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Cinema: HEAD TO HEAD - RAY WINSTONE & JOHN MALKOVICH.

Two heros of the screen tool up and try to take each other out in Ripley's Game, released today - and they don't come much more different than these two. American John Malkovich is best known as a gentleman, playing leads in costume dramas or intense, serious roles. In the opposite camp is Ray Winstone - rough, ready and a genuine British East Ender. So who would be the winner in a real life punch up - the silent but strong Mr Malkovich or the "mad fer it" Ray?

RAY WINSTONE

BORN: February 19, 1957, Hackney, London.

ROUND ONE: A real East End boy, Ray's parents owned a fruit and veg stall. It was a rough area and he soon learned to defend himself, enrolling at the famous Repton Amateur Boxing Club at the age of 12. He was three times London Schoolboy Champion and fought twice for England. In ten years, he won over 80 medals and trophies, but gave it up to act. 7/10

CUPID'S PUNCH: He's been married to Elaine for 24 years and they have three daughters - Lois, 20, Jamie, 16, and two-year-old Ellie. He recently turned down a

considerable amount of money to star in a police drama in the US because he didn't want Ellie to grow up with an American accent. 8/10

COUNTING UP: After winning his first TV role in The Sweeney in 1975, Ray starred in the award-winning drama Scum in 1979, but came to public

attention in Gary Oldman's Nil By Mouth in 1997. 7/10

VERDICT: 22/30 You wouldn't want to get on his wrong side, but his tough demeanour may curb his ability to win roles.

JOHN MALKOVICH

BORN: December 9, 1953, Christopher, Illinois, USA.

ROUND ONE: John was born into a distinctly non-showbiz family - in fact, he claims his parents still don't realise that he's a successful actor. He moved to Chicago in 1976 and joined the newly-founded Steppenwolf Theatre before moving to New York, seven years later, to star in Sam Shepard's play, True West. 5/10

CUPID'S PUNCH: John is the thinking ladies' crumpet - tall and kooky-looking. He married ER actress Glenne Headly in 1982, but they split in 1988 and John started dating Michelle Pfeiffer. He left her for his current wife, Nicoletta Peyran, who is a director. They have two children, a 13-year-old daughter, Amandine, and an 11-year-old son, Lowey. 6/10

COUNTING UP: His first big screen role was in Places In The Heart (1984), which lead to The Killing Fields (1984) and an Oscar nomination for In The Line Of Fire (1993). In 1999, he was the subject of a hit movie - Being John Malkovich. 6/10

VERDICT: 17/30 He may be a heavyweight in LA, but if it came to a punch-up he'd be out cold in seconds.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 30, 2003
Words:469
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