'Ray Donovan' Star on Tragic and "Taboo" Storyline

Actress breaks down show's latest twist and filming "that" scene.
Erica Parise/SHOWTIME

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Sunday's Ray Donovan.]

When it comes to death and destruction, Showtime’s Ray Donovan has never shied away from the brutal or controversial. This season, in particular, is when controversy has taken center stage as Ray (Liev Schreiber) fell deeper into the boxing world, where he met superstar Hector Campos (Ismael Cruz Cordova) and his drug-addict half-sister and lover Marisol (Lisa Bonet).

With each passing week it became harder to keep Hector out of his sister’s clutches as she threatened to go to the press and expose the boxer to the world if he didn’t settle down and join her in her drug-addled haze. It all came to a head in Sunday’s ironically titled “Lake Hollywood” episode when Hector’s wife finally took their daughter away to Montreal. Hector retaliated by spontaneously drowning his sister in a bathtub to be rid of her forever but not before realizing the dire consequences.

By the episode’s end it was up to Ray to step in again as he staged the entire thing to look like a suicide when he dropped Marisol’s lifeless body from a bridge into the water below. THR caught up with star Lisa Bonet about her turn on the show.

Did you know Marisol’s fate from the beginning?

I didn’t know exactly, and I don’t even know if they knew what was going to happen. But it was apparent that Marisol could never do anything right — she never makes the right decisions. And she burned so hot it was clear that it was going to be a crash and burn. I didn’t anticipate it to continue.

Was signing on for a season-long arc part of the allure of doing the show?

It was a way to get my feet wet, and I really left the experience as an artist feeling very satisfied. It was just perfect.

What was it about Marisol that made you want to play her?

I loved how damaged she was. I loved the idea of bringing some form of humanity to that human being and to explore those phases. There were a lot of risks and a lot of fun in those risks to be had.

Did you do any specific research to dig into it?

I did some research. When I auditioned — which I did have to do — I didn’t feel comfortable at all just winging it. So most of my research was done during the process of auditioning and really wanting to portray an addict with authenticity. And feel genuine in my portrayal.

Marisol wasn’t necessarily a dialogue-heavy character; what kind of thought did you put into her physicality?

Part of the allure for me in terms of the character she was, was just to be able to explore that aspect of her. I had challenges in the past with some television and some directors where they want very obvious reactions and I think it really undermines the power that can be done by an actor. It also undermines the audience if you think they’re not going to get it if you don’t hit them over the head with some form of reaction.

When it came to playing out the relationship with Hector, did you and Ismael Cruz Cordova have any specific discussions or goals?

We definitely realized we were going to go on this journey together. He’s just a wonderful person and someone who I consider a friend now. I felt very safe with him. We just spend time in between scenes getting to know each other as much as possible so that we could fill in the blanks with a sense of history and familiarity. We had a dinner too, and just talked about what we could decipher from what was on the page with [showrunner] David Hollander and Liev just to try and create as much history as we could.

Do you think an in-depth incest storyline could exist on TV like this one without Game of Thrones kind of paving the way?

I don’t know … it’s true, it has been seen now and people have accepted it. Who knows, that might be a question more for producers in terms of the inspiration for exploring that kind of love. Obviously it’s still very much a taboo.

What was it like to film that bathtub scene? Were there safety measures in place?

It was very wet. Four dresses later! I was very wet … and very irritated, to be quite honest! I don’t think they mapped that one out as well as it could have been, but for the actual thrashing it was a stunt person.

Would you predict that Marisol could somehow make Hector’s life hell from her watery grave or is he finally rid of her?

[Laughs.] I shall let that remain a mystery.

Any chance of seeing Tandice on the final season of Girls?

You know, I don’t know. I haven’t heard from them. I really love comedy. I love laughing, I love making people laugh. I love trying not to laugh when you’re not supposed [to]. The whole thing.

Ray Donovan airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on Showtime. What did you think of Lisa Bonet’s turn? Sound off in the comments below.

Twitter: @amber_dowling

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