RAY DONOVAN: Liev Schreiber Vehicle Picked Up By Showtime

Liev Schreiber

To celebrate, the Complex offers the first-ever retrospective of Schreiber’s career.

I first remember being aware of Liev Schreiber when he played the role of Orson Welles in 1999’s consistently all right HBO film, RKO 281.  I wasn’t fond of his portrayal of Welles, mainly because I had seen another actor (whose name I cannot recall) who at least looked much more like the Orson of the Citizen Kane era.  You know, the Orson that didn’t depress people.  In watching RKO 281, I didn’t feel like Schreiber captured the wild-eyed genius of the young auteur, but later the same year, I saw Schreiber playing one of the Canadian do-gooders in The Hurricane and couldn’t stop picturing him as Welles.

The point being, even in the earlier part of his career as a featured player, Liev Schreiber confounded and annoyed me.

Not that I spend a lot of time pondering Schreiber’s career.  Five minutes annually, tops.  The announcement of the series pickup of Showtime’s Ray Donovan, in which Schreiber plays the titular role, now offers me the opportunity to expel these forty-nine minutes of elapsed Liev Schreiber rumination time into your anxiously awaiting face.

One of the first things I notice in running down Schreiber’s body of work since The Hurricane, is that he shows up regularly on the crappy tail end of movie franchises.   He got in on the ground floor with the first Scream movie, and then squandered his good fortune by hanging around through the unbearably tired third iteration, Scream 3.  Like X-Men?  Certainly you’ll remember Schreiber’s work in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.  Jack Ryan fan?  Who can forget his contribution to the Jack Ryan catalog in 2002’s The Sum Of All Fears.

Schreiber also happened to punch the clock on a number of ill-advised remakes.  2000’s Hamlet.  2004’s The Omen.  2006’s The Manchurian Candidate.

So it’s only natural for a guy with a consistent record of movie missteps to try his hand in TV Land, right?    Into the whole CSI thing?  Schreiber showed up in a recurring role in one of the least-regarded seasons in that show’s history (2007) before his character was met with a rapid demise.

My impression of Schreiber?  Kind of a “buy high” guy.

Now Schreiber will have a chance to start out on a new series with no preexisting fanbase or expectations.  Ray Donovan will air on Showtime, so there will be plenty of swears, and possibly boobies, to take the pressure off Schreiber.  The show has a strong premise.  Schreiber will play a fixer, cleaning up messes for the L.A. elite.

I like stories about fixers, and envision L.A. to be crawling with them.

Ray Donovan boasts some serious talent on the production side.  Ann Biderman (Southland) created and produced the series, and Allen Coulter (Sons of Anarchy, Nurse Betty) will direct the pilot.  Some heavies will appear in front of the camera as well, with Jon Voight and Elliot Gould in recurring roles.

Ray Donovan will premiere next year.  Stick by the Complex for the pertinents.

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