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Smitty's Big Decision on Ray Donovan - Graham Rogers as Smitty in RAY DONOVAN, "Passport and a Gun". Photo Credit: Jeff Neumann/SHOWTIME. Smitty's Big Decision on Ray Donovan - Graham Rogers as Smitty in RAY DONOVAN, "Passport and a Gun". Photo Credit: Jeff Neumann/SHOWTIME.

Ray Donovan

Smitty’s big decision on Ray Donovan: Would you do the same?

Photo Credit: Jeff Neumann/SHOWTIME



Ray Donovan gave Smitty a look that would turn Medusa into stone on tonight’s episode after his family-altering decision was revealed. Would you have done the same in Smitty’s position?

This article contains spoilers for Ray Donovan Season 7 Episode 8 (“Passport and a Gun”).

A Donovan house divided against itself, cannot stand. Abraham Lincoln’s 1858 Senatorial run address said it best. Smitty made a life changing decision on tonight’s Ray Donovan episode that will polarize fans eternally in its rubble. He agreed to snitch against the family that welcomed him as one of their own, against the man that saved his life in the first place. In return? The debt for his freedom has been collected upon. Only instead of an envelope stock full of money or a vintage baseball jersey, his payment came through the use of a wire. One that will implicit Ray and remove Smitty’s crest off the Donovan family tree unceremoniously.

Daryll losing Jasmine [Keren Dukes] on tonight’s Ray Donovan chapter was ominous for what Smitty’s crystal ball holds. When Daryll decided to forgo allegiance to his own father and go against the house of Donovan, he ended up losing the love of his life. Even if Smitty doesn’t physically lose Bridget for going against the family, he will never have her trust again. Though Smitty whimpered to Ray about doing this to protect Bridget, if she had one foot out the door before, she’ll be out of the house and in the Taxi now. Marriage annulled. Finito.

Ray Donovan - Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan in RAY DONOVAN, "Passport and a Gun". Photo Credit: Jeff Neumann/SHOWTIME.

Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan in RAY DONOVAN, “Passport and a Gun”. Photo Credit: Jeff Neumann/SHOWTIME.

Ray’s look towards Smitty was one of pure disappointment more than surprise, a stare-down that’s silent yet deadly. Cutting deep into the very soul. Put yourself into Smitty’s shoes, would you have agreed to cooperate with Detective Perry [Quincy Tyler Bernstine]? On one side, without Ray Donovan, there is likely no Smitty. His story simply ends without an operation, right or wrong. There is no Bridget, no new chapters, only an epilogue. On the other side, in reality, most people would do anything do stay out of the big house. Even if it means ‘snitching’ to take the heat off themselves. Cutting a deal means getting to live the second chance at life Smitty was given, even without Bridget.

From Smitty’s perspective, he already faces a collapsing marriage with a wife that’s cheated on him, and now potentially long-term jail time for crimes he wanted no part of. Time lost by association. Would most people not take the exit door in that situation? What about you? Would you be able to look at yourself in the mirror? Turn your back on the house that clothed you and healed you… Would you bite the hand that feeds to save yourself?

Be sure to read The Natural Aristocrat’s interview with Sandy Martin on Sandy Patrick! Check out more coverage of Showtime’s Ray Donovan on The Natural Aristocrat’s Ray Donovan category section.



Bill Heck talks playing Young Mickey Donovan, Jon Voight (Interview)



Bill Heck as Young Mickey Donovan on Showtime's Ray Donovan Season 7 Episode 7 "The Transfer Agent" - Screenshot/Photo Credit: Showtime
Screenshot / Photo Credit: Showtime

Bill Heck spoke to The Natural Aristocrat about playing the scene-stealing Young Mickey Donovan on Showtime’s Ray Donovan and Jon Voight being generous with the character’s interpretation.

Any actor looking to learn the craft of conveying body language to make an audience believe in what you’re doing needs to watch Bill Heck’s performance on Ray Donovan Season 7 Episode 7 (“The Transfer Agent”). Young Mickey Donovan’s mini dance during a robbery spoke volumes about the character, a lasting immersive visual to frame on the wall.

During an exclusive interview with The Natural Aristocrat, Bill Heck discussed his fine-tuned work as young Mickey Donovan, Jon Voight sitting down with him on the second day of shooting, a Ray Donovan prequel show à la Better Call Saul, and even some preliminary thoughts on The Irishman’s de-aging tech! For those wondering about Jon Voight’s best tip to Bill Heck delievered in classic Mickey Donovan fashion…

“They got great writers, amazing story, everyone really knows what they’re doing… But every now and then before a take, just as they call action, tell yourself, ‘I don’t give a s**t!’ Throw it all out the window and do whatever the f**k you want!”

Interview with Bill Heck on Young Mickey Donovan:

Bill Heck as Young Mickey Donovan on Showtime’s Ray Donovan Season 7 Episode 7 “The Transfer Agent” – Screenshot/Photo Credit: Showtime

The Natural Aristocrat [Nir Regev]: Did Jon Voight personally comment on your performance? I’m curious what he thought of you playing young Mickey Donovan.

Bill Heck: Jon sent me a very lovely text after the episode aired, and it was a delight to receive. He was more than generous during the job. We were shooting up in the Bronx, and I think on the second day, Jon had the day off and came from the place where he stays during the season in Greenpoint (Brooklyn).

He came all the way up to the Bronx to sit down in the hair & makeup trailer with me and talk about the character and thoughts he had. And he was really curious to hear thoughts that I had. Jon was very generous and interested that I make my own choices, what views I had on the character, and really encouraged me to make it my own. As much as I could! You know, not to just do an impression. Which I’m no good at anyway! (laughs)

But it was amazing! It’s amazingly generous for Jon to come all the way up the Bronx and and sit with me to chat for almost an hour. We exchanged numbers and texted back a few times throughout the shoot. He really gave me permission. That is a real valuable thing to have as an actor. So he was lovely the whole way through. Then at the wrap party he said there with me and my wife [Maggie Lacey] for a long time. Just couldn’t have been more pleasant and more supportive. He was a real gem.

I thought the flashbacks could be a show in itself, something like Better Call Saul.

(laughs) We should put you in touch with the producers!

Bill Heck as Young Mickey Donovan leaving ‘Ray Ray’ and his ill wife in the middle of the night on Showtime’s Ray Donovan Season 7 Episode 7 “The Transfer Agent” – Screenshot/Photo Credit: Showtime

There’s just so much story there to explore, and it sounds like you’d definitely be willing to go back. Is that something you could see happening with Ray Donovan?

The impression I got from everybody was that they were pleased with how the flashbacks went generally. David Hollander, the showrunner, seemed pleased with how things went. I don’t know what their plans are for next season, by any explicit means. But I wouldn’t be shocked, I think they were definitely pleased to tread new ground in that way. And I had an interesting time, I wouldn’t be averse to any additional exploration, certainly!

Were you picked originally for this role because of your performance in 2013 film, Pit Stop? Even for anyone just watching the trailer for that movie, when you push off, there’s something instantly noticeable about your body language. It’s subtly reminiscent of the way you portrayed young Mickey Donovan. In general, as an actor you had great control of body language on Ray Donovan.

Thank you! That’s a really interesting parallel, I certainly wasn’t doing that consciously. I guess there’s a slight parallel in the characters in that they’re both trying to find their place in a world where they maybe feel a bit out of place. Or are not quite sure of how up to the task they may be. But no man, that was a long time ago that movie! It’s a project I hold dear. I’d encourage people to see that sweet little film.

What was it like working with Aidan Pierce Brennan as young Ray Donovan? Doing all those “Ray Ray” scenes. Those were some intense scenes, especially when Mickey’s stealing his wife’s money out of that can as Ray watches.

I mean on one hand, for me as a person being able to see what’s happening in that scene, it’s heartbreaking. But Mickey thinks he’s doing the right thing to a certain degree. Mickey maybe understands that it’s morally complex but he doesn’t pay attention to that side of things because he’s got a plan. And his plan is going to make things right.

Bill Heck as Young Mickey Donovan and Aidan Pierce Brennan as Young Ray Donovan on Showtime’s Ray Donovan Season 7 Episode 7 “The Transfer Agent” – Screenshot/Photo Credit: Showtime

Even if he’s deluded himself about how possible it is or what right is right or what’s best for his family. He’s moving forward in a way that he thinks is best for his family. So, in that sense even though he’s maybe got some conflicted feelings about how it may be perceived, he’s optimistic.

Bill Heck as Young Mickey Donovan on Showtime’s Ray Donovan Season 7 Episode 7 “The Transfer Agent” – Screenshot/Photo Credit: Showtime

Do you feel in pilfering the money, that maybe Mickey was trying to protect the Donovan family as well? From the aspect that maybe James Sullivan would do worse if he didn’t pay back something.

Absolutely he’s telling himself that, yeah. Mickey’s got rings of stories that he tells himself and he believes them! Mickey doesn’t imagine that he’s deluding himself. He’s not as far as he can see in the future. He’s going to handle it, you know? It’s like he tells Ray as he’s going out, ‘everything’s gonna be fine,’ right? So I think Mickey believes it or at least he knows that to survive, he has to believe that.

Young James ‘Jimmy’ Sullivan played by Austin Hébert on left and Young Mickey Donovan played by Bill Heck on right on Showtime’s Ray Donovan – Season 7 Episode 7 “The Transfer Agent” – Screenshot/Photo Credit: Showtime

That little dance Mickey Donovan does right when he’s about to rob that van, was that intentionally written into the script? Or was that you personally making an on-the-spot, Mickey influenced decision there?

No, I just tossed that in. Kyra (Sedgwick) who directed the episode and David Hollander, the showrunner, Jon, everyone included were extremely encouraging about being playful. It was a very available, open generous set. A very fun set and the character is a fun character.

Bill Heck as Young Mickey Donovan dancing during robbery on Showtime’s Ray Donovan Season 7 Episode 7 “The Transfer Agent” – Screen captured GIF Credit via Showtime

I asked a few of the people which episodes of previous seasons I should watch to get a decent idea of Mickey. Everyone was really open and interested in making me feel comfortable riffing, more than I have in past gigs. I felt like I got to stretch my arms and play a little bit, which was a real joy. I had an ample opportunity with this character to do so.

Yeah, I thought those little details really made the scene. Kind of like what they call reveries on Westworld, those extra touches that make a character feel real. I mean obviously there was that iconic teeth sucking thing that Jon Voight does often on the series.

There were a couple of teeth sucking scripted moments. (laughs) That was the only little characterization that they specified! I threw in a few more here and there, and replaced a few here and there. I’m not quick to recall which ones they used in the edit but that one they definitely zeroed in on. I think at some point here I was like give me a tooth suck right here. (laughs)

Bill Heck as Young Mickey Donovan ‘teeth sucking’ on Showtime’s Ray Donovan Season 7 Episode 7 “The Transfer Agent” – Screenshot/Photo Credit: Showtime

Do you feel you were able to study the character more through watching other Ray Donovan episodes, meeting Jon Voight in-person, or a mix?

It’s definitely a mix. Early on I had to rely on the episodes, I think maybe watched in the neighborhood of 8 to 10 in total. I had a dialect coaching session where I’d work with the material and met Austin (Hébert) who plays Jimmy (Sullivan) and we worked through some of that and just spent some time building on it. Playing around and then we actually shot the van robbery, that was the first thing I did.

Bill Heck as Young Mickey Donovan shooting back on Showtime’s Ray Donovan Season 7 Episode 7 “The Transfer Agent” – Screenshot/Photo Credit: Showtime

That was before I met Jon, the second day was when Jon came up and definitely he helped me expand on all the work I had done before. Just being around him you get a sense of how he’s carrying himself through the world generally, and how it applies to the work you see him do on the show.

I think maybe the most pointed tip he gave me was like, “They got great writers, amazing story, everyone really knows what they’re doing… But every now and then before a take, just as they call action, tell yourself, ‘I don’t give a s**t!’ Throw it all out the window and do whatever the f**k you want!” (laughs) That was advice to an actor that would definitely inform where the character came from and where he lives. So it was very helpful and fun.

Bill Heck as Young Mickey Donovan shoots back in vain on Showtime’s Ray Donovan Season 7 Episode 7 “The Transfer Agent” – Screenshot/Photo Credit: Showtime

What’s your viewpoint on a film like The Irishman where they used the same actors for flashbacks with de-aging VFX technology? Is there always going to be a place for other actors to play a major part of flashbacks or do you feel as the price of the tech drops the industry will become heavily reliant on it?

It’s a tricky one, my friend. (laughs) You know I have not seen The Irishman, though I’m certainly a lover of Scorsese and his crew. So I can’t comment on that directly. I certainly suspect it’s obviously something they’ll decide when it’s appropriate to use and when not. And I’m sure as you say it will shift as technology becomes more advanced and more affordable… I don’t know, I think that’ll come down to each individual artist.

Bill Heck Headshot – Photo Credit: Jeff Galfer

I find it hard to imagine that a community of artists, especially when you’re speaking about a collaborative art like filmmaking or storytelling in general… That most artists would opt to interact with something that is not available to them at the moment.

You know to try and create a story or human moments, that is sort of waiting on the computer, three weeks down the road. So, in terms of The Irishman they were still working with the guys there in the room. But I can’t really speak to how the de-aging tech effected the work as far as The Irishman goes.

I think the artist will always choose what’s most fun, what’s interesting to them. I think some will find the technology very intriguing and it certainly is in its way, and some will say, ‘I want the whole warm body.’

I think actually the evolution of that question will lie more with audiences. What they’re interested in receiving. How crossable the uncanny valley truly is… Because the people are going to decide if they’ll buy it or not. That’s a good working answer down the line one way or the other.

Are you going to appear in any other flashbacks in this season of Ray Donovan? Without any spoilers of course.

That’s it for me… At least for this season.

Bill Heck as Young Mickey Donovan fake surrenders on Showtime’s Ray Donovan Season 7 Episode 7 “The Transfer Agent” – Screenshot/Photo Credit: Showtime

You’re going to be in a new Netflix show called Locke & Key that’s arriving on February 7th. What kind of character will you be playing in that?

Locke & Key is based off a graphic novel series, written by Joe Hill and illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez. It’s a series of books that is just gorgeous. It’s beautiful. It’s sort of family drama, meets horror film meets father legacy. In that series, I’ll play the father of the family that comes to live in my childhood home. I don’t know how much I can say beyond it…

I mean it’s all in the books for anyone and they’re well worth the read. The show looks amazing and all the people that I’ve worked with who’ve seen bits of it are extremely pleased with it. So I’d say it’s well worth the look this February.

I saw Liam Neeson at BUILD series and he joked around, then got a bit serious, about how theatre actors are just better actors than TV/Film-only ones because they get to perform every night. How they get more practice in and have to constantly adapt to a live audience. Since you’ve had experience on both sides of the aisle, on-stage and on-screen, what are your thoughts?

(laughs) You know one of the things I love about what I do, and brings me into context with what other people are doing, is that there’s no real template for it. There’s not one way to get where you’re going. Nobody’s ended up where they are for the same reasons. There are definitely skill sets that come with different environments and different experiences and different lengths of experiences.

Bill Heck Lead Headshot – Photo Credit: Jeff Galfer

There are certainly things that I know having come up in the theatre side and being trained in storytelling and acting… That I wouldn’t know had I just come up through the Television ranks in Los Angeles. But there are definitely things that that those guys know that I don’t. That I’ve had to learn later in life that I’m still learning.

I think it’s hard to stick a pin in any one answer about what’s going to make an actor better, more effective or not. Aside from maybe if they’re still curious, if they’re still interested, if they still feel like they have something to learn. Anyone that thinks they’ve got all the answers about anything, is more likely than not to not know anything.

Do you feel you prepare any differently as an actor than from when you first began? Do you have any kind of ritual every morning to kind of get into that kind of mindset or is it different for every role really?

Yeah it’s different for every role, every circumstance. Like if I’m doing a theatre gig, I have a pretty standard warmup just to get get into my body. But I switch it out based on what I have to do for a show and where I am. Mickey is an easy guy to get into physically to kind of shake your fingers up in the right way and feel it through your body (laughs) as opposed to maybe a more still character.

Bill Heck as Young Mickey Donovan schmoozing and buying drinks at the bar on Showtime’s Ray Donovan Season 7 Episode 7 “The Transfer Agent” – Screenshot/Photo Credit: Showtime

I don’t know if you’ve seen the comments on the Ray Donovan fan group on Facebook but a lot of people commented on your performance and the episode (“The Transfer Agent”). Do you read those usually? You should go check it out!

(laughs) Oh no, that’s dangerous man! I’m glad to hear it came off well though for sure.

Thanks Bill!

Thank you!

Bill Heck on Social Media:

Follow Bill Heck on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, IMDB, and his official website.

Relive the memorable Ray Donovan Season 7 episode on Showtime Anytime or subscribe to Showtime on Amazon.

Be sure to check out The Natural Aristocrat’s interview with actress Sandy Martin on Ray Donovan’s Sandy Patrick and more coverage of the series on the Ray Donovan category section.

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Ray Donovan

Who played Young Mickey Donovan on tonight’s Ray Donovan episode?



Bill Heck as Young Mickey Donovan on Ray Donovan Season 7 Episode 7 "The Transfer Agent" - Screenshot / Photo Credit: Showtime
Screenshot / Photo Credit: Showtime

Bill Heck did the honors of playing the Young Mickey Donovan on tonight’s Ray Donovan episode “The Transfer Agent” channeling Jon Voight to mesmerizing effect.

Bill Heck’s interpretation of Jon Voight’s Mickey Donovan on the latest Ray Donovan Season 7 chapter tonight was top tier, mimicking every detail right down to Mickey’s iconic teeth sucking. As if a show in a show, a Better Call Saul style prequel tease, Director Kyra Sedgwick and Writers David Hollander & David Bar Katz crafted a spectacular episode… Showing that Ray Donovan as a series is so brimming with life, it’s fit for two shows, running side by side.

Bill Heck’s Mickey Donovan was glowing with charisma, capturing the finely tuned elements Voight’s made famous with the character… Like dancing right before a robbery. Even the reveries, the inflictions of voice when saying ‘Ray-Ray’ or telling an officer ‘What a beautiful face!’ before knocking him out were restored like a priceless polaroid photo. The type Sandy thought she lost forever tonight. A Ray Donovan prequel series is ready right this second.

Alongside Bill Heck’s Young Mickey Donovan, was Young Ray Donovan played by Aidan Pierce Brennan, Ray Donovan’s mother played by Kersti Bryan, Young Jimmy Sullivan played by Austin Hébert, Young Claudette played by Princess Adenike, Young Larry O’Malley played by James Pravasilis, and Young Billy Doyle played by Peter Albrink.

Bill Heck is previously known for his roles on Pit Stop, The Alienist, and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.

Was Ray-Ray’s memory a perfect facsimile after all?

A scar-worthy recall… Young Ray-Ray’s story was told just the way Ray Donovan recalled it while drunk at the family table when mourning in episode 2. Having to take care of his ailing mother on his own, while catching his father pilfering her money. At least from his vantage point. From what Ray saw, there’s no guessing around why he feels his father’s actions are unforgivable.

Bill Heck as Young Mickey Donovan on Ray Donovan Season 7 Episode 7 “The Transfer Agent” – Screenshot / Photo Credit: Showtime

What Ray didn’t know presumably, was the money was going to Jimmy Sullivan to potentially stop worse from happening. Mickey was at least 5 grand deep in the hole and there are consequences to that, ones worse than just “batting .200.” Perhaps, that 1 grand staved off an even larger tragedy temporarily.

It appears by the trailer for next week’s chapter following tonight’s credit roll, that Jimmy Sullivan isn’t much better than Mickey… Certainly, not in the way Ray Donovan seems to remember James. Maybe, there’s a lot more truth to what Mickey feels about Jimmy ruining his life than Ray’s proposition that it’s just about the money with Mick.

Needless to say, there’s a reason why viewers won’t be forgetting this flashback of the past anytime soon… Just like Mickey Donovan. Kudos to Bill Heck for making Young Mickey Donovan the centerpiece of any scene he was in on “The Transfer Agent”.

Be sure to check out The Natural Aristocrat’s Mickey Donovan focused articles Mickey Donovan is the only one to treat Daryll like family on ‘Ray Donovan’ and A father playing favorites leads to Ray Donovan tragedy: Brother vs Brother alongside more Ray Donovan coverage!

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Ray Donovan

Ray Donovan’s Molly Sullivan should look familiar to Better Call Saul fans



Molly Sullivan on Showtime's Ray Donovan - (L-R): Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan and Kerry Condon as Molly Sullivan in RAY DONOVAN, "The Transfer Agent". Photo Credit: Jeff Neumann/SHOWTIME.
Photo Credit: Jeff Neumann/SHOWTIME

Ray Donovan’s new sweetheart paramour Molly Sullivan should be a familiar face to Better Call Saul fans… As actress Kerry Condon plays none other than Stacey Ehrmantraut on the AMC series!

Ever have a hunch you’d seen someone before but couldn’t put your finger on it? Worry no more! AMC and Showtime’s respective universes have collided as Mike Ehrmantraut’s daughter-in-law is playing Ray Donovan’s Season 7 romantic interest. In a way, this is the second time actress Kerry Condon has portrayed the love interest of a figure whose best of intentions are subverted by their father’s corruption.

In Better Call Saul, Mike Ehrmantraut’s dabbling in ‘dirty money’ as an officer causes an avalanche worthy domino effect for his son. Akin to Mickey Donovan’s decision to go from ghost-status to actively searching for his 1977 betraying co-conspirators. In both cases, Kerry Condon’s Molly Sullivan and Stacey Ehrmantraut have been caught in the crossfire of family disputes. Except Molly Sullivan is not married to Ray… Yet.

Bridget Donovan directly advised Molly Sullivan ‘she wouldn’t get anywhere close to her family if she was her.’ Better Call Saul’s Stacey Ehrmantraut found out the hard way what it means to be part of a family with subtle criminal overtones… It cost Stacey the love of her life and made her a widow with a young child in tow.

On Showtime’s Ray Donovan, Molly is similarly hunting down a promise of emotional pain. A moth attracted to the flame, flying up to the ceiling light knowing it will eventually burn, piece by piece… But being unable to divert or choose a different, more rational path. While it’s unlikely Ray would ever have children again without Abby to raise them with him, the prospect of a deeper relationship is raised in front of Molly. A carrot dangling off a fishing hook at the end of a treadmill.

(L-R): Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan and Kerry Condon as Molly Sullivan in RAY DONOVAN, “The Transfer Agent”. Photo Credit: Jeff Neumann/SHOWTIME.

Thus, Molly will avoid all the warning signs of her predicament, the photos, mystery phone calls, and dirty dealings. She will keep a steady pace of chasing Ray, no matter how worn out her sneakers get day after day without rest. While Stacey Ehrmantraut only discovered the realities of her husband’s death post-mortem, here the ominous signs are laid out on the table. Perhaps, Molly intentionally ignoring her own father’s corrupt operations has led to her cognitive dissonance. As Ray and the Donovan family make no qualms about the type of people they are and always will be.

Better Call Saul’s Mike Ehrmantraut and Ray Donovan are both shown to be on the positive side of the moral compass quite often, leading to the question… What’s the threshold or line crossing in which a good person does enough bad to officially join the other side? Is it truly in the eye of the beholder, internal perception? A Freudian style Ego, ID, and Superego? Or always majority decision as voted by citizens of a society?

Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut, Kerry Condon as Stacey Ehrmantraut – Better Call Saul _ Season 4, Episode 4 – Photo Credit: Nicole Wilder/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Better Call Saul talents are no strangers to appearing on other major shows. In fact, Patrick Fabian (Howard Hamlin) made a memorable cameo on HBO’s Barry last season!

Be sure to check out more Ray Donovan coverage on The Natural Aristocrat’s Ray Donovan category section!

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