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GI Joe: Retaliation - Jonathan Pryce and Ray Stevenson interview

GI Joe: Retaliation

Interview by Rob Carnevale

RAY Stevenson and Jonathan Pryce discuss playing the villains in GI Joe: Retaliation and some of the challenges that entailed. Ray talks about fighting Dwayne Johnson, while Jonathan reflects on acting with himself. They were speaking at a UK press conference…

Q. Did you have the most fun doing the scenes where you’re seen chatting to yourself?
Jonathan Pryce: It’s been my ambition to work with someone who is my calibre [laughs]. Unfortunately, most of the time I was acting with a piece of wood… but again that wasn’t unusual in my career! But I did have a lot of fun doing it.

*Q. Was it challenging?
Jonathan Pryce: Well, for me the acting wasn’t difficult. Technically it was difficult for Jon. But fortunately, because of the technology, we could look at what was happening digitally and see where I fitted and was I looking in my eyes. But I enjoyed doing it.

Q. What was your favourite moment in playing your character?
Ray Stevenson: It’s so hard to pick one. I was given possibly one of the greatest gifts by Jon Chu and that was possibly the greatest entrance into a movie I’ve ever had. And probably ever likely to have! And working with Dwayne, who is such a tremendous athlete… it was a very physical role but it was just great fun, so it’s almost impossible to pick out one particular moment. But putting my entrance sequence together was such a rare gift, so I’d have to opt for that.

Q. And Jonathan?
Jonathan Pryce: Dancing the tango with Adrianne Palicki. Or Lady Jaye, whoever she was. I really must read the rest of the script!

Q. Why does Hollywood always come knocking at the door of British actors for villains?
Jonathan Pryce: Because we’re over-achievers [laughs].

Ray Stevenson: I think it takes a really, really good guy to play a good bad guy because we exercise our demons that way and we don’t take it home.

Q. How do you prepare for your fight scenes with Dwayne, who is so physically imposing?
Ray Stevenson: Well, I have about half a centimetre in height on him but his arms are the size of my thighs! But as I mentioned earlier, any fight sequence is a tightly choreographed dance designed not to get you hurt… although we did clip each other a couple of times! But it’s a tremendous challenge to work in conditions like that. But it is what it is. It’s just such a great rollercoaster and you’ve got to be up for it – entrances and exits and big guys thumping the hell out of each other! And I get to blow a lot of shit up!

Read our review of GI Joe: Retaliation

Read our interview with Dwayne Johnson