Ray Winstone has revealed that it was his cockney accent in a previous role that alerted Robert Zemeckis to the possibility of him playing Beowulf.

“Robert saw me in Henry VIII, and he loved the sound and the voice and the way I did it,” he says.

The actor employs his cockney twang again in Beowulf, in which he stars opposite Angelina Jolie.

He says: “It’s an English thing. How do you talk? How did people talk back then? It’s like playing Henry VIII. Do you want me to talk in Latin? Who’s going to understand that?

“You find a tone and a deepness in your voice, and you become a king. That’s more important to me.

“I come from London and I’m really proud of that. But what is language? How would they have spoken in those days? No one was there were they?”

From a king, to a warrior, the progress of computer technology in movies – such as the motion capture in this flick – could mean actors playing pretty much any part they wanted.

“It opens so many doors,” Ray acknowledges. “You could play someone who’s five years of age. You could play anything. You can as an actor anyway, I always think, but this opens a hell of a lot more doors. You can be anything you want to be with this process. It’s fantastic. I’d love to do it again.”