George Raymond "Ray" Stevenson is an Irish-British film and television actor. He is known for playing Titus Pullo in the BBC/HBO television series Rome, and in film as Dagonet in King Arthur and as Frank Castle/The Punisher in Punisher: War Zone and The Super Hero Squad Show. Stevenson appeared as Volstagg in Thor and Thor: The Dark World, based on the Marvel Comics character and as Cleveland mobster Danny Greene in Kill the Irishman. In 2012 he appeared in the seventh season of Dexter as Isaak Sirko.
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Here's the trailer for my latest movie, BIG GAME (in select Theaters, Digital HD & On Demand as of tomorrow June 26), here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-30Ib-la1TA
If you've got questions on this, or anything else, ask me anything!
(Victoria's helping me get started)
Apologies but I have overrun already into other commitments. I plan to be back in about 45 minutes or an hour!
Thirteen! Rome is probably my favorite show of all time. What was it like to travel back in time and play Pullo?
Loved the fact that in Ceasars journals he actually mentions two legionaries who detested each other but would save each others lives.
they were named Titus Pullo and Lucious Vorenus !!
13! What is one of your favourite scene(s) during the filming of Rome? How would you feel about playing a role in Game of Thrones since Ciarán Hinds already did?
In Rome, when Pullo makes his peace with the Gods from inside the cell prior to his supposed execution in the ring.
I love Game of Thrones and delight in seeing friends pop up from time to time. For me to have been involved I would have liked to be in at the beginning.
Hey Ray, Huge fan of your character in Rome. What is the hardest thing about all those Roman sex scenes? (pun intended)
Well .. How do I put this - (Pun intended) The scene in series 1 in the brothel was too much (and too little) to ask an Actress to do so I believe the lovely lady I was enjoying was infact a professional escort.
Of douse I could be wrong but the director had to ask her to "calm things down a bit". looking over her shoulder at me she asked what he said and i replied, He says your great and to just let yourself go ...
Ray, do you have any idea how amazing you would be as Logen in a screen adaptation of the First Law by Joe Abercrombie?
I'm flattered but alas not aware of this project.
So pumped to see you as Blackbeard in season 3 of Black Sails! What can we expect from your character?
A lot of hair, beardage and attitude !!
Will we ever see the Further Adventures of Titus Pullo? Really enjoyed you playing that character!
I would love to portray him again. He touched so many people, not least of which is me ! I think there is a bit of Pullo in everything I do.
You were awesome in Dexter, I wish you could have stayed til the end! What is your favorite character that you have played? :)
It has to be PULLO. That role and indeed the job itself changed my outlook on so many things. It really was a pivotal period in my life and career.
What was it like working on Thor?
truly wonderful. Invited by Ken Brannagh to give a larger than life performance - just great.
Ray, I love your work so much, how was it working with Lexi Alexander on Punisher: War Zone? Also, what was your favorite kill in that movie?
has to be the taking out of the parcour guy mid air.
THIRTEEN! Absolutely loved you in the series Rome! Pullo was a great character in the show and was portrayed beautifully. Asking as a historian, did you learn anything new about Roman history while working on the series? What was the coolest thing you learned? Great ama! Keep up the fantastic work :)
Roman history and indeed the phenomenal cultural revolution it brought about masked possible some of the most inhumane and brutal events in history. So much so we couldn't even approach the callous and malicious stories we uncovered. Let alone the inventive and creative ways they explored to annihilate people.
Hi Ray! Were you a reader of Marvel comics growing up, or did you just find the Volstagg and Punisher roles interesting? I love your work.
Growing up in the Uk I didn't really get the comic book bug. I cannot tell you how much i was blown away coming to them when I did. Garth Ennis is a genius writer. He fearlessly explored the human condition with a fierce emotional sophistication that is very rare.
Volstagg was a sublime test in playing a character who's heart is the size of a planet and he wears it on his sleeve !! ( and Thank you )
Mr. Stevenson, your work on ROME is among my favorite work in all of television. The chemistry between you and Kevin McKidd was fantastic and completely believable. Did you (and do you) still have a close relationship with him?
As a follow up, what is it that you like about seeing the fear in a man's eyes before you hurt him?
Kevin (McKidd) and I do still catch up from time to time. He's doing great and we both acknowledge the crazy, intense time we shared and how lucky we were to get to play these characters and work with such an amazing cast and crew.
Following up - you mistake me for someone else !! Ha Ha
I though you were great in the Thor films. Are there any other Marvel characters you would be interesting in playing?
I've been very lucky indeed to play two distinct Marvel characters. Any more may look greedy !!
Are Kylie Minogue, small dimples, just above a woman's buttocks, and the fear in a man's eye when he know's you're about to hurt him really the three things you love in this world?
You may have noticed the ring on my finger is an actual Australian Special Forces ring. I kind of figured his preferences swung those ways. ( Kyle was my idea ! Such a gay icon for such a straight alpha male made sense to me ! )
Hey Ray, how's your day so far?
You were great on dexter how was it working on the show?
My day is crazy busy so far but beats the shit out of doing nothing.
Dexter was an amazing experience. Michael C Hall is everything you'd expect and more. A consummate Actors' Actor.
your rampage in Rome's coliseum made me an instant fan. I really hope you continue getting awesome roles. what is your favorite movie?
One of my favourite top movies is 'Point Blank' with Lee Marvin and Angie Dickinson - I can watch it anytime.
Hey Ray, what was it like working on Dexter and having such a complicated character?
I jumped at the role when I learned about his characters true reveal. That the man killed by Dexter was the love of his life ! So often Gay men, especially in the criminal world, are written with some kind of 'deviant tendency'. Here was a ruthless, Alpha male killer who's heart has been torn apart. I loved breathing life into Isaak Sirko.
Hi Ray! If you could go back in time and tell yourself not to get a movie role, would you? If so, what role would you choose?
Have there been any instances where you were broken up about not getting a part, but looking back are now glad you didn't?
Firstly, No I wouldn't. Madness lies in trying to second guess ones career. Secondly, I was saddened when I didn't get the role of Aragorn in Lord of the rings. However, I instantly forgot all such feelings when i watched Vigo Morttensons' wonderful portrayal.
I absolutely love War Zone. It's actually my favorite Punisher movie all around.
If given the chance, despite the Netflix character and MCU, would you consider reprising the role again? And who would when in a fight between Volstagg and Frank Castle?
Thanks so much for the AMA, you're a true hero :)
Of course I'd Leap at the chance to reprise the role. There is so much of Frank to reveal and revel in.
And, No comment. ( Frank !! )
Loved you in Rome! Can you tell us a little bit about your experience working on such a great show? Any fun behind the scenes moments? I've managed to get my family to watch the show by having them watch your big moment in the gladiator arena in season one and getting them hooked. Please tell my wife to check out the show, as she has not seen it yet!
Thanks for doing this AMA!
Rome was an amazing experience for me. I remember riding a horse up the Via Sacra and smiling - no acting required ! surround by the throng of Roman people, sheep, cats, dogs, donkeys etc.. Fire pits, Temples, Basillica etc, AND this was the Set itself !! largest set in Europe. Amazing !!!
You're awesome, and I genuinely love to watch your work. I've got two questions. First, what is your favorite book? Second, what draws you to a role?
Thanks so much!
Favourite book .... I don't read many books although I devour the few I do. 'The bridge over the Drina' is just breathtaking. The 'Memoirs of Haydrian', 'Conspirata', 'The uses of Enchantment' and a small volume called 'Zen and the art of archery' This is possibly the only book that teaches you 'how' to learn as opposed to teaching you things.
I'm drawn to a role by simple instinct. I learned to trust that. I have to feel challenged and that there is a need to bring it to fruition. I also enjoy the challenge of portraying a character in a movie that i'm not exactly the demographic for. You have to serve the play above all !!
What are you most proud of in your career?
I have been able to build not only a wonderfully fulfilling career doing what I love but more so, I have been blessed with an amazing family.
Is there any actor you want to work with that you haven't yet?
What are your thoughts about Jon Bernthal taking the Punisher role for Daredevil? Also what are your thoughts on Dolph Lundgren and Thomas Janes movies?
I was unaware of this news but I am happy that Frank Castle is still out there. I had a great time playing him and I wish Jon Bernthal the very best for the job. My thoughts on all the incarnations of Frank is that we have all been lucky enough to be part of a great comic book legacy.
Thanks for doing this AMA!
What is your favorite book?
Also are you a fan of the HBO series Game of Thrones, and if so who's your favorite character!
See above ! And I thoroughly enjoy the rare times I get to sit and watch GoT, but alas it's not often or regularly enough to say who's my favourite. Everyone is just so damn good !!
If you could wish a mild inconvenience upon your worst enemy, what would it be?
Hi Ray, I'm a massive fan of your work. What was it like working on "The Other Guys"? Also, what's Clive Owen like to work with?
The other guys was a tremendous experience for me. Working with Those SNL guys was a master class in comedic timing, inventiveness, improvisation at the highest level, and just plain belly aching fun !
What's your favorite type of bread?
Buttered with lashings of bacon in between
I guess I have to turn that into a question...is that the most fun you've ever had during a scene? Just know that it's damn near the most fun I've ever had watching television, so thanks for that. THIRTEEEEEEEEEEEEEN!
If you could access all the statistics of your life, which one would interest you the most?
I offer you a rather 'out of the park' answer ...
In Bhutan they created a 'Happiness Index' which calibrates things like Pride at work dictated by the quality of the product against profitability etc, etc,
I would like to see my 'Happiness Index', when and where I employed it and also where it was forgotten or misplaced.
Thanks for the AMA!
Rome is easily one of the best shows ever, you and Kevin's portrayals are a huge part of that. Your dynamic was fantastic.
As for my question, what is your favorite food and drink combo?
Fish and Chips, and a pint of cider
Fish and Chips and a cold pint of Cider
You're a fantastic actor. I wish Rome was more than 2 seasons.
What are your favorite moments or times when you're working on a new project?
Favourite times can be arriving on set - It's charged with the potential of what may lie ahead.
Also The end of the very last scene for the character - 'Parting is such sweet sorrow'
Hello, Ray. How do you prepare for the role of Blackbeard? Have you read any books on this subject, watched any movies or something like that? Is it any different to prepare for the role of a pirate than let's say a lawyer?
There is a lot of material out there on Blackbeard (Edward Teach) and it's easy to lose yourself in it. You have to bare in mind that the historic reports were the sensational news of the day and must be taken with a grain of salt. Ultimately you must leave the research behind you and serve the play you are doing.
Would you still be interested if Rome was to be brought back, if not in TV form but a movie?
Seriously. Rome was amazing and it is awful that it was cut short.
EDIT: Also, which was your favourite scene to be a part of in Rome?
If Bruno Heller (writer) was to helm it then of course, YES.
Scene in the cell making peace with the Gods before entering the gladiator ring.