Guy Stuart Ritchie (born 10 September 1968) is an English screenwriter and film maker best known for directing Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, Revolver, RocknRolla and Sherlock Holmes and its sequel.
Ritchie directed a 20-minute short film in 1995 entitled The Hard Case. In 1998, Ritchie and his dad contacted their friend Peter Morton, of the Hard Rock Cafe chain, wondering if he had any potential investors for a debut film, Morton knew his nephew Matthew Vaughn had been studying film production in Los Angeles. Peter informed Vaughn of Ritchie’s new film idea, and Vaughn knew he could help out with his own found production ideas, from his travels to America. Matthew, John, Guy and Peter all contacted their mutual acquaintance, Trudie Styler, who they all knew had enough acting money to invest in the production of Ritchie’s second film. Styler informed them all that she had previously seen The Hard Case, and saw that it would be a worthwhile opportunity to co-fund the project. After about eight months, the production of the film, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels was successful, and it was released, in 1998 to a national audience, then later went global, after its well met reviews. He was introduced to Madonna, when the soundtrack for the film was issued on her Maverick Records label. The film, whose main actor was Jason Flemyng, also introduced actors Jason Statham (The Transporter), Nick Moran and Dexter Fletcher to worldwide audiences, as well as introducing former footballer Vinnie Jones to a new career as a film star. In 2000 Ritchie won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Motion Picture Screenplay. Ritchie created and produced a spin-off television series called Lock, Stock….
His second feature film was Snatch, released in the year 2000. Originally known as Diamonds, it was another caper comedy, this time backed by a major studio. The cast featured such Hollywood big names as Brad Pitt, Benicio del Toro and Dennis Farina, along with the returning Vinnie Jones and Statham. Similar to Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels in featuring a complex and inventive storyline in which the characters weave in and out of each others’ lives, the film also plays with time, depicting events from various perspectives. It currently has a rating of 72% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Ritchie accompanied Madonna to the debuts of her film The Next Best Thing and album Music. Following his marriage to Madonna, Ritchie began focusing his filmmaking on his famous wife, directing her in both a music video (for the song “What It Feels Like for a Girl”, a controversial video that showed Madonna engaging in violent behaviour, ostensibly directed at men, including T-boning a car with three men in it, tasering and robbing a man at an ATM, scratching a police car and shooting two officers with a water gun, driving her car through a group of men playing street hockey and incinerating a man by throwing a lighter into a pool of gasoline) and a short film, Star, for the BMW films series. Ritchie’s next film, also featuring Madonna, was a remake of the 1974 Lina Wertmüller hit Swept Away (also entitled Swept Away). Ritchie cast Madonna as a rich, rude, socialite who, after a shipwreck, is trapped on a deserted island with a slovenly Communist sailor who humiliates her. Ritchie renamed the woman Amber Leighton after his mother. This film was both a critical and commercial disappointment. He later accompanied Madonna to the debuts of her films Die Another Day, I’m Going To Tell You A Secret, Arthur and the Invisibles, and I Am Because We Are, as well as her West End play debut in Up for Grabs. Madonna supported her husband by attending the debuts of Ritchie’s films Snatch, Revolver, and RocknRolla.
Ritchie’s next project was a Vegas-themed heist film entitled Revolver, which was critically panned in the US and UK.
Ritchie was involvedwith a hidden camera show called Swag, for Channel Five in the UK, which turned the table on criminals and opportunists by using stunts to trap them in the act.
Ritchie has also written and directed RocknRolla starring Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Gerard Butler, Tom Hardy, Jeremy Piven, Thandie Newton, and Tom Wilkinson. It scores 60% on Rotten Tomatoes and was generally received well. Ritchie intends to develop the film into a trilogy, with the next entry being “The Real RocknRolla,” as is stated at the end of “RocknRolla.” Ritchie will also direct a film based on a comic book series he created with Virgin Comics entitled Guy Ritchie’s Gamekeeper. The film rights were acquired by Warner Brothers in July 2007. The film’s being produced by Silver Pictures.
Ritchie’s movie Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law, received its theatrical release on 25 December 2009. The film was given generally positive reviews and grossed more than $520 million worldwide, becoming Ritchie’s most successful film financially. The sequel, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, was released on 16 December 2011.