Liev Schreiber: From On-Screen Transvestite to Small Screen 'Ray Donovan'

The successful stage/screen actor reveals why he went to TV and how he got his big break.
13:00 | 08/29/13

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Transcript for Liev Schreiber: From On-Screen Transvestite to Small Screen 'Ray Donovan'
Party. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- photos cubes or else and -- -- Tommy's and a tuxedo he she's wearing a full bridal gown. Hunt and believable we deal occasional shot -- baby less than a year ago when -- had a story is that. She got the age from his assistant big and deal and he and I kill all the Shauna walker Scientology's rumors. Stories. I'm not scared of -- anymore. -- Hi everybody I'm Peter Travers and welcome to popcorn where we tell you what's happening in the pop culture we tell you what is really good out there and there is. A showtime series now called ray Donovan. Which I think is real creation. The writing the directing and the acting is spectacular. And we have with us not only an actor in ray Donovan but the actor who plays ray Donovan the -- we have -- -- so is it exciting team to do this first. TV series it's very exciting. We'll tell us about it because one of the things that intrigued me about. Ray Donovan is that I could look at it -- and while he's a -- you know he's like George Clooney was in Michael Clayton. -- somebody that I've seen the character before but I haven't seen. This character before so how would you describe. I think you're right it's really classical form. -- -- archetype that we're very familiar with. I think it's and -- -- credit that she's kind of and our sources deconstructing and -- it she's. Cut him open and taken a look at at the and the inside moves. Of the character are very compelling way. -- she addresses issues of contemporary masculinity. -- Being -- parents. And stuff that's really compelling and in an -- in a kind of exciting format which is this idea of some fixes. The problems of Hollywood's -- things. I'm curious about what was in that got you to say yes -- -- and Bittermann. -- -- She's not it's good that's that describes been exactly she's not isn't really brilliant in the but I I ruling. And people who are not so I think it runs in my family and I'm comfortable with a visit certain honesty and it. That makes me feel comfortable. -- a capacity for creativity that I think comes with a there's a lot of other problems that come with -- but you know you -- work through those that they don't usually -- knots. To basically do a series it has to be produced. On a regular basis. Twelve times this season you know that is if no one else can write like that's -- so it's just the town nobody else -- and she's really remarkable. And -- -- to how did she say to kidnap the that -- she gave it to me to read she gave the pilots who read. And I told my. Agents that I didn't want to a television show but I would love to meet this writer. And a couple we have a couple friends in common -- association -- and absolutely. Of course by the end of lunch and its -- television she got up. The -- I know what the magic. Magic what it sounds like it was me as much harm as it was which he had written. I think -- fan and I have father. Issues -- we have deep feelings about parent thing. And has I think really. Developed. Really astute perspective on masculinity and in all its. Flawed beauty through the men in her life through my mind and I think it's -- into retail what that worry us. I think it's a really compelling perspective. And the model that she uses. As a sort of -- to -- more care. That's a very interesting way and a very I think contemporary way. We -- really old thing. One of the great things about -- -- when it's being done well is it. All the answers about attacked -- -- spelled out for us we know ranks from South Boston. And that he's here but we and we know this father is is a problem. And not a problem certainly as played by Jon Voight and the scenes with the to view. Just some of the best acting anybody's gonna see anywhere -- forget showtime movie theater anywhere. Can you talk a little bit about you and Jon Voight doing -- Father and son. Was you you know. Had a lot of issues around father's stuff being a father having the father the absence of -- father the presence of absent impressed and equal equal problem they're both they're both full -- -- considered problematic -- emotionally full. I think John those two John understands that very well very deeply. Giant worked together before the film remake of the Manchurian candidate this time -- directed and so we kind of friendly and have it easy -- -- with each other. And then were both very good at diving in. Quickly to things. Which I think is what this kind of work demands especially on television so fast. But John's enthusiasm. -- -- was really surprising to me. That a guy at his -- -- his point his career with the credibility and the Oscar and all of the stuff please god I'd never seen -- -- so happy to come to work. And that was really infectious. Well you grew up your child of divorce right so -- talking about parenting and about and talking about -- -- Your mother and father was -- you about five when I was four and when they first. And you living with your mom basically in the squat on the lower east. How how -- this happen. What do you feel comfortable about describing that was a different time just -- feel safe in the world to me. Well it was a different time he's been you know people let their kids walk out on this. Back then even little kids it's hard to imagine that in the in the early seventies. People just didn't think the way they do now. My mom was very bohemian. Person didn't. Believe value. Worldly things that much so squats were kind of romantic and adventures that are making. Just over taxis or was alone a lot during the day and you know when people like you bring it up I think -- -- had a scary childhood but it. I always think that have really adventurous wonderful child. Will show that -- -- toughened you up doing its. -- you know that's between my therapist in me -- yes. Plus yeah -- that person pocket for a minute just hours ago here you can if -- Because I think it -- growing up in -- you. Our. Seeing. Some people in the neighborhood who aren't -- -- don't you have to develop some kind of let. Thick skin to survive and I think you do -- you you do. And I and I. Yeah. I know that I have issues around that -- But I think the thing. That. That I am most grateful for about it. They think if I had such an identity crisis growing up as a child that it made me a wonderful candidate for the theater. You mean -- schizophrenic that's right yes. Think we've Massachusetts it is such a gift for an -- to have that that do us but. Where you spend a lot of time watching when your along -- I think that's what I do. I think -- spent the tremendous amount of time watching not to be any number designating watch friends. During -- me when I was small living and -- We know -- -- stay in the house that sat in the window box and I watched lots of people on the street -- people -- -- -- watch here you know there was -- -- from our house. Who spent hours just looking. And when you do that enough you start to feel outside. Rather than inside which is something that I think is common to a lot of factors. And there is the you know there's the assumption about -- is that they want to be up on a pedestal they want everyone to look at them pay attention. But I think it's a much subtler. Thing going what they really want they wanna -- in -- and want to be like everyone else. The problem is because they spend so much time observing every one else and practicing being everyone else. It tends to put them someplace. Other than all the people -- It doesn't questionable. -- -- Bosnia that. Well film being the subject of this show usually I remember the first time my site and it was it was mixed nuts a movie of the -- More -- from wherever you are. -- questioned but that movie was a strange but you are. Transvestite in effect on Xavier -- -- will. And how did you feel bad when so and so for the first time. I mean I said from the razor bumps all over my body I was really excited. I mean -- -- In a movie with Matalin. Steve Martin Steve Martin Meehan rob Brian in name he. I've just gotten school. You know. 80000 dollars worth of student loans to no idea how I was going to do it on the 300 dollar -- -- game. And Aurora from tap into play I mean I -- I would have played anything from friends -- OK you're going to be addressed fines to settle directly and I can do at. I was having this time my life I am not penalize estimates now I can see that and you've only done one films in the ambulance and and like they do and yeah we just want to atlas is she's just were you can't. That was it was here recently and she says I don't know which -- seventh round -- I think we found them and it was so exciting -- there is a movie that you did and that I wasn't gonna bring up we home -- The stakes you know -- there at this. There is. Something called movie forty threat. That's right it's on the present a threat on the -- residents for you people out there that don't know it if -- can be found. That's right you should definitely see it as a friend of mine friend of mine was making movies who would you make sure with a nice picture -- make -- -- -- We had fun doing it. This that'll fit together I don't know. But that's part of it into this -- he can't treat every night I -- -- Think it's I try not to be too precious. I think it's. It's. I'm very lucky to have that career I have very look at the options. So I don't want to. And one missing. I think we -- we always in the show in song okay. Really we -- -- I don't know why am I didn't mention that I. -- just she should've done -- she did her audition song which is their worst things I could do from Greeks. I'll contract -- do with that. Or you can just do -- little piece of something wrong. I am not a big singer I don't believe -- I'm really not -- I totally -- Though. I wrote lullaby for the kids -- to -- a broad lullabies for both kids. I'm particularly proud of the -- that I wrote for for -- But of course now that I'm on camera. It's it's gave me I'll get it. Polls the is very -- He lives down by either -- Is it time any cops who eats lives and loves to who banned BO. It's basically I can't think of anything that a child would grow up so happy here -- of time you've been great. Thank you so much they should.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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