I'll have to chalk this one up to yet one more celebrity death I just didn't expect: word just reached my desk this morning of actor Ray Stevenson's passing.
To be fair, I'm not entirely certain Stevenson really ever took center stage in anything I can recall. He was always a supporting player -- or, even, part of an ensemble that was made stronger by his presence -- but his was a face and an energy that I'll admit happily I always liked. Though HBO's Rome wasn't his first work, I think it was definitely the one wherein I saw the potential of his true gifts: being physically imposing is one thing, but having the chops to truly pull of the whole gamut of emotions is another ... and Stevenson certainly could turn on the charm when he needed.
Still, 2008's Punisher: War Zone did give him top billing, at least; and -- even though I thought this particular tale in the wider Frank Castle universe was a bit middling -- I liked him in the role. It fit him comfortably -- maybe too comfortably -- and he managed to give this Marvel antihero a bit of magic on screens big and small. And his work in Marvel's Thor (2011) and Thor: The Dark World (2013) also gave him the chance to play a character bigger-than-life. While he might not have had the presence of others in the picture, he definitely held his own, as they say, when the script put him to good use.
I'm also a bit puzzled: I believe I'd seen him in the forthcoming trailers for Disney+'s Ahsoka series, but a quick look at IMDB.com doesn't even mention the property. Here's hoping that they were far enough along with his work in the streaming enterprise that they don't have to retool anything and/or everything, as I was definitely looking forward to what level of Dark Jedi menace he was bringing to the table.
Ach ... gone way too soon.
Prayers and well wishes are extended to the family, friends, and fans of Ray Stevenson. May he forever rest in peace.