Ray Winstone on his Gunman co-star Sean Penn: 'He can f*****g act'

British hard man also complimented his colleague on his physique

Ray Winstone has expressed his admiration for fellow actor Sean Pean, in the manner you’d expected from the gruff north Londoner.

Ahead of the release of their new film, The Gunman, Winston kept his praise short and to the point, saying of Penn: “He can f***ing act.”

Winstone, 58, perhaps best known for his ‘hard man’ roles on television and in film, made the remarks in an interview with The Independent.

The film, also starring Idris Elba and Javier Bardem, follows a former special forces soldier and military contractor attempting to clear his name while reconnecting with his long lost love.

“There's very few around who can carry a movie like that – especially at our age,” Winstone said. “And he looks fantastic as well. I mean, he's buff!"

He continues: “But boy, he can fucking act.”

Penn, 54, a two-time Academy Award winner, is as well known for his political campaigning as his acting. “He's very political, isn't he, Sean,” Winstone said. “I think he had a lot to do with [writing The Gunman].”

Talking of his own political activism, Winstone recently spoke out – highly critically – of politicians who claim the NHS is improving.

But he said of Penn: “He's actually got the knowledge that goes with that [taking on causes]. So I think you've got to take your hat off to him."

Penn is notably for his criticism of former US president George W Bush, his activism in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the Haiti earthquake.