The Gentlemen Stars Improvised Their Way Through Guy Ritchie's Netflix Hit

The Gentlemen Stars Improvised Their Way Through Guy Ritchie's Netflix Hit
Image credit: Netflix

Guy Ritchie doesn't like to stick to a strict structure, preferring personal input from the actors.


  • The stars of The Gentlemen talked about how the show was filmed.
  • According to them, they improvised most of the time.
  • As a result, the show impressed critics and viewers alike.

Some critical reviews prior to its official release were less than warm, but the king of crime action movies and British dark humor, Guy Ritchie, worked his magic. As a result, Netflix's The Gentlemen became one of the most streamed series of the first half of 2024.

And without Ritchie's inimitable style, neither the show nor its talented cast would have achieved such massive acclaim. The secret to the show's success, according to stars Theo James and Daniel Ings, was improvisation.

Guy Ritchie Prefers Ad Lib to a Well-Structured Script

As part of the Emmys FYC panel moderated by Entertainment Weekly, Theo James and Daniel Ings talked about the making of the show. According to the former, most of the time they only had a rough draft of the script without any specifics. Although this put the actors in an uncomfortable situation at first, the ad-libs added spice to their performances.

'Guy famously likes [to work with just] the bones of a script. You have the beginning of a scene and the end of a scene, and everything in the middle is up for grabs. And that was an experience that we had to really understand, because in the first day we were like, "What the f--- are we doing?"

'But in a way, for comedy, that really works because it keeps everyone on their toes. It keeps a kinetic energy. It means you can be a little fluid with the direction of each scene. I think it's harder if it's Succession or something like that, where everything is very acute. But in this world it works really well. And it's certainly Guy's…That's how he does everything.'

Feeling Comfortable Is Key to Improvising

Ings also shared that he was initially worried that he wouldn't be able to fully portray his troubled character beyond the boundaries of decency and doing 'weird stuff,' but the ease he felt working with James allowed him to open up.

'I kind of knew that he was a good guy, but also knew that he would be fun. And I think that because my character's such a f---ing idiot, it was crucial that I was going to be able to, selfishly, going to be able to kind of go there and do weird stuff, and that I wasn't going to be working with someone who's going to go like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa." And I think we quickly got to know each other much better and formed a kind of trust.'

The Gentlemen Received High Ratings

If trust is the key to successful improvisation, then improvisation is the key to successful Guy Ritchie projects. The series was well received (Rotten Tomatoes score of 74% from critics and 87% from audiences) and was one of the most watched shows at the time of its release.

The Gentlemen Stars Improvised Their Way Through Guy Ritchie's Netflix Hit - image 1

The week of its release on March 7, the show made its way into the Global Top 10 most-watched English-language series on Netflix. The following week, March 11-17 and March 18-24, it continued to hold the top spot. In addition, Nielsen points out that The Gentlemen had the loudest start of any scripted show on US streaming TV overall.

Following the original film, The Gentlemen revolves around Eddie Halstead (Theo James), who inherits an astonishing estate, only to discover that the property is tied to the activities of Matthew McConaughey's Mickey Pearson and his weed empire.

All episodes of The Gentlemen are available to stream on Netflix.

Source: Entertainment Weekly.