With the airing of the last episode of season five of Ray Donavan on October 29, Showtime has announced that the program starring Liev Schreiber will be renewed for a sixth season, but this time the show will be based in New York. The show is about Ray, who is a Hollywood fixer who will bend or break the law to get his celebrity clients out of jams –murders, drug overdoses, scandals—you name it. You never know when the volatile Ray will grab a baseball bat and start smashing the windshield or headlights of somebody’s priceless sports car. He comes by his violent temperament honestly, his father Mickey, played brilliantly by Jon Voight is a ruthless career criminal, but whose latest capers always seem to end up in spectacular disasters. Susan Sarandon has popped up in season five playing an evil Hollywood producer who will stop at nothing to achieve her ends. Sarandon is excellent in these villainess roles—last year she was formidable in the miniseries she did playing Bette Davis.
Schreiber plays Donavan mostly showing next to no emotion, as he extricates a collection of starlets, producers and studio moguls from the various predicaments they get themselves into. Although, as is often the case when a series gets into an extended run like this one, the plots become more fanciful—in this case a number of surrealistic dream scenes as Ray mourns the loss of his wife to cancer. Admits Schreiber, “Ray’s a rough character to play. It can be difficult when you’re a character like him. You ratchet up tension and then you don’t express it. The guy’s carrying a lot of tension around a lot of the time, but he rarely, rarely expresses it…”
Liev Schreiber doesn’t come to mind as a Hollywood A Lister until you look at his resume and realize that he has been in dozens of movies and has an impressive stage career. One of his most recent projects was the boxing movie, Chuck, about the New Jersey fighter Chuck Wepner, who came within a few seconds of going the distance with Mohammed Ali in 1975. As the movie points out Wepner’s story was the inspiration for Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky. Wepner had a checkered boxing career and was so prone to cuts that he was dubbed the Bayonne Bleeder. Thanks to the miracles of makeup Liev Schreiber was transformed into a battered palooka. It was also great to see those 1970’s fashions—floppy fedoras, full length fur coats on men and those big check bell-bottoms—how can we forget them?