When a stolen painting falls into the hands of rock star Johnny Story, (Toby Kebbell), the shambolic musician – who is hiding out in a crack den, having been declared dead – finds himself caught in the middle of a battle between the Russian mob, the established London underworld and its rising tough guys.
And speaking to Empire magazine, Ritchie has revealed that former Libertine Doherty was the inspiration for Kebbell’s character.
“At the time I was writing it, Pete Doherty was everywhere,” he explained. “It’s either genius marketing or a happy – or unhappy – accident. It’s creative self-destruction in the sense that he’s doing it creatively.”
He continued: “I think what we all like is someone who fell and then stood up again. And that’s probably the story with Pete Doherty. There seems to be an implication that people want to see him jump. But at the same time there’s a desire to see the likes of him being reborn.”
RocknRolla - which Ritchie has described as looking at “old school gangsters getting pushed out by the new school” – is released on September 5th.