He is the hardman of British cinema, known for roles in Scum and Sexy Beast, but Ray Winstone is now so burly that his body double has to wear a fat suit under his armour.
The news filtered out from the set of Winstone’s latest venture, the biblical drama Of Kings and Prophets, which is being filmed in South Africa.
Winstone is said to be under strain, and his fellow British actor Olly Rix has been taken off set on a stretcher as they act out a barbaric story involving beheadings, amputations and concubines.
Winstone, 58, plays King Saul in the television drama based on the two Books of Samuel. Rix plays David, the future King of Israel. It is being made by the US broadcaster ABC and will also be shown in Britain.
A source said the cast was showing the strain of filming “daily beheadings and slaughtering” and added: “It’s a really heavy movie but that’s what happened in biblical times.”
Winstone is working long hours strapped into leather body armour with a thick undershirt, long leather boots, cloak and sword in sweltering heat. He is said to be “longing to get back to England”.
It takes 45 minutes for his body double to get into his fat suit.
Rix is said to be under medical care after twice falling off a horse.
ABC did not respond to requests for comment.