Sunday 17 December 2017

Winstone and friends pull no punches in latest film

Jaime Winstone once again shows she is not afraid of sex scenes, says Evan Fanning

Evan Fanning

AS INTERVIEWS go, this one seems slightly daunting for some reason. I'm sitting down with Jaime Winstone, Nichola Burley and Sian Breckin, the stars of British thriller Donkey Punch, a movie which has been described by Empire magazine as 'Dead Calm meets Ibiza Uncovered'.

I'm not sure why it seems a little daunting. Perhaps it's because having seen the movie I'm aware that these women know how to handle themselves with their fists, their feet, kitchen knives, boat propellers, safety flares or any other object that could be turned into a weapon. Perhaps it's also because the three beautiful women exude such confidence that it is bound to slightly unnerve any man.

For the uninitiated (which is probably most people) the film's title refers to a mythical sexual practice in which the man punches the woman in the back of the neck at the moment of climax, thus enhancing his own experience. It's an act which is played out with uncompromising bluntness during the movie's pivotal scene -- an explicit and graphic orgy involving most of the cast.

At 23, Winstone is easily the best known of the trio. Daughter of Ray, best friend of Lily Allen and girlfriend of Lily's brother and fellow actor Alfie (they have been dubbed 'Britain's hottest couple'), Winstone is, in terms of celebrity, the zeitgeist.

She's frequenly in the papers and magazines, coming out of the hippest clubs wearing the best clothes. She's been on the catwalk modelling for Vivienne Westwood (despite being only five foot) and has starred in films such as Kidulthood, which showed the behaviour of London's youth so starkly it became an instant classic among the age group it portrays.

In Kidulthood Winstone performed oral sex on a drug dealer in exchange for free drugs. In the upcoming Boogie Woogie she has what are being called "steamy lesbian scenes" with Gemma Atkinson. Donkey Punch is no different. Winstone's character, Kim takes full part in the orgy.

"Sex scenes are always awkward," Winstone explains in her husky Essex drawl. "There's no way round it. You're pretending to have sex. It's not a normal situation. But you have to bite the bullet as an actress.

"This film is about the sexiness of young people, taking you back to that age of feeling like you can do anything and you can go out to a party and be a free spirit. But ... it can go horribly wrong."

Donkey Punch is 26-year-old Sian Breckin's first feature, and she has to carry much of the drug-fuelled orgy. "We wanted it as realistic as possible in terms of young people having fun, she explains. "Sex isn't glamorous. There are bits which are, and bits which are messy."

"In real life it's not that glamorous," Winstone interjects, "especially when you're kind of high and kind of drunk. I think it kind of captured that -- the awkwardness. We're not young strippers who know how to work it, it was very natural."

Nichola Burley is a close friend of Winstone's having starred with her in the TV series Goldplated. She's also been on the kind of holidays that the three characters embark on in the movie, including a trip to Ibiza for Winstone's 21st which, she jokes, has terrorised her so much that she won't be going on any more. She has seen first-hand the emphasis on sex with which people approach these kinds of trips.

"Since I was 17 I started going on mad holidays," the 22-year-old Burley explains. "Once we went on holiday and the reps gave us all these things including packets of condoms, and I was like: 'Excuse me, what kind of person do you think I am?'"

They've all gotten over the awkwardness of having family and boyfriends see the movie. Winstone's boyfriend Alfie saw it at the European premiere in Edinburgh but such is the tabloid appetite for their relationship that his no-show at the London premiere is put down to him not being able to bear seeing her in the sex scenes. Burley is so proud of the film that she took her grandfather to a screening. "He came out and said, 'Ooh, it's great. It's a porno that is. It'll do really well'." He may be somewhat outside the film's target audience, but grandfather Burley could prove to be right on the money.

'Donkey Punch' is showing in cinemas nationwide

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