Provocative, outrageously profane and surprisingly tender amidst an explosion of unbridled testosterone, 44 INCH CHEST explores the masculine ego at breaking point, testing whether fear is stronger than love. Colin (Ray Winstone) is in agony, shattered by his wife’s (Joanne Whalley) infidelity. However, he has friends who do more than stand by – they kidnap the wife’s French lover and hold him prisoner so that Colin can restore his manhood with revenge. A kangaroo court takes place and as the situation escalates Loverboy’s life hangs in the balance as Colin wrestles with revenge, remorse, grief and self pity, all the while egged on by his motley crew of friends who just want him to get on with it so they can get down the pub.
44 INCH CHEST marks the debut feature of noted photographer and filmmaker Malcolm Venville, and is produced by Richard Brown and Steve Golin, who with (BABEL, BEING JOHN MALKOVICH and ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND) among many others, has specialized in innovative pictures that take challenging risks.
Ray Winstone was born in Hackney in the East End of London. He started boxing at the age of twelve, was three times London Schoolboy champion and fought twice for England. He studied acting at the Corona School before being cast by director Alan Clarke as Carlin (“the Daddy”) in SCUM. This BBC play production made Winstone’s name and since then he has appeared in numerous television series and movies. After playing a starring role in Franc Roddam’s QUADROPHENIA and being cast by Ken Loach in LADYBIRD, LADYBIRD, Gary Oldman gave Winstone the lead role in his gritty biographical drama, NIL BY MOUTH, for which he won a British Independent Film Award for Best Actor and earned a BAFTA Award nomination. His mesmerizing performance lead to a succession of challenging roles including Dave in the gangster movie FACE and Dad in Tim Roth’s disturbing drama, THE WAR ZONE. He also played in the comedy drama THE MAMMY and FANNY & ELVIS before delivering one of the finest performances of his career opposite Ben Kingsley in SEXY BEAST.
Television credits include OUR BOY (for which he was awarded an RST award for Best Actor) and BIRTHS, MARRIAGES AND DEATHS – both by writer Tony Grounds. Credits for Granada/ITV are TOUGH LOVE, its sequel LENNY BLUE and the title role in HENRY VIII (which went on to win Best Mini Series/TV Movie at the International Emmy Awards). In 2006 Winstone won an International Emmy Award for Best Actor for his eponymous role in VINCENT (Granada/ITV).
Recent major film credits include INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL, Academy Award winner THE DEPARTED, directed by Martin Scorcese, Anthony Minghella’s BREAKING AND ENTERING, the title role in the Robert Zemeckis film BEOWULF, and Warner Bros’ FOOL’S GOLD, for release later this year. Other feature film credits include THERE’S ONLY ONE JIMMY GRIMBLE, LAST ORDERS, RIPLEY’S GAME, COLD MOUNTAIN, KING ARTHUR and THE PROPOSITION.
In December 2007, Winstone received the Richard Harris Award for outstanding contribution at the British Independent Film Awards. This year Winstone completed filming on COMPULSION, a co-production with ITV and the third film for television from his company, Size 9 Productions.
Ian McShane’s recent feature film credits include the voice of the villainous snow leopard Tai Lung in KUNG FU PANDA, of Mr Bobinksy in Laika Entertainment’s first animated feature CORALINE, an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s international best-selling book, directed by Henry Selick and as a veteran convict in Paul W.S. Anderson’s DEATH RACE. In 2009 McShane will star in Paramount’s thriller CASE 39, playing a detective opposite Renée Zellweger, and on television in KINGS the modern-day drama loosely based on the story of King David for NBC.
McShane opened on Broadway to rave reviews in Daniel Sullivan’s revival of Harold Pinter’s THE HOMECOMING. It is the 40th anniversary for both the play and McShane as he made his Broadway debut in a production of THE PROMISE in 1967, the same year THE HOMECOMING first played on Broadway.
McShane earned the coveted Golden Globe Award for “Best Actor in a Television Drama” for his versatile performance as Al Swearengen on HBO’s hit series DEADWOOD. His charismatic and alluring performance also led him to a 2005 Emmy and 2005 and 2006 SAG nominations for Lead Actor, as well as being voted by People Magazine in 2005, “TV’s Sexiest Villain.”
His performance gained him a wave of critical acclaim which earned him the Television Critics Association’s annual award for “Individual Achievement in Drama,” and the title of one of GQ’s “Men of the Year.” They described the character of Swearengen as “infectious” and “darkly irresistible.” The New York Times dubbed him as “One of the Most Interesting Villains on Television,” and Rolling Stone Magazine bestowed the title of “Hot Barkeep” and described the character as “played to perfection.”
McShane has made himself an in-demand voice talent adding his vocal prowess to characters like Ragnar Sturlsson in the first installment of New Line’s THE GOLDEN COMPASS alongside Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig and as Captain Hook in SHREK THE THIRD. McShane has continually shown his range of talent over the last few years appearing in projects which embody a great diversity of roles. In the adventure fantasy THE SEEKER, he played mentor Merriman Lyon in the adaptation of Fox Walden’s beloved novel; in HOT ROD, a comedy directed by Saturday Night Live’s Akiva Schaffer, he played the macho, athletic step-father to accident-prone daredevil Andy Samberg; in Warner Brothers true-life drama WE ARE MARSHALL, he starred opposite Matthew McConaughey and Matthew Fox; in Woody Allen’s SCOOP, alongside Scarlett Johanssen and Hugh Jackman; Rodrigo Garcia’s critically acclaimed true to life character study Nine Lives; and Jonathan Glazer’s critically acclaimed indie SEXY BEAST, giving another riveting performance by transforming himself into the dark, sinister and very handsome character Teddy Bass, prompting one London writer to declare McShane “the king of cool.”
Having starred in more than thirty films, McShane made his debut in 1962’s THE WILD AND THE WILLING that led to other roles in THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN, THE LAST OF SHEILA, VILLIAN (co-starring Richard Burton), EXPOSED, and AGENT CODY BANKS.
McShane has enjoyed a long and creatively diverse career in both British and American television, including a role in the David Wolper’s seminal 1970’s mini-series ROOTS as well as BBC and BBC America’s TRUST, playing the eccentric megalomaniacal head of the firm, Alan Cooper-Fozzard. Starring turns in WHOSE LIFE IS IT ANYWAY? for Granada TV, the role of Heathcliff in WUTHERING HEIGHTS for the BBC and Harold Pinter’s Emmy-Award-Winning THE CARETAKER are among his other television highlights. McShane has also stepped into roles as well known figures, taking on parts as Judas in NBC’s JESUS OF NAZARETH directed by Franco Zeffirelli, Prince Rainier in the network’s THE GRACE KELLY STORY and the title role in Masterpiece Theatre’s DISRAELI. Additional mini-series credits include CHARLIE THE KID, A.D., THE GREAT ESCAPE II, MARCO POLO, EVERGREEN, and WAR AND REMEMBERANCE.
In the late 80s the actor formed McShane Productions, which produced the much-adored LOVEJOY for the BBC and A&E. LOVEJOY gave McShane a vehicle to star in as well as produce and direct. He followed his lovable rogue character Lovejoy by producing and starring in the darker and more serious lead role in MADSON and the comedy drama SOUL SURVIVORS for BBC and Showtime. LOVEJOY is currently enjoying a revival with audiences worldwide.
In 2000 McShane returned to the West End in London to make his musical debut starring in Cameron Mackintosh’s successful musical THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK. His varied stage career has included roles as Hal in the original cast of LOOT, the title role of THE ADMIRABLE CRICHTON at the Chichester Festival, Tom in THE GLASS MENAGERIE and Charlie in THE BIG KNIFE. He co-starred with Judi Dench and Ian McKellen in PROMISE, which successfully played London and debuted on Broadway. In Los Angeles he starred in three productions at The Matrix Theatre, including the world premiere of Larry Atlas’ YIELD OF THE LONG BOND and two others for which he received the Los Angeles Drama Critics’ Circle Award, INADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE and BETRAYAL.
Born in Blackburn, England, McShane is the son of professional soccer player Harry McShane, who played for Manchester United, and Irene McShane. He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. McShane and his wife Gwen Humble reside in Venice Beach, California.