Twin terrors the Krays ruled the East End in the '50s and '60s, crushing their enemies beneath them with brute force but famously sticking, together even in death.

But we're about to see them go head-to-head for the first time when low-budget British flick Rise of the Krays, starring Woodford actor Kevin Leslie, goes up against blockbuster Legend, starring Hollywood heavyweight Tom Hardy.

The first was developed and shot in East London and Kevin landed his role as Reggie Kray before he knew of the other film, which sees Hardy play both brothers.

"Although we can’t compete in terms of budget, our film is going to be real, gritty and authentic, " says the 27-year-old.

"We're the raw British version and hopefully we stand on our own two feet and people just enjoy our film."

Rise of the Krays screened at Cannes earlier this year and will be released on DVD on August 31- nine days before Legend opens in cinemas's on September 9.

"You're never going to stop comparisons," says Kevin, "but I just hope people give our a film a chance and don't just dismiss it because a big star isn't in it. We have some amazing up and coming British talent in our film who could be the next Tom Hardy."

He stars alongside Simon Cotton as Ronnie Kray and former EastEnders star Nicola Stapleton as their mum Violet in the film, which was co-written by Ken Brown, 68, who grew up on the Clapton-Hackney border when the Krays were rising to prominence.

Most of the filming took place in an old warehouse in Canning Town and in locations around East London last October and November.

"The hardest scene to film was the big bar brawl, " says Kevin, "because it was one continuous shot on steady cam and we all had our own little fights sequences that we didn't have long to rehearse as the whole schedule was so tight.

"So you had to think about your character in the moment, remember you fight sequence and be mindful when to start your sequence because of timings."

The Krays reigned terror over London with their gang The Firm and were involved in armed robberies, arson, and protection rackets and used violence and murder to retain their power.

"This has to be up there with one of the most violent characters I've played, " says Kevin who has stars as Reggie in sequel The Fall of the Krays which is due out in January.

"The closet part I've played would be Dracula but he wasn't really human. This was a real life human being that existed."

Reggie almost made it as a professional boxer but chose crime instead and used his skills to perfect a 'cigarette punch' where he would offer a victim a cigarette directly to the mouth and then strike, breaking their jaws. He also had a one-night stand with Barbara Windsor and the Krays rubbed shoulders with legendary stars such as Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland. The glamour came to an end when they were arrested in 1968, convicted of murder at the Old Bailey in 1969 and jailed.

Ronnie died in Wexham Park Hospital in Slough in 1995 and Reggie died in Norwich in 2000 and they are buried side-by-side at Chingford Mount Cemetery.

Kevin, who graduated from the Arts University in Bournemouth in 2010, and has his first breakthrough lead role in British film Pearls of Africa, says he knew hardly anything about the notorious twins when he landed the role, just five days before filming started.

"It was one of those characters that actors are waiting for to hit their desk. The part had so many layers, such history behind it and there was a lot of suppression to the character."

He says his lack of knowledge helped him stay neutral about Reggie: " You shouldn't judge a character good or bad, just play the given moment for the truth with the character choices you have made.

"They were a product of their environment and as two uneducated guys what they achieved was impressive but I wouldn't condone how they went about their business."

However Kevin, who says chasing his acting dream means he doesn't see his older brother or the rest of his family as much as he'd like, admits there were aspects of the crime lord he could relate to: "His love for his mother is a key one and who doesn't love their mother?

"He liked to look smart I'm keen on that also but then there was other things I had to explore and discover the violence, the suppression, urges he had referring to being gay."

Kevin's acting heroes include Meryl Streep, Forest Whitaker, Denziel Washington, Helen Hunt and Leonardo De Caprio and he hopes this role will take him one step closer to emulating their success: "This project has truly helped me make tremendous steps forward as an actor, getting into the mind set and heart of one half of the most notorious gangsters in the East End of London which is rich in culture and history."

And he also admits he is a massive Hardy fan and can't wait to see Legend on the big screen: "I'm honoured just to be mentioned in the same breath as him, " adds Kevin

"I'm intrigued to see how he's portrayed the brothers and I'm sure there'll be moments that I love and others that I don't but like anyone else I'll just take it for what it is and not focus on the fact we've played the same part."