King Saulplayed by Ray Winstone
KING SAUL is the first king of Israel. Anointed by the Prophet Samuel, Saul has reigned for over 40 years. And it hasn’t been easy. Israel is a nation of 12 fractious tribes, and Saul has long worked to unite them. He’s a fierce warrior, as adept with a sword as he is with political negotiations. He’s merciless on the battlefield, and this trait also bleeds into his life– Saul is quick to anger, and does not take betrayal lightly. Nor does he forgive it because he has learned that in this world, leadership requires bold choices and sacrifice. That is the burden of kingship, and it has begun to weigh heavy on him. Saul has always wrestled with the question of whether he serves God or the people. He was a farmer in his youth, and his happy memories of those simpler times still follow him -- and haunt him. Saul’s love of country is equaled by his love of family. He is proud of his sons, warm towards his daughters. They are his pride and joy, and comfort against the harsh demands of the crown.
Saul’s entire world is thrown out of balance when the Prophet proclaims that God shall soon anoint another in Saul’s place. How can Saul continue to serve a God who has forsaken him? How can he protect his family? And, most importantly, how can he hold onto his throne when he knows a usurper is waiting in the wings?
Ray Winstone celebrated 40 years in the industry this year, marking him one of the U.K.’s most prolific actors.
Winstone most recently starred in Pierre Morel’s spy thriller “The Gunman,” based on the Jean-Patrick Manchette novel, alongside Sean Penn, Idris Elba and Javier Bardem; and in Darren Aronofsky’s box-office-hit “Noah,” opposite Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connelly and Douglas Booth. He also starred in the U.K.’s ITV three-part drama “The Trials of Jimmy Rose,” a role that reunited him with Amanda Redman, who had starred alongside him in the acclaimed crime film “Sexy Beast” in 2000. Additionally, Winstone stars in the films “Zipper,” directed by Mora Stephens and co-starring Patrick Wilson, Lena Headey and Richard Dreyfuss, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival; and Robert Carlyle’s directorial, debut “The Legend of Barney Thomson,” co-starring Emma Thompson and Carlyle, which premiered at the Edinburgh Film Festival in June.
Born in Hackney, in the East End of London, Winstone started boxing at the age of twelve. He 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 in “Scum.” This BBC Play production made Winstone’s name and, since then, he has appeared in numerous TV series and movies. After a starring role in Franc Roddam’s “Quadrophenia” and being cast by Ken Loach in “Ladybird, Ladybird,” Winstone earned the lead role Gary Oldman’s gritty biographical drama “Nil By Mouth,” for which Winstone 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.”
His other film credits include “Cold Mountain,” “King Arthur,” “The Proposition,” Oscar-winner “The Departed,” directed by Martin Scorcese, Anthony Minghella’s “Breaking and Entering,” the title role in the Robert Zemeckis’ film “Beowulf,” Steven Spielberg’s “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” and “44 Inch Chest,” for director Malcolm Venville. Additional films include “London Boulevard” and “Edge of Darkness,” both for GK Films; “Snow White and The Hunstman,” opposite Charlize Theron; and “The Sweeney.” Most recently, Winstone co-starred in remake of action-thriller “Point Break.”
His television credits include “Henry VIII,” which went on to win Best Mini Series/TV Movie at the International Emmy Awards, “Sweeney Todd” and “Compulsion,” both telefilms for his company, Size 9 Productions, and “Vincent,” for which Winstone won an International Emmy Award for “Best Actor” for his eponymous role.
In December 2007, Winstone received the Richard Harris Award for outstanding contribution at the British Independent Film Awards.