It certainly seems like a good idea; Ray Donovan, a Boston hard man who fixes things for the Hollywood rich and famous. Featuring Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan, who has a shady past and a father that he put into prison. Mickey Donovan is Jon Voight (as Poppa Donovan) and the show is essentially Schreiber versus Voight in their conflicting roles.
As a protagonist, Ray Donovan is a tough cookie. He comes from a family background that is steeped in violence and the after affects of same. Mickey is the patriarchal figure who has been languishing in prison because his own son “set him up.” But Ray Donovan as protagonist is an uneasy fit.
Ray Donovan is more Dionysian than Apollonian. He is fatally flawed and it appears that he inherited his less savoury traits from poppa.
Schreiber is an actor from a solid theatrical background. He’s made film his second home and played more than his fair share of villains and “misunderstood” characters. His Cotton Weary character in the two Scream films he worked on (We won’t count Scream 3 as he died before the opening credits.) was a not-very-pleasant character and Schreiber wore the character’s clothes easily.
It was in the 2006 remake of the 1976 iconic classic The Omen where Schreiber got to show his acting chops. He took the role of the American Ambassador to England who discovers his child is the Anti-Christ and made it his own. Liev himself had great misgivings of trying to fill the footsteps of screen legend Gregory Peck who’d played the role of Ambassador Thorne in the original film.
But despite the fact that this was a horror film, Schreiber proved that he could, “By God, act!” When he was on screen, everyone else palled in comparison. Now as Ray Donovan, Schreiber has limbered up and he is set to go “toe to toe” with another screen legend, Jon Voight. So it’s Schreiber versus Voight in the new Ray Donovan TV show and may the hardest man win.
Voight got his Oscar in 1979 for his starring role in Coming Home. He also has a further three Oscar nominations for other films, one being his “breakout role” in Midnight Cowboy. That Voight is a screen veteran with more credits than “Carter’s got little pills,” goes without saying. The fact that this man can also, along with Schreiber, blow everyone else off the screen with his sheer presence makes for what is sure to be a great dynamic pairing of actors.
Voight has been fine-tuning his skills as a screen villain. It is actually very hard to remember the last time he played a “good guy.” Considering that the size of him alone makes his stature appear larger than life he already has an advantage over Schreiber, who is not shrinking violet himself.
Voight is well known for being the kind of actor who can “chew up the scenery” with the best of them. His ageing countenance has melded into the features of a villain. He manages to exude menace with just one look from his ice-cold blue eyes. The producers of the Ray Donovan “flawed fixer” could not have chosen a better actor to represent the Dionysian side of Ray Donovan’s past and, now, present.
Schreiber wears his characters like a set of comfy old clothes. He becomes the character, which is why he is always so convincing in whatever role he is playing. He, as mentioned before, isn’t a short man, he’s known for his towering height and slender, yet muscular frame. He usually plays sinister upper-class figures and his characters are tough unpredictable men.
It appears that his Ray Donovan will be no different. So we are looking forward to seeing the new TV show Ray Donovan which looks to be a bout, to the death, between Leib Schreiber and Jon Voight, as Ray versus Mickey. And yes, there will be blood. Oh yes.
By Michael Smith