Rap-singer-turned-actor Plan B is to star alongside Ray Winstone in a movie version of an iconic seventies British police drama created by Ian Kennedy Martin.
Plan B – whose real name is Ben Drew – will play George Carter, the sergeant to Winstone's Detective Inspector Jack Regan, in The Sweeney, which will be directed by Nick Love (The Football Factory).
Today, BBC News quoted Drew as saying that working with Winstone was "a dream come true", while Love revealed his excitement at working on the project. He said: "For me, Ray and Ben are the ultimate casting for a character-driven action thriller set in London today."
Plan B began his singing career in 2005, and his debut album was called Who Needs Actions When You Got Words.
His first major film role was in AdULTHOOD (2008), the sequel to KiDULTHOOD (2006), both directed by, written by and starring Doctor Who actor Noel Clarke. His casting came about after Plan B's song "Kidz" was used on the original soundtrack of Clarke's first film.
In 2009, Drew appeared in a supporting role with Sir Michael Caine in Harry Brown (Daniel Barber).
Talk of some sort of remake of The Sweeney has been around for some years. In 2008, it was announced that Love would be working with DNA films to produce a feature-length episode of the show, with filming supposedly set to take place sometime in 2009. Winstone was linked with the part of Regan at that time but, subsequently, the actor said that the producers had failed to secure the financial backing. The current James Bond, Daniel Craig, was also linked to the role at one point, with both Tom Hardy and Orlando Bloom being touted as possible candidates for the role of Carter.
The Sweeney followed the exploits of London Scotland Yard's Flying Squad, with the show's title being derived from "Sweeney Todd", the Cockney rhyming slang for "Flying Squad".
The original series, which was produced by Thames Television, ran to four series from 1975 to 1978, although no new TV episodes were shown in 1977 to allow for two feature films – Sweeney! (1977) and Sweeney 2 (1978) – to be made. Although Kennedy Martin created the concept for the show – for a pilot episode, "Regan", shown as part of Armchair Theatre in 1974 – he never wrote for the series. His brother, Troy Kennedy Martin, however, contributed several episodes to the series and wrote the second movie.
The role of Jack Regan was originally played by the late John Thaw, who later became known for playing the title role in Inspector Morse. Sergeant Carter was played by Dennis Waterman. There is no word yet as to who will be playing Regan's boss, Haskins – Detective Chief Inspector Frank Haskins – who was played in the original series by the late Garfield Morgan.
According to MTV, the new movie begins filming in the autumn/fall of this year, for a summer 2012 release.
It's not yet known whether the new film will be set in the 1970s or the present day.