'Swept Away': Guy Ritchie Remembers the 'Painful' Experience of His 2002 Movie With Ex-Wife Madonna

Ethan Alter
Senior Writer, Yahoo Entertainment

One of the challenges that frequently confront young directors is the dreaded sophomore slump — the second film that’s neither as creatively, nor as financially, successful as their first feature. Guy Ritchie neatly danced around that particular pitfall with Snatch, his widely liked follow-up to his well-received 1998 debut, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. But the British filmmaker met with a very different reaction when he released his third feature, 2002’s Swept Away. An English-language remake of a 1974 Italian film, the movie starred Ritchie’s then-wife, Madonna, as a wealthy woman stranded on a deserted island with a rugged sailor (Adriano Giannini). With their marriage already very much in the public eye, Ritchie faced intense scrutiny from the moment he called “Action,” and that continued up through the film’s release. “The experience of Swept Away was quite a painful one, and it was a trial by fire,” Ritchie tells Yahoo Movies in a candid interview. (Watch the video above.)

Fifteen years removed from Swept Away, the director has clearly been able to gain some perspective on the experience. “There were a couple of issues,” he remarks. “One was making it with my ex-wife, and two was making it on the back of my previous films.” Certainly, in the wake of Lock, Stock and Snatch, Ritchie had legitimate concerns about being pegged as a “crime movie” director and wanted to expand his cinematic horizons. “That was the first time I jumped out of my familiar territory, and boy, did I get punished for it!” he says with a wry smile. Still, looking back, Ritchie claims that he genuinely enjoyed the experience of making Swept Away. “I didn’t enjoy the experience of releasing it!”

Ritchie’s latest movie, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, is in theaters now.

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