Soon to appear in hit series Westworld, Ronnie Gene Blevins can currently be seen as Joe Charles in 2018’s Death Wish showing in cinemas worldwide. Having written and co-produced the 2009 film American Cowslip, it saw Ronnie acting alongside Peter Falk which ended up being the late actor’s final movie. Ahead of his Westworld episodes, we chat to Ronnie about Death Wish, acting alongside future acting stars and his current filming roles.
What was it like filming for new feature film Death Wish as Joe Charles and how long were you on set for?
Terrific. Eli (Roth) is great; a real film geek. He’s my favourite type of director. The type of director that has a skill that is evident was born out of a lifetime of being a consumer of films. The type of director that cares the most. We would bust ass shooting all day, then hang out at night, drink wine and talk about our favourite films. I’m proud of the film and the experience was special. I was on set for about three weeks in Montreal, in the dead of winter.
Had you acted with any of the cast before?
Dean Norris and I shot a film called Small Time together. Love him.
Did you get chance to see the completed film before the release?
Annapurna invited me to a few screenings but I was working both times. I got to see it in the theatres with everyone else.
We understand you will be appearing in upcoming episodes of Westworld, is there anything you can tell us about the series or your character?
I can tell you that I’m a fan of the show. So when they called, I was over the moon. I do a couple of episodes. I can’t tell you much beyond that for fear of HBO’s operatives killing me in my sleep.
What was it like on set of the show?
Lots going on. I think I can say that they were cross-boarding (it’s public knowledge… Ed Harris spoke about it last year). Cross-boarding means that they were shooting a few episodes at once. So many moving parts. Kind of a funny irony for a show that deals with different timelines running at the same time. There’s a real sense of responsibility that everybody is making something real special. It’s cool to be even a small part of something in which has so much integrity. So much determination in delivering after a first season that was so epic.
In 2013, you played the role of Willie-Russell in Joe, what was it like filming the bar fight scene?
Tough. I was whiplashed. I was in bed for three days. Nic (Cage) don’t F— around.
How is it seeing young actors you’ve starred alongside continue in their career – such as Tye Sheridan (Gary in Joe), who was cast as the lead in Ready Player One?
It’s everything. Especially since he’s such a nice guy. We all knew he was going to be a star. It was just a matter of when and what.
How did you get into acting?
Well, technically I started acting when I started making movies on VHS tapes at twelve years old. I wrote sequels to blockbusters. Of course, these would be just a few minutes long. Then I didn’t start acting as an adult until I moved to LA when I was twenty-two years old. I learned by studying for about a decade.
Do you have any similarities to any of the characters you’ve played?
Since I play mostly villains, I’d have to say “no”. I do try to insert a bit of my charm so as not to exist in the one dimension the guys are often written.
Have any of your film roles brought you over to the UK?
No, dammit. But now you got me excited about that prospect. Maybe now that we put it out into the universe it will happen.
As a writer, you wrote and co-produced American Cowslip, how was the experience and do you have plans to write and produce more productions?
It was one of the most rewarding experiences ever. I worked with Bruce Dern who served as a bit of a mentor.
Nobody was hiring me in this business. So I wrote and produced a script and decided that I’d just put the actors that I loved in my own movie. American Cowslip was the reason I started working.
The late Peter Falk was in the cast of American Cowslip, what was it like working with him?
He was such a character. Larger than life. Val Kilmer worked one day with him and the next day showed up doing a Peter Falk impression all day! HA! F—ing actors! All of the greatest characters are so often impersonated. Jack. Dern. Falk. I remember when he wrapped and rode off he yelled, “We’ll always have the Falklands”. I always think of that and it makes me laugh.
Have you filmed for anything recently that is due for release this year?
I’m super proud of a film called The Wave with Justin Long and Donald Faizon. I’m not sure where it will premiere. I can only imagine it’ll be a super cool festival. It’s an event. I’m so proud of this thing.
Are you currently filming any projects that you can tell us about?
I’m shooting a film called Tone-Deaf. The director’s name is Ricky Bates Jr. and he’s one of the most subversive, wild movie minds around.
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