Steve Coogan Talks The King Of Soho

Exclusive: On his Paul Raymond biopic

The last time Steve Coogan and Michael Winterbottom collaborated on a hedonistic nightcrawl the result was the brilliant 24 Hour Party People. That's the benchmark they'll be hoping to match with The King Of Soho, a similarly woozy trawl through British nightlife that swaps 1980s Manchester for '70s London.

Braving a world of eyeball-fryingly trippy wallpaper and velour fixtures, we headed down to the film's Elstree set to meet its star and talk Paul Raymond, titular monarch of the saucy square mile that was 1970s Soho.

"I think what Raymond did was to introduce sex to Britain in a very adult way," Coogan explains in the new issue of Empire. "It wasn't the smutty, schoolboy sex of, let's say, the Carry On films, it was something more sophisticated - continental, even."

The King Of Soho picks up Raymond's story during his heyday as a porn baron and proprietor of the Raymond Revuebar strip club and runs through to his reclusive life following the death of his daughter Debbie (Imogen Poots). The man was synonymous with Soho and the film captures the grip the area had on him.

"I said to Michael [Winterbottom], 'I think that if he ever tried to leave Soho, a big bouncing ballwould come to take him back there, like Patrick McGoohan in The Prisoner'. The furthest he ever got was Wimbledon."

Pick up the August issue of Empire for more from Coogan and co., which hits shelves on Thursday, and also contains in-depth features on Gangster Squad, Lawless, Paul Verhoeven and Rachel Weisz, as well as a first look at The Great Gatsby and Dredd.

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