Above the desk of the great British screenwriter Bruce Robinson there is an old, yellowing copy of a photograph taken during an FA Cup match in 1988. It’s not even that Robinson – who made the peerless Withnail & I, before winning a Bafta for The Killing Fields – is a particularly die-hard football fan; he just has a keen interest in the ways humans try to gain and hold power over each other. That’s what draws him to the famous picture of Wimbledon enforcer Vinnie Jones reaching back one-handed to squash Newcastle playmaker Paul Gascoigne’s testicles like ripe plums. “That’s one of the funniest photos ever taken,” Robinson once told me. “If someone’s got you by the knackers, you’re fucked.”
Jones is not your typical cinematic muse. He has a glare like someone’s just bad-mouthed his mum’s cooking and a giant granite head like he’s just pulled himself out of the dirt on Easter Island. Still, Robinson is far from the only filmmaker to find inspiration in the man who was once booked for committing a foul just three seconds after a game kicked-off.