Bob Stephenson and Ian TaylorBob Stephenson has one of those faces where you think, I know I’ve seen that guy before, but where? Well, you’ve probably seen him a lot of times, but never in person—a quick scan of his IMDB page reveals the actor’s extensive range of credits, from Se7en and Fight Club to Zodiac and Larry Crowne, with a whole lot of TV appearances besides. (Check out his feature reel here.) But the hard-working actor, writer, and producer still likes to get up early—and, on the West Coast, kickoff can be very early—to cheer on Aston Villa. And, lest you think he’s some Johnny-come-lately Hollywood type who’s hopped on the bandwagon, ask yourself, What bandwagon? Who tries to score points by rooting for a team that’s flirting with relegation? Bob says he’s been claret and blue for 15 years, and closed his message to me by saying, “Thank you for the interview—means a lot to be a Villa fan and thank you to the fans for embracing me the way you have. I’ll keep flying the Claret and Blue here in LA. UTV! VTID!!” Find him on Twitter at @bobstephenson.

The Starting Eleven

Where were you born, where do you live now, and what do you do for a living?

I was born in Camarillo, California, near Los Angeles, which is where I live now. I am an actor and a writer. I’m not worthy of the titles but that is what I do.

How and when did you choose Villa?

I chose Villa about 15 years ago. I loved the working class/underdog feel of the team, and the fact that it’s a big club with a proud history. I think Villa chose me, to be fair. It just happened.

From left: Tom Hanks, Bob Stephenson, British Consul Priya Guha, Colin Hanks, and Geezer Butler with Matt Lowton at Jeld-Wen Field in Portland, Oregon (July 2012)
From left: Tom Hanks, Bob Stephenson, British Consul Priya Guha, Colin Hanks, and Geezer Butler with Matt Lowton at Jeld-Wen Field in Portland, Oregon (July 2012)

What was your happiest moment as a Villa supporter?

Doing the double over Man United this year! YEAH!! Oh wait, that was a dream. Damn.

What was your most painful moment?

These relegation fights are my most painful moments. I lose sleep. I believe in the system and what we’re trying to do and I love Lambert but he desperately needs funds.

As the season is nearly over, which team did you most enjoy beating this year—or which team do you most wish we had beaten?

Always Manchester United.

They're all here somewhere
They’re all here somewhere

Who is your favorite player on the current squad?

I have a few: Delph, Vlaar, Gabby, and Guzan . . . .

Who is your favorite player of all time?

Gareth Barry.

What are your favorite sources for Villa news?

I read all the English press and and definitely the supporters’ pages for thoughts.

Rate yourself as a fan. What are your best and worst qualities?

I can be very positive. I can be very impatient and emotional. I don’t make judgements until I’ve calmed down from a bad loss—MOST of the time.

Where do you usually watch games?

At home. They’re on so early in LA. Once in a blue moon I’ll sneak down to the pub for an 11 a.m. game but I’m usually one of two supporters there. There aren’t many here in L.A.

What are you usually drinking?

Green tea. HA! it’s way too early to drink by myself.

Extra Time

Hoping you can give us a little celebrity-soccer dish. Are there other actors you know who are big fans of Premier League teams? Which teams do they support?

A lot of actors support teams. Many Spurs fans and Arsenal fans. The London teams, of course. And Man U fans. Ugh.