'Ray Donovan': Liev Schreiber Talks Season 5 and Latest Emmy Nom
"What I want for Ray is not really what is conducive for a television show. I want peace for Ray!" the Emmy-nominated star tells THR.
According to Liev Schreiber, his titular role on Ray Donovan isn't a character who's too far removed from real life.
The Hollywood-fixer type he plays onscreen is definitely a type that can still be found in real life. Schreiber tells The Hollywood Reporter, "They're mostly called attorneys now! But there are some guys who work like Ray."
And maybe that's why the series continues to be recognized by the TV Academy, as the actor recently just scored his third Emmy nomination for the role. So, with the series now at the beginning of its fifth season, THR caught up with Schreiber to find out what's in store for Ray and how playing the character has impacted the actor personally.
Are you almost finished with production of season five?
We've got three more days that we're shooting. We're pretty close.
When you started filming this season, where did you want to see Ray go?
What I want for Ray is not really what is conducive for a television show. I want peace for Ray! But I think this season we really push anything but peace. Things are worse this season in a really dramatic way that I can't give away. But more than anything, what I wanted was a coherent arc throughout the whole season that would feel satisfying to the audience and to us as actors, filmmakers and writers to deliver. I think we've finally done it.
Do you see an endgame for Ray and the show?
Ray's a man of extremes. He either becomes a loony, or he dies.
What have you learned from playing Ray?
So much about filmmaking from this cast and crew. It's been such an entertaining and educational experience for me to repeat something like this, season after season. It's very hard to make people understand the level of familiarity you develop with a crew and cast when you do the same thing over and over again. There's all these incredible tricks, rules and techniques you can learn. It's been an extraordinary opportunity. I feel a real sense of gratitude towards them.
What's the biggest misconception about Ray?
I think he's this extraordinarily sensitive person, but in reality, he's too afraid to express himself. There's this perception of Ray as a tough guy; whether or not that's true, he is probably the most sensitive character I've ever played. But I think he's afraid to show that. That suppressed tension is a really difficult thing to play.
What's the strangest fan interaction you've had over the years?
A lot of people in the street just scream out, "Who ahhhre you, Ray?!" (Laughs.)
What's a project that you had to turn down to take on the role of Ray?
There was some talk about having me work with Hugh [Jackman] again in Logan, and that would have been fun. I couldn't because of Ray, and I'm not sure if it was a storyline that they were completely committed to. I love Hugh so much, and it would have been fun to do one more with him.
If Ray were female, what would be different about the show?
Gal Gadot would be playing him. Or Paula Malcomson would be a great Ray.
You're being recognized for your work in season four. What was it about this past season that you think stuck with audiences and voters?
I wish I knew! (Laughs.) You try to be consistent with your work and true to the character you're playing and listen to the people you're working with and you trust your instincts. Every once in a while, it works out. And if I knew what it was that people really loved about Ray, this would be a hell of a lot easier. (Laughs.) There are aspects of the character that I certainly identify with and people identify with. There's a sense of solitude and loneliness that everyone has on some level, but it just doesn't manifest or you keep it to yourself. Ray is a study in that kind of solitude and loneliness. Ray also has a deep personal pain, and the way he lashes out sometimes in response to it is what people identify with. Given the way our celebrity-obsessed culture has gone the past five years, I can understand why America likes this guy from Boston [who walks] down Hollywood Boulevard with a baseball bat.
Do you think Hollywood fixers are still around?
Absolutely. They're mostly called attorneys now! But there are some guys who work like Ray.