggler, who employed some 43 aliases (his favourite being Mr Donald Nice), 89 phone lines and 25 companies that laundered his vast amount of readies in the 1980s.
'I couldn’t have imagined this in a million years. It is f***ing marvellous!' – Rhys Ifans
Thus the guests were a mixed bag of socialites, stars, trendies, intellectuals and villains, many of whom came to tip their hat to Marks or the movie’s star Rhys Ifans. Indeed, the film went down a storm and, as I was DJ at the aftershow party at the Criterion Brasserie up the road, the applause continued for far too long, prompting me to sprint up the Haymarket with two rather heavy record boxes so as to arrive before the guests.
My musical remit was rock ’n’ roll, which I ignored (at least apart from at the beginning), as I don’t believe that rock makes a great party. I turned to classic funk instead.
In between, I chatted to the guests. “I love the film,” said the entirely loquacious Danny Dyer, star of movies Human Traffic and The Football Factory, plus a number of ‘documentary’ TV shows about hard men and the criminal underworld. “It’s the story of an outlaw, a pirate who went for it… and we love them, don’t we? We need more people like Howard. And Rhys is always fucking great.”
“Yes, Rhys was excellent,” interjected Jamie Foreman. “At last, he might get his dues. He’s one of our best actors.”
'I never thought this film would get made, never mind all this” – Howard Marks
Entirely conspicuous by their absence were Ifans's great pals Kate Moss, the Gallagher brothers Noel and Liam from Oasis and the artists Jake and Dinos Chapman, while old friends such as world champion boxer Joe Calzaghe, Sadie Frost and Sam Morton were as nice as pie.
Ifans himself was on cracking form. “It’s fucking brilliant, man,” he told me as he hugged me to almost to death. “I’m here at the première of a film where I play my best friend – surrounded by my best friends, my mum and dad and my brother, plus a load of the boys back home – in Oscar Wilde's favourite bar in Piccadilly Circus. I couldn’t have imagined this in a million years. It is fucking marvellous!”
“I never thought this film would get made, never mind all this,” added Howard Marks, who was there with his whole family. “And now here we are… I am still really, really gobsmacked.”
Watch a Mr Nice movie trailer from the official website