Whether or not Jon Voight gets an Emmy for it this week, “Ray Donovan” is its own reward for him.
The “Coming Home” Oscar winner already has a Golden Globe Award for his meaty portrayal of Mickey Donovan, a rough-around-the-edges parolee and estranged father of Liev Schreiber’s law-firm-“fixer” title character on the moody Showtime drama that has just gotten a Season 3 renewal.
Schreiber makes his series directing debut on Sunday’s (Aug. 24) episode about a troublesome family party … and longtime friend Voight, who also worked with him in the 2004 remake of “The Manchurian Candidate,” enjoyed being guided by him.
“I love the art of acting, and it’s my joy to be on a set trying to bring a character to life,” Voight tells Zap2it with evident pleasure during a chat in Los Angeles. “This is a delicious character, and I’m very grateful for it. I do draw on some of the problems I’ve faced in in the past for it.”
Citing such second-season cast newcomers as Ann-Margret, Hank Azaria, Wendell Pierce and Vinessa Shaw, Voight adds, “We’re very fortunate to have these actors coming in. And Liev is very, very special. His work is really extraordinary, and his potential is just enormous.”
The father of actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie, Voight obviously is happy about his current Emmy bid for “Ray Donovan,” but he also considers it realistically. “To be one of those actors who gets to a place where you get consistent work, it’s very hard,” he notes. “All actors are the same. After the job is over, we wonder where the next job will come from, so we all go through that anxiety.
“As you get older, you say, ‘Well, I’ve been through this before and something will happen, whatever it is.’ Of course, also as you get older, the parts get more scarce. I look back at that young fellow who was trying to make his way and make enough to live on, and I was very fortunate to meet Pam Polifroni, who was the casting director for ‘Gunsmoke.’ “
Indeed, Voight’s history with television — also encompassing the miniseries “Return to Lonesome Dove” and a stint on “24” — dates back to the start of his career. He appeared on such other classic series as “Naked City” and “The Defenders” before the role of hustler Joe Buck in Oscar’s best picture of 1969, “Midnight Cowboy,” propelled him to big-screen stardom.
“Each successful series has a set of problems that [its makers have] solved in a unique way, in order for them to produce the show, and I’m very interested by that,” Voight reflects. “That’s one of the reasons I did ’24.’ Having watched it, I was intrigued to see how they made it. I wanted to see how they worked it out.”