Director Lexi Alexander has updated her upcoming movie, PUNISHER: WELCOME BACK FRANK, a sequel to the original Thomas Jane version a few years ago. I let you guys know a few days ago how Ray Stevenson had a few thoughts to share about the project in which he said he was getting the most comprehensive training program he's ever undertaken. Myself, I found this surprising since he seemed in shape for his role in HBO's Rome show where he starred as Titus Pullo. Still, director Lexi Alexander expanded on the excitement she's feeling about helming the next Punisher movie for Lionsgate. Apparently, Stevenson is getting trained by both the Marines & one of Chuck Norris' original trainers. Needless to say, I'm not surprised he said "most comprehensive training regime" ever....Here you go, readers...
Here's what she wrote in her latest blog.
Pre-production to me always feels like the ride up a hill on a major rollercoaster, right before the big drop. There are suddenly little airplanes in your stomach and you ask yourself why on earth you agreed to jump on this ride. You look at the people sitting next to you and you wonder how they will react when you puke on them. Will they be mad? Disgusted? Amused? Or will they be classy and supportive and puke with you, merely to demonstrate their allegiance? What is your crew made of?
The truth is, I love the joy of the drop too much to pass on a good rollercoaster, no matter what. There are plenty of good people around me and I feel strongly that this ride in particular will lead to great rewards.
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.
So there you have it. Ray Stevenson is kicking major ass with the help of the best experts I could possibly find, I'm enjoying the rollercoaster ride and rubber pellets hurt like a mother!@#$ when your actor forgets that you are playing the role of a "friendly." Hopefully next time I can share some casting news!
PUNISHER: WELCOME BACK FRANK will open in theaters for Lionsgate sometime in 2008.