Ray Stevenson is one of those actors you’re likely to have seen in many movies and TV shows without even realizing it was him, which is one of the reasons why the 6’4″ Irish giant has often been cast as warriors, thugs and police officers. In the last few years though, he’s become better known for playing the third Frank Castle in the Marvel Comics-based Punisher: War Zone and playing Titus on the short-live HBO show “Rome.”
In Kill the Irishman, directed by Jonathan Hensleigh–the man behind that other “Punisher” movie–Stevenson plays Danny Greene, an Irish mob enforcer who gets on the bad side of his Italian bosses and becomes the target for numerous assassination attempts, which rocked the city of Cleveland during 1976. Stevenson is surrounded by an amazing cast that includes Val Kilmer, Christopher Walken, Paul Sorvino, Vincent D’Onofrio, Vinnie Jones and Linda Cardelini, helping the film to be the kind of crime drama that will appeal to fans of Goodfellas and “The Sopranos.”
While Stevenson is used to playing tough guys, we found him to be quite warm and affable when we sat down with him for a video chat at the Playwright Celtic Pub in Manhattan earlier this week. Besides talking at length about his new movie, we also chatted about putting on the pounds (really just a fat suit) to play the voluminous Volstagg the Valiant in Kenneth Branagh and Marvel Studios’ anticipated Thor, his swashbuckling skills as Porthos for Paul W.S. Anderson’s 3D The Three Musketeers, and the possibilities of his HBO show “Rome” ever coming to the big screen.
Kill the Irishman opens in select cities on Friday.