After producing three of fellow Brit Guy Ritchie's films (Swept Away, Snatch, and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels), director Matthew Vaughn originally read J.J. Connolly's screenplay as a project for his frequent collaborator. But when Ritchie declined, Vaughn stepped in. ''It was one of those tales of every cloud having a silver lining,'' recalls first-time director Vaughn, ''with Guy pulling out and me thinking, I'll fill his shoes, but not wear the same type.'' A complex gangster story set in London, Cake may remind some of Ritchie's Mob sagas, but Daniel Craig (Sylvia) playing a drug-king hero who tries to retire but instead ''gets into s--- and pays for it'' says this movie is very much its own gun-toting beast. ''We knew what we didn't want to do, and that was make another Lock, Stock... and Snatch,'' says the actor. ''We wanted to make something that was classically British, but also universal. And there's a moral twist. I'm
much more interested in that than seeing a gangster dying in a hail of bullets. This makes for much better drama.'