Shooting is well under way on the first big screen adaptation of Britain’s biggest ever burglary and the director has told us he wants to evoke the same kind of wry smile in his audience as he got when he read about the audacious heist.

It was only Easter last year a high security Hatton Garden vault was drilled into and £14million of gold and jewels were taken.

What amazed everyone was that when caught the men responsible turned out not to be young men or international criminal masterminds but a bunch of blokes in their sixties and seventies – albeit career criminals - led by Dartford pensioner Brian Reader.

And then more facts emerged such as Reader travelling to the raid on the 96 bus with a stolen bus pass, another raider being found with a copy of Forensics for Dummies and a look-out falling asleep on duty.

Director Ronnie Thompson also co-wrote the script for The Hatton Garden Job with Ray Bogdanovich and Dean Lines.

He said: “I just had this affinity with the story. I loved reading about it and hearing about it. Then I was approached to write the script and direct it and I jumped at the chance.”

Clearly there are many ways you can tell a crime story like this. Between them, the men had quite gruesome criminal records and spent much of their lives in prison, but Thompson is taking the same approach as those who dubbed them Bad Grandpas, Dad’s Army and the Diamond Wheezers.

He said: “Mine is not a kitchen sink drama, mine is OAP’s 11.

“We’re telling the story of the [heist] and how these old guys come into it and how they did it but in my version of the story I have used the stuff that has been revealed and I’m telling the story in a more…uplifting is probably the closest word to it.

“I’m telling it in the way that we had the smile about it when we read the story.

“I want you to smile, I want you to laugh, I want you to watch it again. That is my intention.”

The strong British cast that has been assembled will certainly go a long way in establishing that tone.

Ex-EastEnders and Gavin and Stacey actor Larry Lamb leads the ensemble as Brian Reader, while the cast also includes Stephen Moyer from the US smash True Blood, Quadrophenia’s Phil Daniels, Downton Abbey’s Matthew Goode, film icon Joely Richardson and respected TV faces David Calder and Clive Russell.

Producer Ben Jacques told us: “In my wildest dreams, I couldn’t have had a cast as fantastic as this with such a tiny little budget.”

Thompson said: “I’m delighted. Matthew Goode is an international star, Joely Richardson is a movie star that has been around for a lot of years in some of the movies I loved as a kid.

“It’s an enormous cast.

“They are proper actors that are at the top of their game. It certainly makes it much, much easier from my point of view.

“They just nail their performances, they are true professionals. You don’t have to wring it out of them.”

For Thompson, it was important that his gang of raiders gelled and he is thankful that has happened.

He said: “From the start we did script read-throughs and spent a lot of time together so that could happen. I was certainly hoping it would happen.

“In between takes when my cast could be resting or going to their trailers, they sit on set, they carry on having that banter, they sit with me.

“That camaraderie is there. It was important and again it feels like I have got that team with me.”

While Thompson has done extensive research into the heist and many aspects of it lend themselves to the kind of film he is trying to make, he said it is important to realise his version will be fictionalised.

He said: “I’ll say from the outset: I’m making a movie, I’m not making a documentary. My movie is there to entertain the audience.

“I think the story from the start, I was one along with the majority of the public, who had a bit of a dry smile when they read this.

“Nobody got hurt and it was kind of this remarkable story about these predominantly pensioners.”

Producer Ben Jacques said: “We have added elements to it to make the story exciting.

“We have based it on theories and some of the public domain knowledge about the story. Matthew Goode’s [Downton Abbey] character currently doesn’t have a name, and there’s a reason for that.”

The Hatton Garden Job is expected to be released later in the year.

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