His name may not strike automatic recognition among the masses, but Lisburn-born actor Ray Stevenson has been slowly notching up a long list of films and television roles.
Now he is set to take the world by storm in a leading role in the latest Hollywood blockbuster.
Stevenson stars as Porthos in new movie The Three Musketeers, due to hit our screens today.
And the 6ft 4ins actor will hardly be away from our cinema screens in the coming year as he has been filming a host of movies alongside some of Hollywood’s biggest names.
Earlier this year he headed up a cast that included Christopher Walken and Val Kilmer on the Irish-American mob epic Kill The Irishman; he’s currently shooting GI Joe 2: Retaliation with Bruce Willis and Dwayne Johnson, and has just finished on the set of Jayne Mansfield’s Car with John Hurt.
The who’s who of Hollywood action heroes gives a clue to the kind of films Stevenson has found his place in.
He has already starred as the lead character in two movies based on heroes from the Marvel comics — The Punisher and Thor.
In King Arthur he played Dagonet, a knight of the round table who sacrifices his life for his comrades.
And the 47-year-old credits the action-packed roles for keeping him fit. “I hate the gym. I can’t do the matching socks and tops,” he said in a recent interview. “As long as I keep working on a film I’m pacing myself and training. In between times I am a lazy, lazy bugger.”
In the adaptation of the classic Alexandre Dumas Three Musketeers story, he plays Porthos alongside fellow musketeers Logan Lerman, Matthew Macfadyen and Luke Evans, who play D'Artagnan, Athos and Aramis.
The swashbuckling heroes must stop the evil Richelieu (Christoph Waltz) and face off with Buckingham (Orlando Bloom) and the treacherous Milady (Milla Jovovich).
Filmed in Germany, Stevenson has talked about how the cast bonded over Bavarian beers and how he was drawn to the role, in part, because of the technology being used.
The film is shot entirely in 3D, and claims to be the first film to be conceived and designed as a 3D movie since Avatar.
But acting wasn’t Stevenson’s first job. He originally trained as an interior architect and, after a change of heart in his mid-20s, embarked on a new career, enrolling in the Old Vic Theatre School.
The huge leap into the unknown paid off when he landed his first role alongside fellow Ulsterman Kenneth Branagh in the film The Theory Of Flight.
The film was followed by theatre productions and regular spots on ITV dramas such as Peak Practice and Band Of Gold.
And while he may find himself rubbing shoulders with some of the hottest names in Hollywood, Stevenson says he hasn’t forgotten his roots, admitting it was on his mum’s advice that he accepted the part in Kill The Irishman.
Lisburn-born Stevenson moved to England aged eight.
He made his debut in the 1998 film The Theory Of Flight alongside Kenneth Branagh. Since then he has starred in King Arthur (2004), Frank Castle/The Punisher in Punisher: War Zone (2008), and as Volstagg in Thor (2011), Branagh’s Hollywood blockbuster.
He is perhaps best known for playing the character of legionary Titus Pullo in the BBC television series Rome.