“Leading on a one hour drama is one of their toughest gigs in show business,” says Liev Schreiber as we chat via webcam (watch above) about his Showtime series “Ray Donovan.” As he explains, “The hours are insane. We are basically doing an hour of film in 10-13 days. It can be pretty overwhelming sometimes. But we have an amazing crew and amazing cast and that makes it a pleasure. That makes it worth showing up for.”
Schreiber, who plays the title character, a Hollywood fixer dealing with both professional and personal problems, was nominated for Best Drama Actor last year for the second season. Donovan is a survivor of sexual abuse and season three culminated with a lengthy confessional scene. For the actor, playing this rare emotional moment for Ray meant “everything you’re feeling, and all of the exhaustion and stress can be poured into the scene.” As he recalls, “It was at the end of our season, it was late at night and we were at a church downtown.”
He also describes another scene that took place in a church earlier this season. “It was a remarkably awkward and an interesting dance: beating the crap out of the priest in a church. It’s a really strange balancing act. Being in a show dealing with something as provocative, sensitive and delicate as the priest sex scandal, and not discarding the notion of faith.” On whether the role was something new for Schreiber, he jests “I’ve never hit a priest in my life.”
The actor readily admits that the role has become more intense “this season because the kids are at that age now where they need some continuity with their school. That’s been really tough: doing the show, and going to the places Ray goes, and not having the kids to come home to.”
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