Actor Ray Stevenson talks about creating Danny Greene in Kill the Irishman. as told to Erick Trickey
WITH ALL THESE TRUE STORIES, it's not about trying to be a Madame Tussauds waxwork copy. You're not trying to step into a man's skin because you never can. It's trying to capture some of the essence: Can we put across the sense of him?
When it starts off, I don't like him at all. He's a thug, a villain, another heavyweight criminal. [But he has] a romantic code that suits the Irish temperament: "I don't give a damn about money." He gave it away and became the Robin Hood of Collinwood. Danny Greene, I think, like most romantics, had an ideal, something to try to live up to. He was always going to be on the villainous side, but you don't have to walk the same path as every other villain.
A lot of times, when you see gangster films, you see a movie bad guy's crew, you don't know anything about them. They never have any lives other than gun-toting henchmen. They don't matter.
Jack Licavoli [and the rest], they all existed, had a place in history and had a family: innocents around the periphery who are affected by their loss. What I love about Jonathan [Hensleigh's] script is, he brought you into all those people's lives. Everybody has a name, life, a family.
Where it leaves us, in the 1970s, it's the height of Americana. Cars never got bigger, sideburns never got bigger, the lapels never got bigger, and the criminals never got bigger. [After] this period, everyone started getting smaller. It's one of the last great stories. It has that Wild West aspect to it.