For those not familiar, Charles has spent decades behind bars and is often dubbed Britain’s ‘most notorious prisoner.’
He’s no stranger to media attention, and in 2008 Tom Hardy starred in a biographical film about the inmate, called Bronson.
While the film achieved critical success, Charles’ ex-cellmate, Stephen Gillen, has drawn attention to just how accurate the film is.
Stephen, who was sentenced to 17 years in a category A prison, goes ‘well back’ with Charles and was quick to correct public perception of the inmate.
“See the thing about Charlie is the press has demonised him so is the prison service but he’s a human being like anyone else, and he’s going to react to what is in front of him. He had a lot of challenges but there’s a lot more to Charlie and other sides to Charlie that people don’t actually know. So, when I see this film [Bronson] I’m reminded of the hell that he has had to navigate.”
One thing that the film got right? The Broadmoor disco. Yep, possibly the most unbelievable scene in the film which sees Charles busting moves in the high-security prison among fellow inmates actually happened.
Charlie would even tell Stephen ‘crazy stories about Broadmoor and about this disco.’
It’s not just the wild discos that the film gets right, but Tom’s portrayal of Charlie distressed and arguing back with officers is pretty spot on: “I’m used to saying it’s a lot of detail here and a good portrayal for Charlie. A lot of this responsiveness and violence towards screws [officers] was he was trying to keep his self-respect but it was definitely you know a cry for help in some ways because of the conditions and because he really I know like you know a lot of us found it really hard to cope.”
He even went on to say that the scenes of Charles being dosed up on medication are pretty true to life: “This is very authentic as mad as it seems and I know they juiced Charlie up in there many times just uh just to have him like a fraggle, so it wasn’t a problem.
While Stephen’s general consensus is that the film gets a lot right, he asks those watching to see things from Charlie’s perspective, even if he was holding people hostage in prison: “He was known for taking a lot of people hostage, Charlie. I want the audience to try I invite them to understand what it would be like to be in a hell on earth like this with no escape.”
Charles is still in prison and is seeking a pardon from the justice secretary.