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Author Topic: New PWZ article? Post it HERE!  (Read 68876 times)
Nomad
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« Reply #105 on: December 05, 2008, 12:45:10 PM »

Punisher: War Zone: The AMG Review
December 5th, 2008 | 6:02 am est | Jeremy Wheeler


Third time seems to be the charm for the skull-emblazoned Marvel Comics’ vigilante, who punishes his way across the screen in a gory gas of squishy violence with Punisher: War Zone. Rarely have moviegoers seen such a two-fisted wrecking ball of vengeance such as the one realized here by Ray Stevenson. Built like a ‘fridge, with fists that go through faces and an arsenal to blow off any crook’s head that comes near, this Punisher couldn’t be more different than the Tom Jane or Dolph Lundgren incarnations that came before. Much of the same can be said of the movie, which takes ultra violence to a new level, injecting a bit of the black humor of the Garth Ennis Max series and mixing it with the visceral abandon of Stallone’s fourth Rambo film. Of course, not everything is rosy underneath the blood-red veil of this violent escapade. For any missteps the film does make, War Zone more than makes up for it by taking no prisoners and being what it is: an excessive blast of action where brawn wins over brains and sober morality messages are left for other, weightier comic book properties.

Just as in the Incredible Hulk reboot, this kick-start wastes no time in laying out origins. The story begins with a gangster meeting gone horribly wrong, as the vigilante known as The Punisher single-handedly takes out a Mafioso boss along with his corrupt dinner guests. Fleeing the scene is Billy Russoti (300’s Dominic West), a recent ex-con and connected mobster who’s cooking up a deal to bring biological weapons into the country. Inevitably, The Punisher tracks him to his hideout and opens a can of hurt on him and his men, fatally wounding an undercover FBI agent in the process. As Frank Castle, the Kevlar-suited protector of the innocent, flees the scene, Russoti is left forever scarred, paving the way for him to become the ultra-villain Jigsaw. Now, burdened with remorse, The Punisher vows to protect the family of the slain agent, even if it means teaming up with the local law enforcement’s “Punisher Task Force” to do so. With the help of his weapons man Microchip (Wayne Knight), Castle takes on Jigsaw and his psychotic brother Loony Bin Jim (Doug Hutchison) in a fight to the death, where only the guilty will be punished.

Loaded with double-barreled mayhem, War Zone is a coup de grâce of cartoonish violence and knowingly over-the-top performances. In particular, West excels as the nightmarish goomba Jigsaw, injecting each scene with a gleeful swagger that’s deliciously campy for those looking for a throwback to dastardly villains of old. In fact, much of the film walks the fine line of deliberate, straight-faced preposterousness. What helps is the style of the picture; director Lexi Alexander has given the Big Apple a heightened reality not only with the movie’s exaggerated traumas, but with the color palette as well. Playing like an aesthetic toss-up between Blade II and a bit of Dick Tracy, Alexander and cinematographer Steve Gainer transform the dark crevices of a subway stop into a green-hued hideout, with another stellar sequence occurring in a church filled with a sea of multicolored candles. The mix of garish violence and artistic ambition makes for a fascinating combination, one that’s altogether unexpected in an adaptation of such a straight-ahead action hero.

Furthermore, the choice of director is inherently interesting given the film’s theatrical cut. One would think that Julie Benz would have been given a meatier role under the watchful eye of a female at the helm. By the time her character is kidnapped at the end, astute viewers might wonder if her original role had been nabbed as well. Also on the minus side, War Zone is hobbled by the questionable amount of jarring metal tunes, in addition to a needless comic relief in the case of the Det. Soup character. Played with a confusingly imbecilic nature by Dash Mihok, the performance and character are entirely out of place, even in such a ludicrous film as this. Still, this slight misstep is nothing compared to the embarrassing opera-singing fat guy funnyman sidekick from Jonathan Hensleigh’s 2004 outing, so maybe audiences should feel lucky this time around. In the end, War Zone will delight those who have been yearning for The Punisher to deliver in such a gory gas as this. Sure, it’s not a stripped-down Death Wish for the serious-minded adult crowd, but that’s not what every comic book movie needs to be in the post-Dark Knight, pre-Watchmen movie world. For once, fans are not severely punished by a Punisher flick; that in and of itself says a whole lot about this future guilty pleasure.


http://blog.allmovie.com/2008/12/05/punisher-war-zone-the-amg-review/

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Nomad
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« Reply #106 on: December 05, 2008, 01:04:18 PM »

Great video!

http://www.movieweb.com/video/V08LadeklvDEJQ

Will it paste here?  I dunno, but I'll try!

<object width="425" height="339"><param name="movie" value="http://www.movieweb.com/v/V08LadeklvDEJQ"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.movieweb.com/v/V08LadeklvDEJQ" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="339"></embed></object>

Dang!  I don't know how to do that!

:nomad:
« Last Edit: December 05, 2008, 01:17:50 PM by Nomad » Logged
Nomad
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« Reply #107 on: December 05, 2008, 01:21:52 PM »

Great Lexi video!

http://www.movieweb.com/video/V08L06bhmxCDIQ

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Lotis
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« Reply #108 on: December 05, 2008, 01:48:20 PM »

Punisher: War Zone' Star Ray Stevenson Says Batman, Iron Man
Wouldn't Stand A Chance Against Frank Castle

'If you are on his list, you die,' Irish actor warns.
By Larry Carroll
MTV.COM


As far as jobs go, you'd think being the Punisher would be a fairly straightforward one. You're not searching for a cure for cancer, you're not running a corporation — you put on some black clothes, sneer and shoot people in the face.

Yet Hollywood has found it nearly impossible to find a suitable Frank Castle. First, Dolph Lundgren gave it a shot in 1989. Then, Thomas Jane bulked up and burned out in 2004.

Now meet "Rome" star Ray Stevenson, a veteran actor from Northern Ireland who offers a grin, a handshake and a hearty laugh in real life to counter each gun, hand grenade and heart-targeted rifle shot in "The Punisher: War Zone."

The burly Stevenson visited the MTV offices and mercifully let us live so that we could pass along to you the following discussion. We touched on topics ranging from the most violent film of 2008, Stevenson's quiet link to Daniel Day-Lewis, and why Iron Man, Batman and the other superheroes need to be punished.

MTV: This is quite possibly the most violent movie of the year. Would that title make you proud?

Ray Stevenson: Yeah. The ["Punisher"] comics are extremely violent, and this is an R-rated film. We stuck to it. It's a violent film about a violent man doing violent things to violent men — you can't get away from that.

MTV: One poor schlub dies when a chair leg is stuck through his eye socket. You hit another dude so hard that you crush his skull. Is there a particular kill you enjoyed the most?

Stevenson: I don't know. You try to dispatch people as quickly as possible. There were some nice moves, there were a few quick draws. They sort of escalate. We tried to do a body count, and I think we got to about 82 and had to stop. We were just driving ourselves insane.

MTV: So more than 82 people die in this movie?

Stevenson: [Laughs.] Yeah, we were losing count. It was like, "Did we kill him in that last scene?" Because it was all shot back to front. We were going to try and use those little decals you put on [fighter] airplanes, listing how many kills they have. We were going to try to do that on my trailer.

MTV: This might be the first and last time the Punisher is compared to Daniel Day-Lewis, but I couldn't help but notice that in the first 15 minutes of the movie or so, you never speak. I haven't seen that since "There Will Be Blood." Why was that choice made?

Stevenson: [To show] he's a sole agent — he's a nighttime predator, and he's a vigilante. He works on his own. He's not a procrastinator at all. It's not going to be like the "Bourne" series. There is an anticipation to when the Punisher is going to appear, and of course, when he appears, he is full-on.

MTV: Frank Castle is often lumped in with his Marvel brethren, but do you consider him a superhero?

Stevenson: No, no. He's got no superpowers — he's got skills that he brings to bear. He's an antihero. He's not a defender of the weak or a protector of the innocent. He's a punisher of the corrupt. If you are on his list, you die.

MTV: You've been inhabiting his skin for quite some time now. Knowing Frank like you do, what tricks would you use to escape if you found yourself on the Punisher's list?

Stevenson: If I was on his list? [Laughs.] It would just be like, "Give it up, it's going to happen. Just try to have as much fun as you can until he gets you." He's pretty indomitable. There are lines in the book that give you the truth of where he's actually coming from, when he says, "You work for the Devil. You'd better be prepared to die for him." That's it! He's not there to weigh up the odds or hear your case — you're on his list, you're out.

MTV: We all know that while Iron Man, the Hulk and Captain America have begun showing up in each other's movies, the Punisher cannot, because he is owned by a separate studio, Lionsgate. But let's pretend for a minute that Ray Stevenson ran Hollywood — would you want to team Punisher with Spider-Man and all the rest?

Stevenson: That's interesting. There is obviously the possibility of crossovers and all this sort of thing, but when you think about it, would you then drop the "Punisher" rating down from an R to a PG? Or would you try and raise "Iron Man" or "Hulk" up to an R rating? So you lose on both.

MTV: When 2004's "Punisher" came out, they made such a big deal about Thomas Jane's car. Now the Punisher just seems to pop up in places. Where'd your vehicle go?

Stevenson: I know, right? People keep saying, "Are you going to have the car? Are you going to have the motorbike?" But there is still something about a guy on his feet. It adds a heightened sense of threat. He'll come at you on the ground level. He'll come straight at you.

MTV: Some people might be surprised to learn that the director of this super-violent film is a woman, Lexi Alexander. What did that bring to the table?

Stevenson: I think she brought a lot to it, actually. She's a world-champion kickboxer, and she's not to be messed with. Frank's a warrior. He's a trained, disciplined weapon, basically. And she knows what it's like to actually step in a ring facing someone who is going to try and hit you as hard as they possibly can, and you're going to hit them as hard as you can, and only one of you is going to walk away. She wasn't frightened about exploring the vulnerability of him as well, and I think it showed an extra confidence, to allow a vulnerability.

MTV: This has been a huge year for superhero movies. Imagine we locked your Punisher in a room with Robert Downey's Iron Man, Christian Bale's Batman and Edward Norton's Hulk. Four men enter, one man leaves. Who lives?

Stevenson: [Laughs.] I really like those guys, and I feel really sorry for them. I'll write their mothers a nice letter ... maybe. I would kill them, because the others are not necessarily inclined to kill. If they're on [the Punisher's] list, he will kill them. Batman would want to put me in jail, let's be honest. The Hulk would just want to bat me away, so I wasn't annoying anybody anymore. Iron Man, as well, would just want me removed or incarcerated somewhere. But if the Punisher is in the room, and they are on his list? No questions asked. He's not there to talk.
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Lotis
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« Reply #109 on: December 05, 2008, 01:56:24 PM »

Ray Stevenson Wants ‘Punisher: War Zone’ Sequels, Selects His Villains
Published by Larry Carroll on Friday, December 5, 2008 at 3:31 pm.
MTV.com


I’d never dream of spoiling any moments in “Punisher: War Zone” for you, but I feel I can safely reveal this: People die in the film. Like, a lot of people. And, at one point, star Ray Stevenson looks at one of these poor, dying schlubs and remarks: “This is just the beginning.”

Despite the fact that 3 “Punisher” movies have now been made with 3 different stars, Stevenson revealed to us that he put the line in there as a wink to the fans, hoping to say two things: He’s the only Frank Castle from now on, and he’ll be back.

“I snuck that in,” the actor laughed, talking about a moment you can see for yourself in “War Zone” now that it’s in theaters. “It kind of worked [during that killing], like ‘This is just the beginning of your hell,’ but at the time something in me was just feeling ‘Let’s be bold enough to make a statement.’”

During our just-published interview with Stevenson, the “Rome” star told us that he is eager to continue portraying the 34-year-history of Marvel’s grim enforcer on the big screen, and already has some sequel ideas.

“[I wanted to] be bold enough to say ‘We’ve gone right down to the grassroots to show the Punisher,’ and [the fans] are all aware that if this works, if it’s successful, there will be sequels to this…This is just the beginning, and to the people who respond to it, there will be more if they want more.”

In the film, Frank does battle not only with somewhere north of 100 dead henchmen, but he also takes on straight-out-of-the-comics baddy Jigsaw and created-for-the-movie villain Loony Bin Jim. And Stevenson is already throwing out a few more names he’d like to see punished.

“We dispatched a few, but there are some other great ones,” he laughed. “Some of the great stories that are in [the Punisher comics], there is one about the Slavers — the prostitution rings, and bringing women over from Europe. There is also Barracuda, who is almost as mean and ornery as Frank. Some are more real, or more tangible than others, while some of them are larger-than-life like Jigsaw, but there are plenty [of stories to tell]. What I love is the depth that [writer] Garth Ennis gets to; he doesn’t do broad brush strokes, he really gets in there. These villains have a real motivation, a real determination that must be stopped, and you get to play off of it. That should be fun.”

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Nomad
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« Reply #110 on: December 05, 2008, 03:17:30 PM »

Comic Book Resources article:


"Punisher: War Zone" now playing

“Punisher: War Zone” director Lexi Alexander, along with stars Ray Stevenson and Wayne Knight and producer Gale Ann Hurd appeared before the press Tuesday afternoon to talk about the new Punisher film. They discussed their familiarity with the character, what makes Frank Castle compelling, and the interesting cinematic choices made for the film.

Alexander was not familiar with the Marvel comic books prior to seeing an earlier draft of the script, still called “Punisher 2” at the time. “I thought, ‘Well, this is very interesting, I’d like to look into the comic books,’” she recalled. Eventually, when Alexander accepted the job, she was sent two boxes filled with Punisher comics and found in the work of Garth Ennis an approach and tone that appealed to her. “I read them over the weekend and I thought, ‘Why didn’t I read comic books before?’” Alexander also read fan reaction to the previous film adaptations. “I think the only person who learned more about the Punisher was Ray Stevenson.”

For Stevenson, the character “chose a path of no redemption.” Finding the soul of The Punisher in the work of Ennis, which he called “phenomenal,” Stevenson said those comics made him want to play the part. “There’s something tragic and mythical [about it],” he said, adding that he liked the character’s commitment, which has an honesty to it. “He’s honest enough to say he’s not there to protect the innocent.” Stevenson said an actor likes to find “pure” characters like Frank Castle.

Stevenson was aware of the previous Punisher films, but did not watch them before filming “War Zone.” Because the new film is a fresh take disconnected from 2004’s “The Punisher,” Stevenson felt it was important to keep the part his own. “If I was going to play a role onstage, I wouldn’t necessarily go and watch another actor playing that role, directed by somebody else and acting with other cast members,” he remarked.

In addition to reading everything he could get his hands on, Stevenson went through months of physical training. He said he endurance training “paid the biggest dividend.” That particular component of pre-film training helped the actor get through the two-and-a-half months of night shoots.

Stevenson is also quick to credit his stunt double, Jeff Wolfe, for his performance in “War Zone.” “I brought him on early in the process and said, ‘We are going to be Frank Castle.’” They trained together and enjoyed a true collaboration. “Here’s where you go through the window and here’s where I roll out and pick up the gun,” he joked.

 
"Punisher: War Zone" now playing
Stevenson also had a “concise” training on the weapons The Punisher uses in the film. With the help of former U.S. Marines and Special Forces personnel, Stevenson became comfortable with the type of weaponry someone like Frank Castle might use. “He’s not a superhero; he doesn’t have superpowers. He has his training and his discipline,” Stevenson explained, adding that Castle is popular in the Armed Forces and he wanted to be true to how each weapon is used. “We wanted to show those quick magazine changes,” he offered.

Stevenson recalled a phone call from Alexander when he was offered the role. “Ray, you are Frank Castle. You are going to be Frank Castle. You are going to do this movie. If you have any doubts about this movie, I will put your doubts at rest,” she said.

Indeed, Alexander feels Stevenson is a natural fit. Asking for a “guy’s guy,” executive producer Kevin Feige brought Stevenson to her attention by way of HBO’s “Rome.” A storyline about his character, Titus Pullo, rescuing a slave girl convinced the director that Stevenson was right for the job. Alexander then sent an email around to the production: “If I’m not getting him as the Punisher, I’m not doing the movie.”

While Garth Ennis’s work proved to be an invaluable source of inspiration “Punisher: War Zone,” the popular comics writer was not involved in the film. Hurd said Ennis had “a very full slate” and could not participate in any direct way. The film is not based on any specific Ennis story, and therefore he could not receive any sort of story credit.

The color palette of Marvel’s MAX Comics Punisher series was striking to Alexander. “We wanted to put the MAX comic book on screen,” she said. After convincing the studio that emulating the three-color scheme would work, she realized the costumes would be too garish and had to order them all to be remade. “We have the wardrobe in eight different colors,” she remembered. Combining so many colors under the lighting scheme would have produced terrible looking footage. “The wardrobe would’ve fucked everything up and made a circus out of it.”

Jigsaw proved to be difficult character for Alexander and the production to realize. “We tried several things. We did a screen test. We sent them back to Marvel and got great feedback,” she explained. While Alexander was ready to go with an initial make-up idea, Marvel said Jigsaw resembled an “alligator.” They eventually settled on the version applied to actor Dominic West, best known for his starring role in HBO’s “The Wire.” “Dominic West is one of the greatest actors,” Alexander said, explaining that his performance in the film is exactly what she wanted. “I directed him to be over-the-top. That’s what I saw for [Jigsaw] and I think it’s great.”

 
"Punisher: War Zone" now playing
For Wayne Knight, his character research led him to discover multiple versions of Microchip. “Which Microchip are we talking about?” he remarked. In the end, Knight created an amalgam character that worked best for him. “I saw him as being the supply sergeant for Frank’s one-man army; somebody who keeps it moving and tries to keep Frank sane and connected somehow to the Earth.” Asked if that also means comic relief, Knight replied, “I think that pretty much comes with me whether I want it to or not.”

Though “Punisher: War Zone” is violent, it did not have to fight for its R rating with the Motion Picture Association of America. Alexander said the United States is more welcoming of screen violence. “It’s completely opposite in Europe.” There, she said, the sort of violence she likes to portray on film is much harder to get classified for general release. Alexander also mentioned that Frank Miller had to appear before the MPAA to get a PG-13 rating for the upcoming “The Spirit” adaptation.

Alexander admitted she was not the first choice to direct “War Zone,” but she never felt that being a woman created a lack of confidence in her skills. “Nobody ever said, ‘she’s a female filmmaker.’ Not the executives. Not Gale. Nobody else said that. They just said, ‘she’s the right filmmaker,’” Alexander revealed. Day to day, gender was never an issue. However, Alexander said she was going to pass on the project, but a friend convinced her to take it, saying, “If you pass, I’ll kick your ass. You might be the only girl who’s going to break through the glass ceiling.”

Gale Ann Hurd, a veteran producer of action films reaching back to the “The Terminator” hopes one day it will not matter if an action movie director is a man or a woman. “We’re trying to get to the point where we’re gender-neutral,” she said. “It’s all about the filmmaker and what they bring to [a project.]” However, Hurd does credit Alexander with illustrating “you can have an extremely violent movie and you don’t have to be a guy.”


http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=19057

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Camamar
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« Reply #111 on: December 05, 2008, 03:33:53 PM »

Gory gas? The thought of what that might be is what has me most disturbed.  :shrug: :fart: :yucky: :sick: :huh2: 


:bead:
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A day without Ray is like a day without sunshine.....Worse, actually. A day without sunshine would save me having to put on sunscreen.
Camamar
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« Reply #112 on: December 05, 2008, 04:04:21 PM »

Punisher: War Zone' Star Ray Stevenson Says Batman, Iron Man
Wouldn't Stand A Chance Against Frank Castle

'If you are on his list, you die,' Irish actor warns.
By Larry Carroll
MTV.COM


As far as jobs go, you'd think being the Punisher would be a fairly straightforward one. You're not searching for a cure for cancer, you're not running a corporation — you put on some black clothes, sneer and shoot people in the face.
..................................

MTV: One poor schlub dies when a chair leg is stuck through his eye socket. You hit another dude so hard that you crush his skull. Is there a particular kill you enjoyed the most?

Stevenson: I don't know. You try to dispatch people as quickly as possible. There were some nice moves, there were a few quick draws. They sort of escalate. We tried to do a body count, and I think we got to about 82 and had to stop. We were just driving ourselves insane.

MTV: So more than 82 people die in this movie?

Stevenson: [Laughs.] Yeah, we were losing count. It was like, "Did we kill him in that last scene?" Because it was all shot back to front. We were going to try and use those little decals you put on [fighter] airplanes, listing how many kills they have. We were going to try to do that on my trailer.
....................................

AHAHAHAha! I must be one of the sick f*cks.


....................................

MTV: You've been inhabiting his skin for quite some time now. Knowing Frank like you do, what tricks would you use to escape if you found yourself on the Punisher's list?

Stevenson: If I was on his list? [Laughs.] It would just be like, "Give it up, it's going to happen. Just try to have as much fun as you can until he gets you." He's pretty indomitable. There are lines in the book that give you the truth of where he's actually coming from, when he says, "You work for the Devil. You'd better be prepared to die for him." That's it! He's not there to weigh up the odds or hear your case — you're on his list, you're out.

....................................

MTV: This has been a huge year for superhero movies. Imagine we locked your Punisher in a room with Robert Downey's Iron Man, Christian Bale's Batman and Edward Norton 's Hulk. Four men enter, one man leaves. Who lives?

Stevenson: [Laughs.] I really like those guys, and I feel really sorry for them. I'll write their mothers a nice letter ... maybe. I would kill them, because the others are not necessarily inclined to kill. If they're on [the Punisher's] list, he will kill them. Batman would want to put me in jail, let's be honest. The Hulk would just want to bat me away, so I wasn't annoying anybody anymore. Iron Man, as well, would just want me removed or incarcerated somewhere. But if the Punisher is in the room, and they are on his list? No questions asked. He's not there to talk.

 :D Ray is one bad mammajamma.  :rock: :dance: :crush:

And I know because I saw the movie this afternoon! WooHOOOO! I enjoyed!!!  :dance2: :yahoo:

:bead:
« Last Edit: December 05, 2008, 04:07:51 PM by Camamar » Logged

A day without Ray is like a day without sunshine.....Worse, actually. A day without sunshine would save me having to put on sunscreen.
Camamar
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« Reply #113 on: December 05, 2008, 05:22:56 PM »

Oh! I found the translation to that Nancy Mills article!

'Punisher' star says Frank Castle is no superhero
By Nancy Mills
The New York Times Syndicate

...................................
Stevenson, who shot to fame as the headstrong, sexy Titus Pullo in the BBC/HBO series "Rome"


OOF! Yes he did!

...................................

Growing up as the son of a Royal Air Force pilot, Stevenson thought about pursuing an acting career but didn't know how to begin.

"I was like a headless chicken," he said, "running around, knowing I was looking for something but not knowing what it was. There's probably still a bit of the headless chicken in me."


Tęte-less Poulet? Testa-less Pollo? Sorry. :shutup:


Eventually he went to art college and trained to be an interior designer.

"I was enchanting people with the space," he said. "I enjoyed it very much. I would sit in front of a blank piece of paper and literally imagine myself walking around in a world that hadn't been created yet. It's not that much different from filming."


Yes, he is enchanting.

Oh, I am enjoying this shower of Ray news and interviews, not to mention the film!

:bead:
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A day without Ray is like a day without sunshine.....Worse, actually. A day without sunshine would save me having to put on sunscreen.
Camamar
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« Reply #114 on: December 05, 2008, 05:35:03 PM »


Thanks, Nomad!

Great interview! Lexi's 'Suicide Girls' interview was great, too. She doesn't....pull her punches. Sorry. ;) :P

And when I looked at that video interview of Lexi, I saw that niiiice long 11-minute interview with Ray, too, on the same site!

:bead:
« Last Edit: December 05, 2008, 05:36:45 PM by Camamar » Logged

A day without Ray is like a day without sunshine.....Worse, actually. A day without sunshine would save me having to put on sunscreen.
Nomad
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« Reply #115 on: December 06, 2008, 01:15:16 AM »

Ray Stevenson Interview
Punisher: War Zone Contributing Writer Ray Stevenson is a stage-trained British actor who burst into international acclaim with his nuanced portrayal of Roman soldier Titus Pullo in HBO’s series Rome.  Ray now tackles the formidable role of Frank Castle, the violent ‘Punisher’ character of film and comic book fame. Buzzine sits down with Ray Stevenson and gets the inside story on his newest film, Punisher: War Zone.

Interview by Izumi Hasegawa

Izumi Hasegawa: You played a really complicated character; he has a lot of facets as a father, as a soldier, and then as a vigilante. Was there anything that really resonated with you about playing Frank, either from comic books, or the script?

Ray Stevenson: I suppose you just feel on an instinctive level if something is honest. I think one of the initial motivators for me was the fact that he chose a path with no redemption for him; there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. But he’s chosen a path. There’s a mythical, tragic sort of warrior about him, and he’s not looking for any redemption. He’s honest enough to say he’s not there to protect the innocent or save the weak; he’s made his choices. And also there was a price to pay for that. I like the fact that his commitment had an honesty to it, and I suppose the thing about being an actor is that you basically hit your mark, look the other guy in the eye, and tell the truth. And yes, it’s a pretend world, but you’ve got to step up and be honest with it. And the more you can dig, the more you can get out, I think.

IH: Your role was extremely physical.  What preparation did that require?

RS: Oh sure, we did an extensive sort of pre-film period, worked out about three or four months, and thankfully we did an awful lot of endurance training ’cause that has actually paid the biggest dividend.  We got through a very punishing schedule, excuse the pun, but it was two and a half months of night-shoots, and the endurance really had paid off. But we did do very concise work with the weapons. It wasn’t about having the biggest gun; it was about having the right gun and knowing how to use it, and we had some great military guys from the Marines and also special forces. The thing about Frank is that he’s not a superhero. He hasn’t got super powers or anything. He’s got his training, his discipline, and his weapon-handling, and he doesn’t have magic guns with magic magazines that never run out. So we wanted to show those quick magazine changes, so yeah, we really worked at that, and we also know that he’s a very popular character with the military. They’re going to watch it and we all felt that maybe some young G.I. in the Gulf is going to watch it and say, “Look, that’s why they beached us 16 hours a day with the training,” because you just use it like a second nature. It didn’t want to feel like it was Gung Ho. In essence, Frank Castle is the weapon, and these are the tools — that was an extension of him. I was asked a question like Did I have a favorite gun? And I said, “Yeah, the one that was loaded and pointed at the enemy.” [Laughs] But we had to do an awful lot of work like that, and luckily we had some great people working with us.

IH: When you approached your character, did you look at the previous Thomas Jane Punisher?

RS: No. I was aware of it, and I was aware of the Dolph Lundgren one, which I haven’t seen. I watched the Thomas Jane one afterwards, actually, because I made it clear that we were starting grass-roots and we it wasn’t like a follow one. It wasn’t to build up from. There was no way they were connected to each other whatsoever. It was like saying, okay, this is going to be a commitment to the Max series, to the Garth Ennis writing, to the Tim Bradstreet style of illustration. It’s going to be that, this is the character we’re doing, start there. There wasn’t any need, actually, to go in there and see those films. ‘Cause from my point of view, if I was going to play a role on stage, I wouldn’t necessarily watch another actor go play that role that’s been directed by somebody else and acting with other cast members. So you take yourself to it and give it your shot.

IH: When you grew up in Ireland, did you ever think you’d be playing a comic book character?

RS: No, we actually left Northern Ireland when I was about five or six ’cause the IRA kicked off — the whole troubles — and then I grew up in the North East of England. We used to go off to the Saturday morning picture show, myself and my brothers, and there was always like an A-film and a B-movie – Casey Jones and Champion The Wonder Horse — and it was all these great big epics and cowboys and ships, and so I was enchanted at an early age. I immerse myself in that, and something sparked off and I didn’t tell anybody I wanted to be an actor. I knew from a very early age, but it just didn’t seem possible. It was just like, yeah, okay, that’s a bit of a dream really, you know, just ignore it and get on with your life. But I kept it for a long time until I finally admitted to myself that you got to do something about this. But yeah, it’s been an interesting journey. It took a while before it came out.

IH: This role is so unusual. Were you surprised when it came to you?

RS: Well, it’s weird. I mean, unexpected, I don’t know. It’s like, I suppose I wasn’t aware of the character beforehand, and I got this phone call out of the blue saying “Are you interested in this Punisher thing?” and I said, “Well, is there a script?” “No, you’re not allowed to read the script.” Well, how can you commit to something like that? [Laughs] And then, I was in England at the time, I got this phone call from Lexi [Alexander] and she went, “Now Ray, you are Frank Castle. You are going to be Frank Castle. You’re going to do this movie, and if you have any doubt about doing this movie, I will put your doubts at rest. If you still think that you’re not going to do this movie, I won’t let you. Because then you’re still not understanding what this movie is and I will explain it to you.” [Laughs] And it’s just like, “Oh, right.” [Laughs] Who’s going to argue with that?

IH: Could you talk about your comic book experience, as you grew up in England, and this is an American comic book.

RS: Yeah, and I wasn’t aware of this particular comic book and I wasn’t really a comic reader, so the whole world of it sort of came crashing in. I mean, first it was sort of bleeding in through Frank Castle and then reading it, and it was Garth Ennis’s writing that pulled me right in. You can see straight away so far in the thing, but then you think he doesn’t hide — the writing in these comic books is phenomenal. And such a previously untapped source, and the fans got it — they knew. That’s why they’ve invested years and years buying the books. They keep going back. And that’s an investment over a period of time. They really do have ownership on it. And then, of course [laughs], Comic-Con — I’d seen Galaxy Quest, that was like this is crazy…Who on earth, I thought…and then I went there, and it was just, wow! All right, and they’re committed, they’re invested, they’re involved, and as a source material for actors, you not only got the written words, you’ve also got some of the most incredible drawings and illustrations, not just in this one, but other comic books now, so I start to get it. I wouldn’t ever presume to say that now I’m a comic book fan. You know, I’m a child in that world, but it really has opened up. And it deserved to be, ’cause there are some very committed minds and artists involved in it. It’s a great thrill to be part of the lexicon of this culture, and I think it’s got a global appeal and I think it always will have. It’s been great to do.


:nomad:


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Nomad
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« Reply #116 on: December 06, 2008, 01:16:38 AM »

'Nuther video interview on Hollywood 411:

http://www.hulu.com/watch/47542/celebrity-interviews-punisher-war-zone-ray-stevenson

:nomad:
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Camamar
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« Reply #117 on: December 06, 2008, 08:01:35 AM »

They're asking Ray :crush: five questions, but we only get to see one a day!

Here's the first one:

http://comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=19021

:nomad:

I just gave a shout-out (in the RayVe! column on the left) asking where is the 5th question! I saw that Lotis posted 3 of the CBR videos on this site's home page with four questions. I want the last one! :pray: :shrug:

Nice Hollywood 411 video interview there, too, Lotis! Thanks! (I see you also posted one here on the Community page, Nomad. Thanks!) That's a better version than I could see on the TV Guide Channel. And I might have already missed my chance to see it on the TVG Channel.

:bead:
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A day without Ray is like a day without sunshine.....Worse, actually. A day without sunshine would save me having to put on sunscreen.
mob1
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Gender: Female
Posts: 832


All for one, and one for all!!


« Reply #118 on: December 06, 2008, 02:53:59 PM »

I saw him last night on E TV with Debbie Matanopoulas. They were at a shooting range and she was flirting big time!!! haha. I dvr'd it cause I got a heads up from Jeff Wolfe, Ray's stuntman, that it would be on..they seem to be becoming close friends now.  :clap: :dance:

Might be on You Tube now..he was very natural and relaxed in it..shooting a BIG gun.. :punisher: :
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Mob1 icon
Camamar
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Gender: Female
Posts: 1780



« Reply #119 on: December 06, 2008, 03:31:08 PM »

I saw him last night on E TV with Debbie Matanopoulas. They were at a shooting range and she was flirting big time!!! haha. I dvr'd it cause I got a heads up from Jeff Wolfe, Ray's stuntman, that it would be on..they seem to be becoming close friends now.  :clap: :dance:

Might be on You Tube now..he was very natural and relaxed in it..shooting a BIG gun.. :punisher: :

Ooh! Nice! Yay, Jeff! :snog: Thanks, mob!!!

I hope it was the hour-long weekend news edition, because I set my DVR to record it. I hope there's room for it; I must be sure to ensure that.

Debbie Matenopoulos is the one who was at that party with Ray weeks ago...the one where that picture was of him text messaging (or whatever he was doing, sitting at that party) was taken.

:bead:
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A day without Ray is like a day without sunshine.....Worse, actually. A day without sunshine would save me having to put on sunscreen.
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