I would like to keep saying bad things about the upcoming “Punisher 2” movie, “Welcome Back Frank”, but I’m just afraid Lexi Alexander might come to my house and kick my ass ten ways to Sunday. (She’s, like, a world martial arts champ or something.) On her site (here), Alexander updates the fans on the pre-production of “Punisher 2”, including gushing about Ray Stevenson, the new Punisher. (Is a world martial arts champ allowed to gush about a guy? Hmm…) Currently Stevenson is undergoing extensive martial arts training with a personal trainer and running the gauntlet with some Marine grunts.
By now, everybody knows that the new PUNISHER is a remarkable actor named RAY STEVENSON. I can’t find enough words of praise to describe this formidable actor and true Gentleman. Ray’s name came up on a list that the folks at Marvel handed me. I, shamefully, was not aware of Ray’s work so I rented the first season of ROME. It took me no longer than 5 seconds from the time Ray came onto the screen, to know that he is FRANK CASTLE. I can’t remember the last time an actor has impressed me so much with merely an expression. Maybe Meryl Streep? Brando? I know these are grand names, but I’m not exaggerating. Ray Stevenson is a grand actor. He is also one of the most committed people I have ever met. Currently he is staying at the home of his trainer and my fight choreographer, Pat Johnson. Johnson — the man, the myth, the legend — is, of course, responsible for the great fight scenes in Hooligans, as well as the boxing in my first short film, Johnny Flynton. His resume goes back 35 years and before then, he was the captain of the Chuck Norris fighting team and an undefeated World Karate champion. Currently Mr. Johnson is getting Ray in warrior shape and I think they spend something crazy, like five or six hours a day, just sweating. Thank God, Ray is extremely coordinated so he already looks like he was a competitive fighter himself.
For the past few weekends, Ray has also had major Military training with a bunch of badass Marines from a company called Gunmetal. I love Marines. In the first year I moved out to the US, I was asked to teach a little hand-to-hand combat seminar to a group of Marines at Camp Pendleton. That was before they had their own, now very famous, Martial Arts program. I quickly understood why the Germans called Marines “Teufelshunde.” They have trained and continue to train Ray very well.
Matt Sigloch and Jon Barton, the guys who own GUNMETAL, take great pride in their work. They are especially invested in making Frank Castle as authentic as possible, since historically, Castle was a Force Recon Marine.
Looks like I have another blog to add to my daily list of “to visit” places…