2004's British gangster thriller Layer Cake may still be an under-appreciated cult classic today, but there's no denying that the film elevated the careers of numerous artists involved.
As the directorial debut of Matthew Vaughn (X-Men: First Class, Kingsman), it became a firm launching pad for him to leap onto bigger and bolder things, while Daniel Craig's stock obviously upticked immeasurably shortly after its release, and a supporting role for Tom Hardy also helped raise his visibility with audiences.
While many gangster flicks of the era come across as moldy and dated today, there's still an electrifying freshness to Layer Cake sixteen years on, largely a result of Vaughn's kinetic direction, a terrific ensemble cast topped by a highly charismatic Craig, and a whip-smart script.
It's not the biggest or the best film of its kind, but its reputation as one of the great unsung crime thrillers of the 2000s continues to endure to this day.
But given Layer Cake's rather modest nature in the pantheon of Hollywood filmmaking, you've probably never seen these fascinating tidbits, surprising stories, and must-read anecdotes about its impressively low-budget, seat-of-the-pants production...
20. Guy Ritchie Was Originally Tapped To Direct
Though eventually directed by Matthew Vaughn in his directorial debut, Layer Cake was originally pitched to gangster film extraordinaire Guy Ritchie.
Ultimately, however, scheduling conflicts with Ritchie's own movie Revolver caused him to drop out, though it's easy to see how the film's script played so thoroughly to his sensibilities.
In the end, Revolver was a critical and commercial disaster while Layer Cake won over critics and was a modest financial success. Of the decision to hire Vaughn, writer J. J. Connolly said:
"It was meant to be a Guy Ritchie film, but he was off doing Revolver. Matthew [Vaughan] worked with me on the screenplay so he started to see it shot by shot, and we'd talk about who'd play various characters, so a lot of the work a director would do, Matthew had already started doing.
I think it would've been hard for him to give it over to someone else at that point. Then I went up to Matthew's house, this big Elizabethan place up in Suffolk, and over dinner his wife Claudia [Schiffer] said 'well why don't you direct it?' I think he just needed someone to say that to him."