Chiwetel Ejiofor and John Hillcoat: 'The French Connection and Heat inspired Triple 9'

We spoke to John Hillcoat and Chiwetel Ejiofor, the director and star of new crime ensemble Triple 9  

Upon seeing Triple 9, you may come away with the feeling you've witnessed an homage to crime thrillers of the past; you wouldn't be wrong.

"The French Connection," answered director John Hillcoat when asked which film inspired him to make the new crime ensemble, out in cinemas today.

"...and Heat, of course - there was a lot of Heat references," he said.

Triple 9 follows a gang of criminals and corrupt cops, headed by Chiwetel Ejiofor's Michael, who plot to murder an officer to throw authorities off the scent of a planned heist.

The violent thriller boasts quite the cast ("I was blessed," admitted Hillcoat) with Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Aaron Paul, Anthony Mackie, The Walking Dead's Norman Reedus all starring, as well as Kate Winslet in a rare villainous turn.

Ejiofor, who'll star in Marvel's upcoming Doctor Strange alongside Benedict Cumberbatch, said of his ruthless character: "I liked the idea of there being something dangerous about a guy who's pretty rational who's decided he's not going to deal with the moral implications of what he's doing.

"There was something really scary about him actually."

When pressed on which of his cast assumed the role of being the joker. "Oh, there were many. When you're making that kind of movie, you need humour at times to balance things."

Although remaining tight-lipped during the interview, Hillcoat let slip which cast member was particularly devilish once the cameras stopped rolling.

All I'll say is, it's exactly who you're thinking.

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