A Minute With: Jon Voight on his second act, on smaller screen

Wed Jul 23, 2014 7:21am EDT
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By Eric Kelsey

BEVERLY HILLS Calif. (Reuters) - When Jon Voight joined the growing list of top-flight film actors on television last year as a small-time Boston gangster on drama "Ray Donovan," he felt the role of the aging family patriarch take him back to his early days as a character actor.

The 75-year-old's return to his acting roots as Mickey Donovan, the cynical father of a Hollywood fixer in the series now in its second season on the premium cable network Showtime, has also given him a chance to join the rare club of actors who have an Oscar, Golden Globe and Emmy awards.

The star of films "Midnight Cowboy" and "Coming Home" earned an Emmy nomination for best supporting actor for the role this month. He spoke to Reuters about the benefits of television, what makes a good lead actor and how he always wanted to work with Liev Schreiber, a reluctant leading man.

Q: Did you have any reservations about doing a television series at this stage in your career?

A: Here's the deal: What does an actor really want? An actor really wants a good job. If you can get a good character, a job where you can come to work and explore a character, that lasts over a period of several months and maybe several years, it should be a wonderful thing.

Q: Would you have done this earlier in your film career?

A: There was a time when television was television, and there were television actors and there were film actors. Now that line has been blurred, especially in the dramatic arena.

We're getting more opportunities to express ourselves in dramatic material in television than we are in films. There are only a very few films every year that are taken seriously in the dramatic arena and there are many, many pieces now where actors and writers and directors can express themselves on television.   Continued...

Actor Jon Voight poses at the 4th annual Critics' Choice Television Awards in Beverly Hills, California June 19, 2014. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok