On the set of the critically acclaimed TV show "Ray Donovan," the director calls for take after take, and with each, actor Liev Schreiber sips at a glass of what looks like Irish Whiskey, again and again and again. Watching this, one realizes just how repetitive acting jobs can be.
But Schreiber sees his time on set as a training opportunity. After working mostly in theater and independent films for much of his career, he wanted to do TV for a little consistency and took on the role of the title character in the show, which is now in its fourth season.
"There is something about this genre that I really liked," he told Take Two's Alex Cohen. "I think I have always wanted to find an environment where I could practice film acting, having felt like I was primarily a stage actor. I like the idea of getting to do it over and over again in a relaxed environment where there wasn't a lot of pressure."
He also did it for his family.
"I was looking for a job that would allow me to be a dad. That would allow me to be in one state for a decent portion of the time, at least six months of the year... And I thought it would be a good idea," he said. "The other really big thing about 'Ray Donovan' for me was that my first son had just been born. And I remembered how interested I was and how obsessed I've always been with the idea of what it is to be a father. And that at the heart of this script is a story about fathers. And so that, that part meant a lot to me."
The show follows Ray, a fixer for Hollywood's elite as he deals with his client's issues and his family's dysfunction. Moving from job to job in a crisply tailored suit, occasionally covered in blood, he uses his connections to make problems go away.
Schreiber likes to play the "bad guy" because it's more interesting, but he says his kids are starting to wonder if he really is a bad guy. After all, billboards of a very imposing Schreiber have been plastered all over to promote the current season of "Ray Donovan."
"My children don't really know what I do for a living. Occasionally they'll pass by a subway poster and they think that daddy does very bad things for a living. Or daddy's a very cruel man. Or their friends will tell them about 'X-Men' Sabertooth with the fingernails and the teeth and they're convinced that I'm horrible," he said. "I tell them that I'm an actor and that I play bad guys because I think the roles are more interesting. And they say, when are you going to do something that we can see?"
And those conversations led him to his next role: a gig in the upcoming film adaption of "My Little Pony."
"When the opportunity to play a role in the 'My Little Pony' came along, I thought, here's my chance to do something that my kids can see. And sure enough, I got the role of the arch villain in the 'My Little Pony' thing, so we'll see how that turns out."
To hear the entire conversation between Liev Schreiber and Take Two's Alex Cohen, click on the blue audio player above.
Liev Schrieber will appearing Tuesday, July 26th, along with the rest of cast and crew of 'Ray Donovan' for an event at the Paley Center in Beverly Hills.