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Ray Donovan Preview: “S U C K” [VIDEO and PHOTOS + Exclusive Octavius J. Johnson Interview] 

Photo Credit: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME
Photo Credit: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

Ray’s got a lot of balls in the air right now (but, I guess he always does). He’s trying to shut down Kate McPherson’s investigation, he’s making sure Ronald Keith is on Mickey in an effort to keep him in line, he’s attempting to placate James Cochran and prevent the real story of Sully’s murder getting out and he’s realized just how much trouble his marriage to Abby is in. On top of all that, Ray is still trying to fix the lives of his celebrity clients, who never seem to be able to keep themselves out of trouble. So, as I said, Ray’s got a lot going on.

Although we’ve only heard his voice so far, we’ll be seeing Octavius J. Johnson‘s Marvin Gaye Washington soon. I talked to the actor about how he got started in the business, what’s coming up for him and Kerris Dorsey‘s Bridget and what it’s been like to work with Liev Schrieber.

Octavius wasn’t sure he wanted to be an actor as first, even thought he “was always highly recommended to be in the school plays in high school.” He says he was resistant at first “mostly because of fear and being nervous to get on stage in front of everyone.” When Octavius finally decided to go for it he was in a number of his high school productions including Once Upon A Mattress, Macbeth, Rent and The Spelling Bee. With every role, he “had a bigger part and then I got the bug.” His career officially started when his father, who “did locations for The Wire” got him a small role in one of the episodes. From there he booked his first independent movie. Then six months later he booked Ray Donovan.

When asked about the audition process for Ray Donovan, Octavius told me his “awesome agents and managers” submitted him for the part. He remembers the process so well because it was “one of my first bookings. I worked really hard on it and I just really knew in my gut, I was like, ‘Man I really relate to this character.'” Marvin Gaye Washington was never supposed to be a singer though, that was something he added saying, “I wanted to do something different for my audition so I sung the rap and they really liked it. I think that’s what sold me.”

When asked if Octavius knew what his season one storyline was going to be, he says “It goes back to the audition process. When I got the audition it said a kid from Compton, rapper, lives in Calabasas.” He did get a “brief character breakdown,” but he didn’t know anything about his mom or dad. Everything he learned about his character came from “table reads and [reading] the script.” And although things with him and Bridget didn’t end well, Octavius tells me “I do end up back in Calabasas. They get to see each other again.” He praises the writers on “building the audience’s love for our characters.” As far as specifics go, Octavius says Bridget’s “a little upset about the fame and how Marvin’s carrying it. She’s seen some videos with him and some of the groupies. She’s not too excited about that. So it starts off with her feeling left out.” Of course he wasn’t allowed to tell me much, so I didn’t push it.

Since most of his scenes are with Kerris, I asked about their working relationship but not before telling him my take on their relationship. I like them because even though they’re misunderstood teenagers who are pretty much ignored by their parents, they see something in each other that no one else does. He  liked my assessment and called Kerris “talented” and “so sweet to work with.” He’s a little older and always wants to make sure they’re both comfortable during some of their more intense scenes, so they “just talk” it out. But everything’s not always so serious. Octavius says Kerris is “really fun and we just goof around on set.”

When I asked him if he could tease anything else about the season, Octavius told me he’s got “a scene with Liev.” He’s not allowed to give too much away, but “there’s a new character around” as well,  Omar Dorsey, who is set to make his debut shortly. He’s “done a lot” and is “well-known in the industry.” Octavius has “some scenes with him” and “Re-Kon is back” too.

Going back to season one, Octavius’s scenes with Liev were intense. I ask him how it was to work with Liev on those scenes and he tells me that he had “fun” and calls Liev “awesome.” Liev’s a veteran and has been around for a while, so when they were doing the scene where Marvin finds out his “mom was murdered,” Liev “directed me and gave me advice on how to help him throw me safely and how to do it properly. He’s very professional and on his game and focused.” There’s a reason “he’s number one on the callsheet.”

“S U C K” synopsis, from Showtime: 

With her investigation in full swing, Kate zeroes in on Mickey. The appearance of Tiny, a former member of Sully’s gang, jeopardizes Cochran’s promising career. He and Ray disagree over what measures to take. Ray attempts to get Tiny out of the country safely while simultaneously closing the deal on a new house in Trousdale. Meanwhile, Mickey’s new parole officer Mr. Keith sends him to work at a Mexican restaurant. Abby meets a new friend at the gun range while Bunchy encounters a potential love interest at the bike shop where he has gotten a job.

Ray Donovan airs Sundays at 9/8c on Showtime.



All images courtesy of Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME.

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