South Florida native Steven Bauer found success in local television ("Que Pasa, USA?") and in film ("Scarface"). His latest role is on the new Showtime series "Ray Donovan,'' which debuts 10 p.m. June 30.
The new show stars Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan who works as a "fixer" for the elite in Los Angeles. Bauer plays Avi, Donovan's tough Israeli enforcer who helps celebrities and entertainment executives make their problems disappear.
"Avi is the action guy in the show," said Bauer, 56, during a recent visit to his family South Florida. "He is given little missions to run for Ray."
During a recent visit to his family in South Florida, Bauer, 56, chatted about his new character, Avi, the associate of Hollywood celebrity "fixer," Ray Donovan, played by Liev Schreiber.
Q: Who is Avi?
A: My character is a very dry, no-nonsense kind of guy … Avi is an Israeli in Los Angeles … This guy does everything. He can cook. He can clean. He can take people out with one series of moves, punches and strikes. He is also very adept at physical stuff and disarming somebody. And obviously he can get rid of the evidence or find evidence. He also has this CSI training and forensic stuff that he also does and that's why [Avi is] very valuable to Ray Donovan because he needs somebody who at least is as tough as him, if not tougher.
Q: How did you train for the role?
A: I did a little bit of minimal training of the hand-to-hand [combat], the physical stuff. It's called Krav Maga. I learned how to disarm somebody, how to take them out up close before they get you … I did learn it so that it looks right when I do need to do that kind of thing on the show.
Q: You've done movies, network television and cable. What's your preference?
A: This is such a beautiful form … This is so appealing to really strong actors because you are not limited to two hours or 45 minutes to develop a character. You can develop it over three months. You have writers who are studying you and they are studying the storyline and they are busting their brains and creative juices to create this life that unravels. You can let little bits of information out with each episode. You are able to lay it out slowly.
Q: You seem to play dark roles (an enforcer, burglar, druglord). Do you seek them out?
A: I think they find me, because of the way I look. I think there is sort of a general universal perception of me or someone who looks like me, as someone who is kind of menacing, dark or mysterious. I have characters that I want to play that are lighter and do-gooders, generous, warm and compassionate people. It is ironic. I seem to be playing these [dark] characters. I turn down more than what I've done. I have turned down playing the most despicable people on Earth. I turn it down all the time.
People think I am crazy. They are like, "Why don't you want to be in that movie?" Because I don't want to be that guy that everyone hates and everybody wants to die in the end a terrible death. I've done it. Once or twice is enough in a lifetime.
Q: How often do you visit South Florida?
A: As often as I can … whenever I am not working, I come here, and hang out with my parents and see my old friends. I need to be in South Florida, the scene, the sports teams, the ocean. If I am not here, I am on the phone talking to [someone] here. I am watching the Marlins, the Heat or the Dolphins… My brother just moved to Davie. We were all out for Father's Day watching the Heat.
Q: Do people still associate you with Manny, the best friend of Al Pacino's character in the 1983 movie "Scarface"?
A: People recite lines to me all the time, anywhere I get recognized. I literally have guys — they are bolder at night by alcohol — who come up to me and say, "Hey, that's Manolo!" … They ask me to recite lines. You do it and say the line, and they freak out. Almost every day in my life is a "Scarface" day. It's a phenomenon.
What: "Ray Donovan"
When: 10 p.m. June 30 on ShowtimeCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun