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Daniel Ings Details Chicken Dance Scene

Daniel Ings Details Chicken Dance Scene

One of the most talked-about scenes from Guy Ritchie’s The Gentlemen is the one in which a cocaine-fueled Freddy Horniman, played by Daniel Ings, dances in a chicken costume to wipe out a debt he owes to a gang of drug dealers. He’s forced to fly like a chicken and eat imaginary seeds off the ground — and that scene, says Ings, was almost entirely unscripted. “There was a version of it in the script, but the ending was structured slightly differently, it was more comic and more of an aside, like the plot of the episode is over and you get to see this moment where the silly guy gets changed,” he tells THR

Ings says he got more and more exhausted as he had to film the scene over and over again. “I think there is genuine frustration because I had no idea what I was doing and had no idea whether it was right, and it felt very exposing,” he says. “Like, if this scene’s shit, this is a great way to burn my career to the ground.”

However, Ings really lays the groundwork for his character in the first episode, when the family gathers at the reading of their father’s will and Freddy goes on a tear after hearing his dad’s entire fortune is going to his brother Eddie, played by Theo James. “There was something about that that made me immediately feel like I could get under the skin of that character,” he says. “I felt like I could bring the comedy and the awkwardness and the stroppy, tantrum-y, overprivileged buffoonery in that one scene. That really encapsulated it for me.”

The will-reading scene largely remained scripted even though, says Ings, Ritchie likes to “tear up scripts on the day.” There was a little bit of improv added, however. Ritchie, for example, told Ings to walk out of the room during the tantrum, but James’ little quip, “Great, he’s coming back,” as Freddy returns was entirely improvised. “I had no idea he’d done that until I saw the episode, and I thought, ‘That’s genius,’ ” says Ings.

After the Netflix series aired, many fans took to social media to express their feelings about Freddy, calling him the “most annoying character ever.” Ings, however, thinks Freddy is misunderstood. 

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“He is the thorn in Eddie’s side,” says Ings. “I sympathize with the part of Freddy that is, he’s a little boy who was never liked by his dad as much as his brother, and that can lead people to being pretty awful. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bad people.” 

This story first appeared in a June standalone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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