Q&A: ‘Snatch’ TV Show Star Dougray Scott on Meeting With Bank Robbers to Prepare for His Role

Snatch Crackle
Courtesy of Crackle

Crackle’s newest TV show serializes the Guy Ritchie gangster flick “Snatch,” telling the story of a bank robber’s son who happens upon the very trove of gold bullion that landed his father back in prison 15 years ago. Dougray Scott stars as Vic Hill, the original gangster whose son finds the stolen truck load of gold and sets Hill on a quest toward redemption. Variety spoke with Scott about the show, his character, and the work that went into preparing for his gangster role. “Snatch” arrives on Crackle March 16.

What got you excited about the project?
It was very different from anything that I’d read before. I’d seen the movie, “Snatch,” and I really loved it but I thought this was different from the film. Ostensibly, [the TV show] is a heist movie, and then turns into a prison breakout movie, and then into a ‘getting our gold back’ movie. So it’s many different stories rolled into one.

Your character is a father and a ringleader in the crime community. Did you ever feel like the patriarch on set working with younger actors like Ed Westwick and Rupert Grint?
I think there comes a point in your career you realize you’re the father of everyone. I’m quite happy having that responsibility because I’ve been doing it for quite a long time now, and [Vic Hill is] certainly the patriarchal figure within the series and the story.

What was it like to play this humorous, but also villainous character? 
It was great. He starts in the past, then moves onto prison and eventually escapes. Vic Hill is a survivor. He will do anything he can in order to [survive]. Whatever situation he’s in, he’s very adaptable.

What drove him as a character?
His desire and his obsession to provide for his family. The gold robbery 15 years ago was designed to be the one big last robbery to take care of everything for the rest of his life. It went wrong, so it’s been eating away at him for years. I think what drives him to then go out again and get the gold back is that he thinks it will solve all his problems.

He wants to rectify the damage that he caused and be a successful bank robber at the end of the day, a successful bank robber who gets away with it. In some ways he’s defined by that gold bullion heist that went wrong. Until he, in some way, changes the history of what happened to him, he’ll never be satisfied.

He seemed a little doubtful of his son’s ability to succeed in the crime world.
He has doubts about his son’s ability to follow the same path as him. In some ways, he’s protecting his son because he knows the world that he got involved, the cutthroat nature of it and how difficult and precarious it is. He doesn’t want his son to fall in the same path as him, which is to end up in prison for 15 years.

It would seem as if he’s demeaning and belittling his son and really patronizing him. It’s really designed to put his son off from following the same path as him and a life of crime, but inevitably, that’s what happens.

What did you do to prepare for the role?
I looked at documentaries about gangsters in the East End of London, the Krays and many, many robberies, both successful and unsuccessful. Then you look at movies that are set in similar settings, like bank heists. Then I met a lot of people from that world as well. You take everything you watch, then it’s a question of elimination. In your head you see what kind of character you think this guy should be, and then it’s like, how do I get to that guy? You have to then fill in, to humanize him.

What kind of people did you speak to?
People who’d been in prison, got out of prison and spent many many years in prison for bank robbery and for various other things. You speak to them about their life experience, how they get through their day, how the hierarchy works within the prison, how they get to the point where they’re the top dog in prison. Hundreds of questions that you ask them really about creating a character and a history. You look at your own life and ask, ‘How did I get where I am today?’ You ask the same question of them.

How did Crackle differ from other distributors and studios?
With networks, you have interference from executives and people in the studio, people in the network, asking for changes. You’re just very, very aware of the many different voices within the process of making the television show. With cable, you don’t feel like that. There are changes, but those changes are decided by the writers. They’re created by us.