Liev Schreiber plays the titular character in the new Showtime series Ray Donovan. It's about a Hollywood clean-up man who works outside the law to help celebrities avoid scandal. Schreiber came in to talk to Fresh Air Host Dave Davies about character development on TV and in the theater, his career and even his mom.
"I haven't ever met a Ray Donovan, but I know that they [Hollywood clean-up men] have been around for as long as Hollywood has been around," Schreiber says about his character. "There are these jobs that need to get done that lawyers can't handle."
Whether it's on Broadway (did I mention he's won a Tony Award?), in movies or television, Schreiber tends to get cast as the bad guy (or "conflicted characters," he says more accurately). Despite training in a boxing gym, he says he's never the one doling out the punishments, rather he's always on the receiving end.
"In terms of being menacing, it's something, unfortunately, that I was sort of born with. It's - I often describe it as the arched eyebrows and Slavic fat pads" he says. (Yes, he prefers the term "Slavic fat pads" over "puffy cheeks," by the way.)
Schreiber has also become a go-to narrator for documentaries, starting with a PBS documentary on the history of rock n' roll. He demonstrated his voiceover methods by picking up a set of instructions sitting near him in the production room and reading them in his narrator voice.
And on his way out, Schreiber paused to let us know that he loves NPR. I mean, how could he not, now that he knows how to record a split-track phoner from his booth?