Liev Schreiber Explains Why ‘Ray Donovan: The Movie’ Is an Origin Story

Liev Schreiber as Ray in Ray Donovan

Ray Donovan, the shadowy problem fixer to the wealthy, rarely leaves loose ends. So it’s fitting that Liev Schreiber, the man who played him on Showtime’s 2013–20 drama, was compelled to finish the story after the network canceled the series. “I felt like we owed it to the fans,” says Schreiber.

Ray Donovan: The Movie wraps up the story of Ray, his on-the-run ex-con dad Mickey (Jon Voight) and the rest of their complicated clan, while also showing flashbacks to Ray’s teen years in Boston. Schreiber, who cowrote the script with exec producer David Hollander, talks tough with us.

The movie picks up where the series left off, but it’s heavy on flashbacks to Ray’s rough teen years. Why?

Liev Schreiber: That was initially my idea that we do a kind of origin story. The actors who played Ray and Mickey as young people [Chris Gray and Bill Heck] in the last season were so good. I thought A), it would be amazing to not have to work so much [Laughs], and B), they could carry the story in a new and refreshing way.

What do we learn about Ray and Mickey’s relationship?

Ray has to become aware of the damage that he did to his father, a handsome, charming guy who could destroy your life. We explore the conflict and the love between the two.

Was it tough getting back into Ray’s mannerisms and his Boston accent?

They were easy, but we mispronounced the family name for seven years! Any Southie [South Boston resident] will tell you that it’s Dunavun not Donavan. Somehow we missed that for [so long].

Despite the intensity, did you have fun on the film set?

Every day! In the movie, [the Donovan brothers, played by Schreiber, Eddie Marsan, Dash Mihok and Pooch Hall] all get drunk. We had to do an unchoreographed dance number, so we just went for it doing various versions of the electric slide.

Ray Donovan: The Movie, Premiere, Friday, January 14, 9/8c, Showtime