Rodrigo García’s Raymond & Ray is an upcoming drama/comedy from Apple TV+ that sees the unlikely pairing of Ewan McGregor and Ethan Hawke come together for one emotional journey of love, loss, grief and acceptance. The two veteran actors are at the top of their game in this morbid comedy about two brothers, Raymond and Ray, on a journey to pay respects to their deceased father only to find that along the way, the pain and trauma received at the hands of their father is resurfacing in a profound way.
The film is essentially one long, unpredictable, comical and emotionally charged ride that offers viewers a glimpse into the mental (and physical) well-being of these two troubled brothers. Raymond (McGregor) is a mild-mannered, twice-divorced businessman who is still reeling from the trauma caused by his father throughout his life. We see early on Raymond trying to make excuses for his father’s behaviour, only to find that as the film progresses, he can no longer avoid his inner suffering.
“Raymond is a guy who is just uncomfortable most of the time. Yet, through the course of the movie, he is able to get in touch with his very justified anger towards his father. And then, in rather spectacular form, Raymond finally cracks. It was such a fun challenge to play that,” says Ewan McGregor.
“To me, it’s ultimately a story of healing, of how you move forward in your life even when there’s still doubt and pain. The emotions are multilayered and constantly take you by surprise, just as emotions do in real life.”
Then there’s Ray (Hawke), a charismatic failed musician and recovering substance abuser who attracts women and trouble wherever he goes. He’s the extravert to Raymond’s introvert, but evidently, a man holding on to great pain and anger of his own. As the story unravels, it’s clear that Ray is carrying a heavy burden that becomes all too much to handle.
“I do think that this movie is a meditation on forgiveness and the possibility and impossibility of it,” explains Ethan Hawke. “Both these sons are tripping on their own anger, and in a lot of ways, we’re all taught the wrong ways for anger to manifest; you’re not supposed to repress it, you’re not supposed to release it, so what are you supposed to do with it? It’s a very difficult question to answer because if you let it sit inside, it’s toxic and if you let it spill all out, it’s toxic to others.”
Hawke is brilliant in his role – as is McGregor – but it’s Hawke’s performance that steals the show. It’s his arc, which is somewhat conflicted and mysterious, that ends up being the most riveting to watch; the pain and anger he holds for his father progressively boils to the surface as the day the sons (finally) get to bury their dad draws nearer.
“The movie is wrestling with this dynamic of there’s real trauma for these men, and is death going to heal it? Is it even possible? It’s kind of shocking that this man that has hurt these two sons so much has so many wonderful relationships in the other aspects of his life; it’s so confusing to the sons,” explains Hawke.
“What I love about the movie is that it doesn’t really present you with an answer to these questions, which I really think good art is supposed to do; it gives you the right questions to ask that you, the audience, can carry with you.”
‘Raymond & Ray’ has a little bit of everything for people to grapple with. There’s anger, there’s pain, there’s folly, there’s romance, and there’s even grave-digging; it’s a poignant exploration of family secrets and ties, and we believe it’s well worth viewing when it streams globally via Apple TV+ next month.
“To me, it’s ultimately a story of healing, of how you move forward in your life even when there’s still doubt and pain. The emotions are multilayered and constantly take you by surprise, just as emotions do in real life,” says McGregor.
“The way Raymond and Ray spar can be very funny, but at the same time, it comes from something deeper, from the damage they share. The fact that these two lost men come to see that, gives me hope.”
Raymond & Ray will be released globally on October 21 2022 in select theatres and on Apple TV+