RAY DONOVAN: Vinessa Shaw on Kate's 'Addiction to Adrenaline,' Her Twisted Relationship with Ray, and More - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

RAY DONOVAN: Vinessa Shaw on Kate’s ‘Addiction to Adrenaline,’ Her Twisted Relationship with Ray, and More

August 8, 2014 by  


RAY DONOVAN’s title character has always has his share of foes, but Kate McPherson, a Boston Globe reporter who is writing a book on Sully (and his death), has proven to be an interesting challenge for him: the duo’s chemistry led to them winding up in bed together (more than once), but despite that, Kate has been unwilling to give up her quest to find out what truly happened.

And while actress Vinessa Shaw (Kate) acknowledged that the duo are “soul mates in a way, with how they approach their lives,” the top priority remains for her character to find out the real story…no matter what the cost may be.

I spoke with Shaw about Kate’s devotion to her job, the complicated relationship Kate shares with Ray, joining the Showtime series in its second season, and more…

Since RAY DONOVAN was in its second season when you joined, what was your process to prep for this role: did you choose to binge season 1 before filming, or did you opt to go in with a clean slate?
Vinessa Shaw: Actually, I did binge! Very much so. When I was brought the project, I had a few days before meeting with Ann Biderman, the creator, and actually I only saw a few episodes. Afterwards, I had met with her, and I thought it went well, but I continued to watch the rest of the season within like four or five days, because I really did become a huge fan of the show, and I still am.

How has the filming process been on this show versus other projects you’ve worked on?
VS: I have some experience in television, and moving to television from film is always a jarring experience for someone who’s never really done it before. The first few things I did [in television] were very quick, very fast-paced, and you really needed to know your lines and your character — just go with it, go with your gut instinct.

This show, where I feel there was a lot of…of course, the writers have ideas about the character, and the writing is pretty much done and set in stone, but if you have any questions, or some sort of backstory that could actually change a performance, they very much welcomed that. So there would be time for discussion. And actually, there was a lot of time to shoot the entire episode. Most TV people experience shooting episode of television in perhaps five days, but for us, it was two weeks. You can get a whole movie done in that time, nowadays. [Laughs] It felt luxurious to be able to have the time and go through the process.

When you met for this role, did they lay out a lot of your season-arc? For instance, did you know how entangled she and Ray would get?
VS: Ann sort of gave me a rough sketch of what would happen. I did know that there would be some indiscretions. Further than that, there was no discussion about where she could go or would go.

And so it was very brief, because what I learned from being on the show this season is the writers and the producers are coming up with the ideas of which each storyline should be as they go. And what you do as a character can kind of influence what they do next for you. I think they pretty much stayed in line for the idea they originally had for Kate, but you never know — there could be something you do, or some choice you make, or something as the story unfolds that could take a turn or what not.

Why do you think Kate keeps finding herself drawn to Ray, even as she acknowledges he could be playing her/she shouldn’t trust him?
VS: In a way, I think that Kate and Ray are similar. They both have a mysterious side to them. We know how Kate feels about her job, and she’s obviously very passionate about her job, and in many ways fights for justice for the truth to come out. Other than that, you don’t get to know her private world so much. She’s similar to Ray in that respect, because even though we watch every move, and every thought and idea in his head, sometimes we don’t really quite know what’s going on with him anyway, what move he’ll make.

He does have this air of mystery to him, which I think is what attracts her to him. They’re kind of two lonely souls, in a way, who perhaps are just workaholics. [Laughs] But I do also feel they have the same understanding with each other — they’re unattached as people. Obviously, he’s literally attached to his wife, but he…in his heart, he’s searching for something, some kind of release, and I think she brings that to him. She kind of sees him and understands him for who he is; she doesn’t judge him for who he is. She even gets upset by a lot things he does, but she doesn’t judge him, because guess, what? She’d do the same to get her story or get the results she wants to get to. In a way, they kind of behave similarly; they’re soul mates in a way, with how they approach their lives. They’re kind of like magnets — they repel each other after a while.

How seriously is Kate taking the danger she’s in by trying to finish this story?
VS: I think Kate pushes everything to the edge. I researched a lot of reporters before doing this, and I noticed there are the bona fide, respected, really rooted reporters who can get what they want, and get what they want in a very straight-forward way.

Most of the reporters I studied had their partnership with a major network and what not, so if they were ever in danger, they had to communicate to the network and be protected by them. Kate is acting like an indie reporter, giving the finger to her boss, and kind of cutting ties to her safety net that she has at The Boston Globe. She’s very risky in her approach to getting this story.

I feel she has an addiction to adrenaline, or has something wrong in her brain and doesn’t have any fear. [Laughs] I feel like she’s one of those rogue reporters who would be on the front lines of some crazy place, like Israel right now — just not give a care in the world, because she’s there for the story, always. She’s always there for the story. So, she’s like a person without a safety net, or a person who cuts the strings from a parachute as she jumps out of the plane. She has some screw loose in her to feel so comfortable and at home just getting the story among gangsters and pedophile priests.

Things come to a boiling point for Kate in this Sunday’s episode. What can you tease about the hour?
VS: You definitely see Kate in her adventuresome mode. She once again pleases the viewer in her tendency to not be afraid to get the story. She pushes her limits, for sure, in this one. And pushes her limits with most of the cast members that she’s obviously met with before. It’s a very adventuresome side of her, which we’ll see even more.

RAY DONOVAN airs Sundays at 9 PM on Showtime.

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