You might have guessed but we love Shane Meadows here at Saviour, and Dead Man’s Shoes is, of course, one of our favourite pieces of film ever constructed. Paddy Considine played Richard, the protagonist who spends the film extracting revenge on a gang who tortured his mentally-challenged brother, and went on to star in films such as Hot Fuzz, the Bourne Ultimatum and new release Blitz, but what happened to the rest of the cast after they met their fate in Dead Man’s Shoes? Here we analyse where the hunted seven went next… (contains spoilers)
After some serious scare tactics, including make-up and gas masks, skinhead John was the first to meet his maker – found slumped in a store cupboard with a bloody head wound. This got the ball rolling on Richard’s trail of revenge. George Newton played John, who went on to appear as Banjo in Shane Meadow’s hit film This Is England as well as the follow-up TV series, This Is England ’86. He also showed up in the brilliant Control, based on the life on Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis.
One of the nastiest characters in the film, drug dealer Sonny is confronted by Richard and visibly unnerved about his lack of fear. Richard then kills Sonny by sneaking into his flat and lacing his kettle with drugs, before shooting him in the head. Formally a model and champion boxer before his role in Dead Man’s Shoes, playing nasty man got Gary Stretch nominated for a British Independent Film Award and a part alongside Angelina Jolie in Alexander.
Alongside Sonny, Soz becomes inebriated after drinking from the kettle laced with drugs. He is then killed in a particularly brutal way by Richard – by upward palm strike to the face. The character was played by Neil Bell, who is currently playing Billy in Coronation Street.
Scared of Richard, Tuff runs off and leaves the other members of the gang at the petrol station. He isn’t seen alive again. Instead, Richard pulls out a suitcase containing his decapitated body to scare Herbie into telling him where to find Mark. Paul Sadot played the part and now works as an artistic director of a dance programme for young offenders.
Instead of being killed by Richard, Big Al, played by Seamus O’Neill, is killed by one of his fellow gang members. He is sent into the farm where Richard is staying to flush him out as Sonny loads a rifle. Big Al is then accidentally shot when Sonny misses. O’Neill has gone on to have parts in two other of Meadows’ productions; the comedy Le Donk and Scor-zay-zee and the TV series This Is England ’86, as well as various parts in TV shows such as Coronation Street and Shameless.
With Sonny and Soz, Herbie is also killed by Richard after being spiked with drugs. He watches the other gang members being killed and is also shown the body of Tuff to force him to tell him where to find the remaining member. He tells him and Richard pulls Herbie into a hug before stabbing him. The character is played by Stuart Wolfenden who has since had roles in Emmerdale and Heartbeat, with new projects currently in the production stages.
Mark was the final gang member Richard caught up, and unlike the other characters had reformed into a respectable family man. Richard allows him to live and instead begs for him to kill him to make him end his murderous ways, which he does at the film’s dramatic ending. Like many of the other actors, he’s had minor TV roles and recently played the lead in Salford based indie flick Poor Wee Me.
So that’s our catch up on the fortunes of the six men hunted to their death and the one who got away. Some have obviously been more successful than others, but their contribution to this iconic film has allowed them a place in cinema history as well as inspiring us to come up with the M65 Jacket.