‘Ray Donovan’ Star Liev Schreiber On Exploring The Hardships Of Being A Man

Ray Donovan star Liev Schreiber talked about the crisis his character will face, just as the new season is set to premiere, and how coming to terms with the challenges the character must face in his life will lead to an epiphany of sorts. Liev said Ray will end up taking a loom inward and find that he’s not entirely comfortable with what he sees. Schreiber discussed the pain of coming to terms with life’s darker side, which is something Liev also explored in 2015’s fact based drama, Spotlight.

Ray Donovan Star Liev Schreiber Teases Heavy Drama For Season 4

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Liev Schreiber thinks Ray Donovan is essentially a drama about the challenges men face in the modern world and, while there are countless dramas in both film and television that focus on the problems women face in society, Ray Donovan may be alone, or, at the very least, in selective company, when it comes to dealing with the male perspective. Interestingly, the drama is written by a woman and yet gives an accurate assessment of what it’s like for the series protagonist.

“In some ways, Ray Donovan is about how difficult it is for a man — a grown man — in our society,” said Schreiber.

The fact that Ray Donovan is written by a woman isn’t lost on Liev, but the actor shares an admiration for the creator of the series that is mirrored in the following of Ray Donovan fans. Ann Biderman, the series showrunner, is no stranger to creating compelling and driven male characters. Biderman is responsible for giving us such a gritty crime dramas as Public Enemies (2009) and Copycat (1995).

“Of course, this character was created by a woman, and the idea of what we as a society see as a real man is a completely prehistoric idea,” said the Ray Donovan actor. “And an arcane construct, if that really exists.”

In season 3 of Ray Donovan, the titular character was all but destroyed by loss, betrayal, and deception. Bringing Schreiber’s character to an all-time low was delivered through a revelation of clerical abuse, something also explored in another project of Liev’s, last year’s Spotlight.

“Ray’s going through a midlife crisis and one aspect of his pain is certainly articulated in that, but I think the other part is that survivor psychology,” Schreiber said, as Season 4 of Ray Donovan gets ready to air tonight. “In many ways, Spotlight was about the same thing.”

Schreiber said his Ray Donovan character has been happily lost in Los Angeles, a city where it’s possible to stay hidden away for as long as one chooses, but he says personal revelations force Ray to come to terms with his life. He can no longer hide, because, as Liev said, “he’s starting to rot from the inside out.”

Liev Schreiber Does Shots With Ellen DeGeneres

The Ray Donovan actor was nervous about his return to The Ellen DeGeneres Show, particularly because it had been 12 years since he last joined DeGeneres on her talk show, but Ellen wasn’t about to let one of her guests feel uncomfortable. Instead, the host suggested shots of tequila to help Schreiber relax and the shots did the trick, because, in no time, Liev was revealing that he’d avoided returning to Ellen’s show, only because he had such a great fear of public dancing.

Once Liev was feeling loose and talkative, he began revealing that he was troubled at leaving his partner, actress Naomi Watts, and their children home alone in New York, while he was filming in California.

“This is the first time we did that. The kids are at that age where you kind of want them to have continuity with friends and school,” Schreiber said. “You’ve got to put them first at a certain point and the back and forth, I think, can get tough.”

Liev said he feels it’s been toughest on him. He said he spends 15 hours on the set of Ray Donovan, which really only leaves him 20 minutes to FaceTime with his family, but the children aren’t eager to sit still and talk with the old man. Liev said they get bored quickly, running off to play.

“What if you danced for them,” suggested Ellen DeGeneres.

The Ray Donovan actor revealed that they dance naked after bath time, though that revelation only came after another shot of tequila.

[Image by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]