ABC is hoping to add a splash to your summer with its new crime drama, Reef Break. Actress Poppy Montogomery leads the show as Cat Chambers, a thief-turned-fixer who uses her experience and insight to help a Pacific Island governor catch elusive criminals. One of the federal agents Cat deals with is also her ex, and many viewers might find that he looks familiar. So exactly who plays Jake on Reef Break?
The actor’s name is Ray Stevenson, and if he looks familiar, it’s probably because he’s been in some of the most popular TV shows and films of the last decade. Stevenson played Volstagg in all three Thor movies, and was cast as Marcus Eaton in the first two installments of the Divergent series. He also had recurring roles on Black Sails as Blackbeard, on Dexter as Isaak Sirko, and had the leading role of Titus Pollo on the HBO series, Rome.
When talking to the BBC, Stevenson revealed that he was born in Northern Ireland, where he lived with his father, an air force pilot, his Irish mother, and his two brothers. He explained that he was intrigued by the movies as a child, always dreamed to be a part of them someday.
Eventually, after pursuing a career as an interior designer for a few years, Stevenson began attending drama school at the age of 27, and he’s been a working actor ever since. On Reef Break, he steps in the role of Jake Elliot, a laid-back federal agent who would rather spend his time lounging on the beach than going to work.
In an interview with Collider, Poppy Montgomery, lead actress and executive producer of Reef Break, talked about how and why she chose to cast Stevenson as Jake. “First of all, we wanted a really international cast because we started as an international show,” she explained. “Ray is Scottish/Irish. He’s from that side of the world, and his body of work is so amazing. We really wanted his character to be this booming guy, I was a fan of his from Rome, and everything that he’d done, so we met with him over Skype. He lives on the island of Ibiza, so we sent him the script and he said, “Great!,” and that was that.”
Montgomery also told the outlet that she wanted the show to feature a diverse cast of all ages, which is why fans might see both old and new faces on the show. “Mostly, we auditioned and read people, and I read with people, to see the chemistry, and we just put the cast together that way,” she said. “We found lots of new faces, not people we’ve seen a thousand times before. I thought it was really important to have fresh, new, upcoming talent involved in the show, as well as seasoned veterans, so to speak.”
It’s always exciting to pinpoint the familiar faces you see on TV, and in the case of Stevenson, his long list of screen credits will give you an idea of the great work he’s done. Personally, as a huge fan of Rome, I’m excited to see this version of Titus Pollo lounging on the beach, swapping out his sword for a surfboard.
New episodes of Reef Break air on Thursdays, at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.