Ex-Eastenders star Rita Simons: ‘It’s not a Krays film. It’s about Frank Mitchell’
- Credit: Paul Choy
The story of the East End’s notorious Kray twins has often been told.
But Ronnie and Reggie’s reign takes a back seat in the latest film, which instead focuses on Frank Mitchell - the man the gangsters helped to break out of prison.
“People say we don’t need another Krays film,” said former EastEnders actress Rita Simons, who is starring in The Krays: Dead Man Walking.
“It’s not a Krays film. It’s about Frank Mitchell.
“It’s a story that hasn’t been told before.”
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Rita plays Lisa Prescott, a Mayfair club hostess who spends time with Frank when he is kept hidden in a flat.
“She’s someone who’s sent to appease Frank Mitchell when he’s broken out of Dartmoor by the Kray twins,” she said.
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“He falls in love with her.”
The former soap star said that she got a call about the part while starring in the West End production of Legally Blonde, and added that she “didn’t need to read the script” before accepting.
She said: “I’d always wanted to do a gangster film, it’s the first thing I said I wanted to do when I left EastEnders.
“I grew up watching the Krays film with Martin and Gary Kemp.”
Many of her scenes are alongside Josh Myers, who plays the prison escapee known as the Mad Axeman.
“Due to my schedule, we had to condense it into four days for me,” she said.
“It was intense. It was cold, minus five, with no heating.”
But she added: “I loved it. It was great fun.”
Speaking to the real Lisa wasn’t an option, so Rita had to find out about the woman she was portraying through other means.
She said: “She went into hiding many years ago and doesn’t want to be contacted.
“I did my research on her from everything I could find online.”
The gritty dramatisation also features another face familiar to EastEnders fans in Leslie Grantham, in the last role he filmed before his death.
It also stars Marc Pickering as Reggie Kray and Nathanjohn Carter as his brother Ronnie.
The Krays: Dead Man Walking is set for its premiere on Sunday at Genisis in Mile End, followed by a home entertainment release a day later.