• Ray Stevenson - AV Club

    25 May 2023

    I've posted a couple of Ray Stevenson articles this week, since news of his death broke. Here's one more (probably the last), a link to a lengthy interview with him back in 2015, in which he discussed his career in depth, film by film, including playing Murlough in the Cirque Du Freak movie in 2009.




    It's fascinating, hearing how he played a big part in coming up with the look of the character. Part of the look was based on iguanas that he'd seen in a documentary about the Galapagos Islands (that was mentioned in the previous article I linked to), but he also talks about the uniform he chose, and the way he asked for his hair to be styled. He clearly put an awful lot of thought into it, which genuinely touched me -- it's wonderful when actors take their work seriously and personally, and don't just go through the motions. Whatever one's thoughts about the movie, it's clear from interviews they've given over the years that at least some of the actors -- John C Reilly, Michael Cerveris (who played Mr Tiny) and Ray Stevenson -- really committed to the film and gave it their all, putting a lot of thought and hard work into it. The director, Paul Weitz, was equally thoughtful and committed, and although I wish he'd been more faithful to the story, I respect that he approached it with a lot of ideas and energy, and tried to craft something different to the norm.


    Interestingly, Ray Stevenson also made some good points when asked about the film's commercial failure. He put it down to the film being a hard sell and not having a "clear direction" which the marketing people could easily pitch to a mass audience. I'd certainly agree with this. The major changes that were made to the books meant the film lost the even tone that I had worked hard to develop -- for instance, the graveyard scene at the start, which Stevenson references, should have been a deeply upsetting, moving scene, but you had Darren the character playing on a Gameboy, which drew uncertain laughs instead of tears. I've always said I like the film, and I honestly do, but I think even its greatest fan would have to admit that the tone is uneven, and that ultimately made it a tricky one to present to the public.


    Ray Stevenson -- a top drawer actor, and an insightful critic too. Even in death may he be triumphant!


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