Jon Voight has had a seasoned career spanning over five decades, including "Midnight Cowboy," "Deliverance" and an Oscar win for 1978's "Coming Home." More recently, he's garnered praise for playing Mickey, father of the title character in “Ray Donovan,” over the last two years. Although he didn’t get quite as much sleep as he was hoping for, he was grateful for the Emmy nomination for supporting actor in a drama series when speaking over the phone early Thursday morning.
How did you hear the news of the nomination this morning?
I was in bed. It’s something crazy. I was talking to the press [Wednesday] and they continually reminded me that it was coming up. I wanted to get some sleep because I have to go to work today -- I have a big load.
You never know if you’re going to get a nomination, of course. I really wanted to get some sleep. The call came -- happy call, so that’s good. It’s a very prestigious award. I'm very grateful.
What has made “Ray Donovan” shine over the last two seasons?
It’s full of suspense, twists and turns. It’s richly done. The acting is of a superior nature, I must say. We’ve had great directors. We set the tone early with our first one [season]. We set a proper style and stuff so it has that as well. It has many riches.
The characters are great and the actors are great. The stories are very interesting. At the end of each episode you feel like you’ve had a full meal.
You’ve played many roles throughout your acting career. What lasting mark does Mickey leave on your legacy?
It’s a very interesting thing about Mickey. I wouldn’t have gotten this role if it wasn’t for the mid-'80s, “Runaway Train.” I was a pretty boy in some sense and I was asked to play this hardened criminal. Probably people in the industry who heard of that casting saw that became a very successful performance. From there, I did “Heat”.
These other characters were kind of tough characters. More recently I did “Anaconda” and it had a certain kind of right to it. It was kind of more comic in “Holes.” I kind of play this in an aspect to some extent. This is kind of a culmination of all those things.
A lot of those things lead to my ability to get into Mickey. Mickey is a character that you grow with over 12 episodes. I get a lot of aspects of Mickey. People get to see a lot of me. I think that it’s a memorable portion of my career.
How will that lead into the upcoming season?
This coming season is very interesting. We’re down to last two episodes and are now on the 11th episode. This has been quite a ride. You don’t know where the burden on the right is to come up with new seasons with all these characters included. It's quite something. Quite a special and spectacular job. You get an interesting ride from this season. It’s very theatrical.
We are going into a new sense of characters added. Last year we killed off some of the best actors I’ve ever worked with. There’s a new set of people coming in. It’s quite something. I’m very appreciative for the fans.
Did any other nominations surprise you?
I don’t know anything about the nominations. I tried to get some sleep. I received the nomination trying to get back to bed. It didn’t work successfully. You know more than me.
Are you going to check it out then?
Oh sure, I’ll check it out. They spread it around pretty good. I don’t know how it happens but it naturally happens. Some of the more recent ones get attention, you know. But it’ll be interesting to see it.
As I say, there's an awful lot of good work going on. Our team could have gotten many nominations, it seems to me. They are well-deserved and we’re grateful for that. We’ll see how it goes. This is a celebration of excellence. It’s a nice thing to do. It’ll be a nice ceremony. I don’t take it for granted and am very grateful.