Ray Winstone says working on Marvel’s Black Widow was ‘soul-destroying’

Marvel star Ray Winstone has described his experience starring in the 2021 film Black Widow as “soul-destroying”.

The British actor, 67, played Russian general Dreykov, the villain to Scarlett Johansson’s fictional superhero Natasha Romanoff.

But the actor didn’t seem overly thrilled about his involvement in one of the biggest film franchises ever, only saying it was “fine”, before lashing out at the reshoots process.

“It was fine until you have to do the reshoots,” he recently said in an interview with Radio Times.

“Then you find out that a few producers have come down, and your performance is too much, it’s too strong.

“That’s the way Marvel works. It can be soul-destroying, because you feel like you’re doing great work.”

The Departed actor, who has more than 130 film and TV credits to his name, later confessed that he almost quit the project altogether, but ended up staying on because of his contractual obligations.

“I actually said, ‘You ought to recast it because that was it for me.’ And you end up doing it again because you’re contracted to do it. Otherwise you end up in court,” he said.

“It’s like being kicked in the balls.”

Winstone is not the first to criticise Marvel’s method of filmmaking. Killers of the Flower Moon director Martin Scorsese recently likened the studio to AI.

“It’s manufactured content. It’s almost like AI making a film. And that doesn’t mean that you don’t have incredible directors and special effects people doing beautiful artwork,” he told GQ in September 2023. “But what does it mean?”

The filmmaker also said it was up to creative directors to save cinema.

“There are going to be generations now that think movies are only those — that’s what movies are. They already think that,” he said. “Which means that we have to then fight back stronger. And it’s got to come from the grassroots level. It’s gotta come from the filmmakers themselves.”

This story originally appeared on New York Post and was reproduced with permission

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