What attracted you to work on Doghouse? The script, the director or the idea of fighting off thousands of Zom-birds?
"The producers basically told me that they couldn't make this film without me. They said they needed my name to raise the rest of the money to make it, which is a very odd conversation to have with producers. I hadn't read the script at that point, but they said that I could have whatever part I wanted and gave me total power. It was a real nice feeling actually and I took it away praying that I would like it and I did. So yeah, it was probably the script. It's always about the script with me."
Did you ever consider taking one of the parts other than Neil, because he seems like he was written with you in mind?
"I did initially think about playing the gay role, just to do something different. I've played Neil many times before and I know it's nothing different. I'm sure the critics will be taking their little digs at me, but there's no one in this f**king country who can do this job better than me. But in the end I just thought the romance/chopping fingers scene with [20 stone zombie housewife] Bubbles - that swung it for me - and meant that I had to take the role."
At one point your character says the line, 'This isn't very PC is it?' Is that a tongue-in-cheek comment, poking fun at your critics?
"We needed that line because I think it comes shortly after Stephen Graham talks about whacking women over the head with golf clubs. The few interviews I've done about the film, women seem to think there was a sexist issue going on. There ain't! How can there be with a film like this? It's a ridiculous idea. This film shows men up for what they can be. It shows how men can be when they get their hearts broken, which let's be honest is a horrendous thing to look at. It's happened to all of us, but it's hard to watch. In this film the blokes are trying to help their heartbroken mate by taking him away to a village where there's five women to every geezer and tell him all that he needs is to get his c*ck sucked. It's obviously never going to work out, because ultimately breakups are about emotions. We are very emotional people as men, but we just don't express it very well."
All the men in the film are suffering from some sort of mid-life crisis. Can you imagine yourself suffering that fate in a few years?
"I don't know mate, f**k me! I hope not, but I don't know. I'm not sure if they're all in a mid-life crisis in the film, I think they're more at the stage in their relationships where it gets f**king boring and you're rowing constantly. It's just at that 'getting on with it' stage of the relationship, where you suffer it for the sake of it. Everyone has that going on in the film, even the gay character, they are all stuck in a rut. My character Neil is the only one without a girlfriend, who is still a free spirit, shagging what he wants and doing what he wants. He spins around in his Porsche, living it the f**k up. But in the end, even he ends up coming unstuck."
Directer Jake West said he thought you enjoyed playing on your media persona in the film. Were you trying to poke fun at your Jack-the-lad image?
"Yeah I did, I milked it for all it's worth. Like I said before, I did have the opportunity to play the gay character and go a bit left-field, but I do enjoy this role. It comes naturally to me and I just go on my instincts with it. It's about bringing some charisma to it each time and keeping it interesting. I try to play the bad boy with a heart, who is endearing. But, yeah, I did milk it for all it's worth. I'm kinda thinking this is the last run for that sort of character. I'm in my thirties now, time to try some other sh*t".
So can we expect to see you ditching the geezer image in forthcoming films?
"I massively want to do it, but it's not my decision to make. It's about someone taking a risk on me".
But surely we won't ever see you doing Hugh Grant-esque rom-coms?
"Why not? Why not! It would just show that there's a different side to me. It's important that I do that. I just need someone to take that risk. I tell you what though mate, I would definitely nail it. I love acting and I'm a perfectionist. I feel that I have a lot more to show people with my acting."
Is there a particular sort of film that you would like to make in the near future?
"I've always wanted to do character roles. My ideal role would be Sid Vicious. I would love to play Sid. He's the total enigma. He was the most untalented, nuttiest f**ker you could ever meet, but he just had this aura that drew people in for all the wrong reasons. The only person that's played him is Gary Oldman, who is another one of my idols. Maybe I'm getting a little bit too old for it, but I would love to do that. Michael Sheen has made this amazing career out of portraying people and I don't think anyone's achieved that before. I'm not sure if that bugs him and he wants to do other things, but I'd like to do that with Vicious."
Doghouse is released at cinemas on June 12