Black Widow’s Ray Winstone says he wanted his role recast after a “soul-destroying” MCU experience

Ray Winstone, who played the Russian general Dreykov in Marvel Studios’ Black Widow, says the film was a “soul-crushing” experience.

Last Updated on March 5, 2024

Black Widow, Ray Winstone, Scarlett Johansson, MCU

As far as Marvel movies go, Black Widow is one of the most divisive entries in the long-running series of inter-connected superhero slugfests. While some fans feel the movie was too late to the party, others say it was a questionable display of Marvel’s dependence on shotty VFX above character-driven narratives. On another end of the spectrum, Ray Winstone, who plays Dreykov, the film’s Big Bad and dominating force behind the Red Room project, says making the movie was a nightmare. Winstone’s experience in the film was so exhausting that the actor tried to have himself recast.

Speaking with Radio Times, Winstone said, “It was fine until you have to do the reshoots,” Winstone said about his Black Widow experience. “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.”

Unfortunately for Winstone, contracts are binding, and you either complete the work or risk repercussions from a studio with an army of salivating lawyers waiting to pounce on the next limping victim of the Marvel machine.

“I actually said, ‘You ought to recast it because that was it for me,'” he admitted. “You end up doing it again because you’re contracted to do it. Otherwise, you end up in court. It’s like being kicked in the balls.”

Woof! If it’s any consolation, the job is complete, and Winstone can continue distancing himself from the overwhelming experience.

While Scarlett Johansson says she’s done playing Black Widow in the MCU, other characters featured in her solo film have only begun to grace the silver screen, like David Harbour’s Red Guardian, Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova, and Olga Kurylenko’s Taskmaster. All three characters star in the Jake Schreier-directed Thunderbolts, with Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes), Wyatt Russell (John Walker), Hannah John-Kamen (Ava Starr), Rachel Weisz (Melina Vostokoff), Lewis Pullman, Geraldine Viswanathan, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus as primary cast members.

What do you think about Ray Winstone’s statements? He’s not the first actor to express ire due to an MCU movie shoot, and I doubt he’ll be the last. Did you enjoy his performance in Black Widow? Let us know in the comments section below.

Source: Radio Times

About the Author

Born and raised in New York, then immigrated to Canada, Steve Seigh has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. He started with Ink & Pixel, a column celebrating the magic and evolution of animation, before launching the companion YouTube series Animation Movies Revisited. He's also the host of the Talking Comics Podcast, a personality-driven audio show focusing on comic books, film, music, and more. You'll rarely catch him without headphones on his head and pancakes on his breath.