Liev Schreiber Takes a Walk on the Dark Side in Showtime’s ‘Ray Donovan’

Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan in "Ray Donovan" (Showtime)

Showtime will take a walk on the dark side of Los Angeles’ celebrity community this summer with the premiere of “Ray Donovan” on Sunday, June 10 at 10/9c.

It is dramatic story of Tinseltown’s best fixer, Ray Donovan (Liev Schreiber), a man who makes things right for the city’s rich and famous, including actors and athletes.

The twist — of course, there has to be a twist — is that Ray can’t fix the problems of his South Boston family which has relocated to Southern California — and whatever you may think those problems are, they are 10 times worse.

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The series was written and created by Ann Biderman, who previously wrote for “Southland,” and it was her script that convinced Schreiber to sign on for his first-ever TV series.

“One of the things that impressed me about Ann is here is a woman that, I think, understands and writes about masculinity better than most men,” he says. “I think that was the thing that actually drew me to the script. As you will see, there is some interesting stuff about masculinity and, I think, Ann has a good take on it.”

Below, the cast and executive producers preview the issues Ray will be facing in the show’s first season:

Problem No. 1 — His Father: Ray’s problems begin when his father Mickey (Jon Voight), a gangster with the Irish mob, is released from prison five years early — and turns up in Los Angeles hungry for revenge. He feels that Ray owes him big time, accusing his son of being responsible for his incarceration in the first place, and he wants his due — and his position back as head of the clan. “I have played some pretty strange characters and people come up to me constantly and say, ‘You play a great villain,'” Voight says. “Some of that work landed me this part. It is a very complex character. He has a lot of dimension. I am challenged and excited.”

Problem No. 2 — His brother Bunchy (Dash Mihok) was abused by a priest and now can’t stay sober: To make the character more real, Mihok spoke with several men who had been abused by members of the clergy in real life, did a ton of reading, as well as research on the Internet. “It is a very odd world to go into,” he says, “I opened my eyes to the grief and the anger and the incredible roller coaster of emotions that these people go through. There was a little part of me that was wide-eyed, thinking, ‘I am going to get to do a lot of twisted stuff,’ but it is also sad. I feel so much empathy for these individuals. It is really traumatic.”

Problem No. 3 — His brother Terry (Eddie Marsan) was left in the boxing ring too long and developed Parkinson’s Disease: Marsan actually was personally acquainted with someone who had Parkinson’s Disease. It was a friend and former employer — a bookmaker — who paid for his acting lessons and changed his life. “I got a job with him when I was 16,” Marsan says. “I was an apprentice printer, but I was still working for him on weekends [because I needed the money]. One day he got robbed and hit on the head. Years later, he developed Parkinson’s [and the thought was it was from the head injury]. It was heartbreaking. When he was younger, my friend was the one who looked after everybody, but then people had to look after him.”

Problem No. 4 — His wife Abby (Paula Malcomson) is still adjusting to their West Coast, suburban life while raising their two children, Bridget (Kerris Dorsey) and Conor (Devon Bagby): The one thing that Malcomson says is not a problem are the two actors playing her children. She says that for now, they are a pleasure to work with. “They’re not little s–ts,” she jokes.

“Ray Donovan” premieres Sunday June 30, following “Dexter,” at 10/9c on Showtime.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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