The cast and crew of India’s delirious action-fantasy RRR bid a fond farewell this week to their costar Ray Stevenson, the veteran Irish actor who played the villain in the film, fictitious Governor Scott Buxton.
Stevenson fit right in with the movie’s tone, in which one of the least bizarre plot twists is a man beating up a tiger with his fists. The title stands for “Rise, Roar, Revolt,” and Stevenson plays the man everyone is revolting against (the tigers do some, but not all, of the roaring).
Representatives for Stevenson told the Associated Press on Sunday that he had passed away in Italy but did not offer any details. Outside of his brief career in Telangana cinema, the actor was known for his prominent roles in the Thor films, the Punisher, and the HBO series Rome.
While Stevenson’s character in RRR was the epitome of hissable mustache-twirling villainy, the cast and crew became very fond of the actor:
What shocking news for all of us on the team! 💔
Rest in peace, Ray Stevenson.
You will stay in our hearts forever, SIR SCOTT. pic.twitter.com/YRlB6iYLFi
— RRR Movie (@RRRMovie) May 22, 2023
He was 56 years old when we were shooting this difficult scene but he did not hesitate while performing this stunt.
We will forever cherish having you on the sets of #RRR, Ray Stevenson.
Gone too soon 💔 pic.twitter.com/LdzecSIO2H
— RRR Movie (@RRRMovie) May 23, 2023
This is what Stevenson’s character was doing in that scene:
Japanese fans are also grieving over the premature parting.
This scene was very impressive.
It was because of his best stunt.
May he rest in peace🙏 pic.twitter.com/8ETE64dvSO
— ☆NaO☆🎥&❄️🔥 (@Dracarys_cca) May 23, 2023
Alas, Governor Buxton. His sharpshooting-in-midair skills proved insufficient against adversaries who can throw wild animals at their enemies.
RRR star Ram Charan tipped his hat to both Stevenson and the character he played:
Shocking and deeply saddened with news of Ray Stevenson passing away. Rest In Peace Dear Scott, you’ll be remembered forever. 🙏🏼
— Ram Charan (@AlwaysRamCharan) May 23, 2023
Costar N.T. Rama Rao Jr. offered his condolences as well:
Shocked to hear about Ray Stevenson’s passing. Gone too soon. It was a great experience working with him. May his soul rest in peace.
My thoughts and prayers are with his family and dear ones during this difficult time.
— Jr NTR (@tarak9999) May 23, 2023
Director SS Rajamouli said that working with Stevenson was “pure joy”:
Shocking… Just can’t believe this news. Ray brought in so much energy and vibrancy with him to the sets. It was infectious. Working with him was pure joy.
My prayers are with his family. May his soul rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/HytFxHLyZD
— rajamouli ss (@ssrajamouli) May 23, 2023
Stevenson, an imposing screen presence at six-foot-four, most commonly played gruff heroes or anti-heroes rather than outright villains. He will have another shot at the bad guy Hall of Fame when he appears as the antagonist in the Star Wars series Ahsoka on Disney Plus in August.