SANTA FE, N.M. — Ronnie Gene Blevins is an actor, writer and producer. The 36-year-old actor has had an interesting career when it comes to the film business.
“I moved out to Los Angeles when I was about 21,” he says. “I moved out there and didn’t work steadily for about eight years. It’s been a journey for sure.”
Blevins can be seen in his latest project “Joe,” which also stars Nicolas Cage.
The independent film directed by David Gordon Green premiered at the Venice Film Festival last year and has garnered a lot of buzz since being released in the United States in the past couple weeks.
The film brings Academy Award-winner Cage, as Joe, back to his indie roots in the title role as the hard-living, hot-tempered, ex-con Joe Ransom, who is just trying to dodge his instincts for trouble – until he meets a hard-luck kid named Gary Jones, played by Tye Sheridan, who awakens in him a fierce and tender-hearted protector.
“This story has a lot of heart,” he says. “It’s a gritty look at the lives of these characters.”
In the film, Blevins plays Willie-Russell who is the bad guy in the film, a role Blevins feels comfortable with.
“During the time I didn’t work when I was younger, I worked on finding a niche for myself,” he says. “What I found is that I can play the villain really well. So now I’m comfortable with that.”
In Blevins’ years of acting, he has learned a lot. And he’s ready to share it with students and the community when he hosts a Q&A after the film on Thursday, May 1 during the CineVisions Film Festival at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design.
“I really enjoy these types of things,” he says. “This one is a little better because it’s going to be with film students. I really like to try and give them some ways to avoid some pitfalls.”
In fact, Blevins says he still learns something new each time he’s on a set. When he was filming “Joe” in Austin, he learned from Green about having patience.
“David took his time and really cultivated this movie,” he says. “He was there for us when we had any questions. It was such a great film to be a part of.”
The Q&A panel will be Blevins’ third for the film. He says there were panels at both the Venice Film Festival and the South by Southwest festival in March.
While the film is getting rave reviews, Blevins says it’s all very surprising.
“None of us expected any of this,” he says. “We figured it would play at art houses around the country. But word-of-mouth has been building for this film and it’s taking off. I couldn’t be happier. I’m surprised, but happy with the success.”
To get into his “bad-guy” character for the film, Blevins had to undergo some makeup transformation. Sporting scars across his face and having weird teeth were part of the image.
“It scared me sometimes to look at myself,” he says. “The makeup was done so well. I couldn’t look at myself sometimes. I guess that’s a good sign of a great character.”
THERE’S STILL MYSTERY: “Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle” examines the life and mysterious death of pioneering journalist Ruben Salazar.
At the heart of the story is Salazar’s transformation from a mainstream, establishment reporter to primary chronicler and supporter of the radical Chicano movement of the late 1960s.
Killed under mysterious circumstances by a law enforcement officer in 1970, Salazar became an instant martyr to Latinos – many of whom had criticized his reporting during his lifetime. Adding to the Salazar mystique is that the details of his death have been obscured in the ensuing four decades. The documentary will air at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 29, on New Mexico PBS channel 5.1.