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Ray Stevenson, 50, the British actor who once almost broke Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s nose with an uppercut during a fight scene for GI Joe: Retaliation, enters the top floor of Tennispalatsi movie theatre, accompanied by his wife, a beautiful blonde, Elisabetta.
The Hollywood star is visiting Helsinki for the premiere of the Finnish action flick Big Game, which was shown for invitational guests on Wednesday evening.
The 1.93 metres tall, burly actor has combed his greyish hair back and he is wearing a grey pinstriped jacket with a purple scarf around his neck. His pants are black, as are the shining shoes.
He smiles widely to the cameras with his grin, topped with thick moustaches in shape made popular by the pop musician Frank Zappa.
When the cameras are off, he is still smiling but cuddles with his wife.
This is Stevenson’s first visit in Finland and, during the filming of Big Game, it was the first time he worked with Finns.
Stevenson calls Finnish humour “devilish”, “which is very appealing and nice to work with.”
“Especially when it gets rainy, wet, cold and windy – this is when the humour comes out. This is a lot of fun. Jalmari Helander (the director) is an example of the Finnish humour,” he says to me while standing on the red carpet.
He praises the 15-year-old Onni Tommila, who plays the lead character, a young boy on the verge of his 13th birthday, on a quest for the manhood from a forest in northern Finland. In order to prove his manhood, he must bring a head of a moose to his father after hunting through the night. During his mission, he finds the president of the US, played by Samuel L. Jackson who is in trouble after Air Force One was shot down from the sky.
“Onni was brilliant in the movie and he brought an innocence and an instinctive quality to his playing that was not in a way influenced or corrupted by too many American movies and he basically becomes a representative of Finland. He brings Finland with him. He couldn’t have been from anywhere else. If that part was played by anybody else from Germany, France, Italy it would have a completely different feel.”
“Just instinctively he said: ‘My forest, my rules’ – which was one of the latest lines in the movie. So it was a delight to see him and just be completely honest and he worked so hard and he deserves every credit because of this movie.”
Stevenson has a long career of playing characters in action films ranging from Thor to Punisher: War Zone and from Three Musketeers to Divergent.
In Big Game, he plays the bodyguard of the president.
Like a true gentleman, Stevenson praises Finland, even though he just arrived.
“I’ve only been here for a few hours but what I’ve seen it’s beautiful,” he says.
“We’re going to be staying an extra day and have a walk in the streets and have a look. The people have been very nice.”
Our time is up. It’s a few minutes for the premiere to start. Stevenson smiles, he holds Elisabetta by her hand, and they stroll along the red carpet to the biggest theatre rooms of them all, Tennispalatsi 1.
The sound of muffled clapping is heard when the doors are closed, slowly.