Blackbeard aka Ray Stevenson visits with the FoF

Recently the FoF had the pleasure of chatting with Ray Stevenson.   Ray Stevenson is best known for his critically and publicly acclaimed portrayal of the legionary ‘Titus Pollo’ in the HBO/BBC television series “Rome,” and also appeared as ‘Isaak Sirko’ in the critically acclaimed Showtime series “Dexter.” Stevenson appeared in the 2014 blockbuster Divergent, reprised the role of ‘Marcus Eaton’ in the 2015 follow-up film, Insurgent, and starred as ‘Volstagg’ in Marvel’s Thor.  Stevenson is currently headlining “Saints & Strangers” as ‘Stephen Hopkins’ for National Geographic.

 

 

 

 Ray can next be seen as Edward Teach, "Blackbeard" on the hit Starz series, Black Sails.  



 

FoF: Hi Ray, How are you doing Sir?

 

RS: Good man, how’re you?

 

FoF: I’m doing great. Thank you for taking time out today.

 

RS: Delighted.

 

FoF: We watched the first few episodes and we’ve really been enjoying the new season that is coming up.

 

RS: That’s great.

 

FoF: Can you tell us, what can fans expect this season?

 

RS: Oh my word. I mean, I, I…they let us watch season 3 before we started shooting, um, work on 4. It blew me away. I mean, I’ve seen stuff, seen sequences that they put together on this season which I’ve not seen in major motion, major studio pictures.

 

There’s some work that is being done on this that is going to have people on the edge of their seats. It’s going to be engrossing and also you see the, um you see the production values are, I think, possibly are the highest of some I’ve ever witnessed. Um, You see them on the set and it’s right there on your screen in your living room, it’s going to be, ah, fans are going to be delighted with it.

 

FoF: What’s been the most challenging part of, for you to bring Black Beard to life here?

 

RS: Well, I find the most challenging part is being on the practical level because we do shoot in eh Capetown, South Africa and it’s the height of their summer. And you see the product of [disguise] so you’ve got this beard stuck on your face and this wig and this amazing elaborate multilayered heavy costume. And you basically just melt. Um, But, you know, it’s worth it for, it looks so damn good.

 

I’m mean, it’s just brilliant. Um, but on the practical level the other challenge I would say is coming into a series that’s been ah…ah established and deservedly so special because of the amazing work by the cast and crews involved. And coming into their world as it were. And to a man and woman they couldn’t have been more welcoming and delighting to have the opportunity to work with a character like Black Beard as well in the Black Sails universe, in the Black Sails world.

 

FoF: It seems, in just having seen the first few episodes that your role, you could almost tell you’re having so much fun playing it. What’s it been for you to bring him to life? I mean, did you want to be a pirate when you were little?

 

RS: Ah, yeah I think, I think we all have had you know times when you know the thought of piracy, the high seas. I think that the lust for the eh, wanderlust for the individuality of that life and to be tested. It’s like you know the times when we want to be Knights or you know, whatever so. Yeah so ’course, I mean you know I got to swash my buckle many a time when we were kids.

 

 

FoF: How much fun has it been getting to work with the cast for coming season?

 

RS: They are so amazing, they really are and they are so committed and they’re so talented . It’s just been, it’s been a delight. And the days are hard, I mean they are long ah and complex days and complex scenes and umm seeing that wealth of talent and commitment has, has just been nothing but inspiring everyday.

 

FoF: Now for this role, for this role, did it require any special training or to do anything for what we’re going to get to see this coming season?

 

RS: Well, I mean, there are, I mean he does some, he does wield his blade now and then. But ehha, special training? Naw, I mean, it’s um, it’s all pretty much eh, it’s all around you. You, it’s like you walk on these ships, these ships were amazing.

 

They um, they are fit with these huge galleons, they are on computerized gimbles, so the whole thing rocks and rolls and the sails are filled with eh, the wind machines fill the sails. It’s just, it’s an incredible experience for me when you look, when you’re filming on the day it’s just exhausting, it’s work and you’re delighting in it and loving it. And you basically collapse into a puddle at the end of the day but you get up and can’t wait to do it the next day. And then come the end of the week you think did we really do that much this week? And yeah, you know, we did.

 

And but this, you know, the commitment by the stunt crews out there is just and they are just very, very much part of the family as well. They’re not, just sort of like “us and them”, you know you never we hear about the stuntees and that, but they, they’re making the show as much as the actors, as much as the camera crew, as much as the directors.

 

FoF: Do you have a favorite episode we can be on the lookout for?

 

RS: Oh wow, um, that’s difficult because I think there are moments in almost in every episode. I know obviously this is what the writers and producers want to do the storm sequences and breath take. I wanted to reach for a towel at the end of watching the storms.  I’ve never seen it on a big screen that lasts as long.

 

And yet in the middle of the storm you cut to ah a sort of Silver’s character, eh [John] Silver and this other deck hand and there’s this humanity going on amongst this maelstrom. This is a genius, there is an emotional intelligence, there really is a genius at writing this.

 

And then this other thing, um, when they literally hit the [Dauntlands] and throughout this episode you are literally watching people die, slowly. And it, that takes an immense amount of control and ah a steady hand at directing and writing and performing to make this this creeping sort of ah [dislense] and it just, I mean at the end of that you’ll be issuing bottles of water and wanting to move because {?} and it. It takes your breath away and surprises.

 

FoF: Is there any special story you can share from the set during the filming whether it was through the 1st episode you shot or throughout the season itself...

 

RS: errumm

 

FoF: Whether it was behind the scene or something you were shooting for a particular scene?

 

RS: Well, umm. Sure, I’ve got this like rolodex in my head that’s like spinning around like crazy. I mean, it’s, it’s very difficult to umm, to try, try and pinpoint one, i mean that’s always weird, you know.

I mean for example, later on i’m going to , man I should have thought of that, i should have thought of this. i mean literally, I don’t know, I from one particular, no man I can’t from one, I don’t know mate, I’m sorry .

 

FoF: No worries, no worries. When the show premiers here in a couple of weeks are you going to be doing anything special for the premiere itself? Are you going to be out somewhere, are you going to be at home?

 

RS: I will be in Capetown, shooting season 4.

 

FoF: Nice, Nice. What’s ah, what’s been your favorite part when you are on the set? is it when you’re doing the action sequences or the interaction between the characters?

 

RS: I would have to say taking the beard and wigging off at the end of the day. [laughter] It’s falling off by it’s own accord at the end of 12 or 15 hours and it’s always being reattached throughout the whole day. To finally stop that, and get the salt, get the glue off my face.

No, I mean the action sequences are very complex, ah let me see, you’ve obviously got the people around on the deck, we got to hose the deck down so you’ve got the dangers involved in 40 odd people wielding lengths of steel about and muskets going off and all this sort of stuff. You’ve got that technical difficulties it’s a great feeling to achieve set pieces that have been rehearsed and worked on and worked out and camera setup and you achieve these set pieces.

 

It’s such an amazing feeling that the collaboration and then otherwise and also, eh these intimacies, these intimate, ah, intimate scenes between one and two or three characters where you’re literally playing mental chess. And ah, doing sort of mental gymnastic and the complexities involved. the reveals of your character, the subtle reveal of theirs. I mean, it’s a rich, rich series, there’s no getting around it just, it doesn’t get better than this. Because it gets [] time to time, but it doesn’t get better than this.

 

FoF: Do you have any special messages you want us to pass along to your FoF fans that will be watching the premiere here in a couple of weeks?

 

RS: Aha, I would say to quote, to take a quote from another movie. “There’s a storm coming.”

[laughter]

 

 

FoF: Great, thank you so much sir for your time.

 

RS: No worries man, thank you.

 

A very special THANK YOU to Ray Stevenson for taking time out of his busy schedule to chat with the FoF.  We had a blast and look forward to catching up with Ray again.  The third season of Black Sails premieres on Saturday, January 23rd on Starz.

 

 

 

 

 



 

 



 

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