Liev Schreiber: Liev to Tell

Liev Schreiber's character bores his fellow cast in The Daytrippers with hilarious results.

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In gritty indie gabfests like Walking and Talking and Denise Calls Up he came off as so loose, sweet and hunky you felt like you'd known him for ages. But Liev Schreiber ("My name gives people dyslexia--think of it as 'Kiev' with an L") seems undeluded about the current wattage of his star power. He did do a well-salaried riff as one of the kidnappers in the Mel Gibson thriller Ransom, and he's got another in the film adaptation of Dean Koontz's Phantoms, but mostly he sees himself as a guy who has to work the system's lower tiers to get a job.

"The director's practically my best friend," he says of his next film, the bite-sized indie effort The Daytrippers, a dysfunctional-family vacation comedy. "I have a lot of friends who are filmmakers, and honestly that's how I got a lot of my jobs. I play Parker Posey's obnoxious bohemian boyfriend who's written a novel about a man who's normal in every way except that he has the head of a German shorthaired pointer, I bore everyone to tears."

It's not that Schreiber lacks ambition--"What I wouldn't give to be the next big Jewish movie star!"--he's just a little more laissez-faire about his career experiences than your average young actor, and he sees silver linings others might miss: "It wasn't the greatest movie in the world," he admits about the miniseries Buffalo Girls, "but I was on a horse for six weeks--for a guy from Brooklyn, that's pretty exciting. There's something everyone forgets: acting is a pisser! You get to put on costumes and run around like an idiot. It's a goof, like Halloween 365 days a year."

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Michael Atkinson



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