A new interview in Naluda with talented actor Ido Samuel, who is best known for his role as Yossi in the 2012 Sony Classics film, “Fill The Void”.
We chat about his new lead role in film “Introducing Jodea” and more.
Check it out.
Hi Ido please tell us about you?
I’m Ido and I’m an actor. I’m originally from Hertzelia, Israel and recently moved to LA. Back in Israel, my mom, dad, twin sister and our dog named Toy still currently live there. I try to Skype and talk to them as much as I can. (It’s hard with the 10 hours difference). In Israel, I acted mainly in dramas and some got into a lot of film festivals around the world. I also did some plays and one of them was even The Lion King where I played Simba! And my face was all over Israel when I acted in a campaign for the Israeli government to warn soldiers not to hitchhike for fear that they could get kidnapped. So I played a kidnapped soldier who told the risk of getting a ride with someone you did not know. And now in LA, I have a few projects coming up that I’m really excited about.
So how did you get in acting?
I remember when I was about 5 years old I went to a magician performance at the hotel my mom used to work at. The magician asked for a volunteer from the audience to help him, and me being very shy, I kept to myself but for some reason he picked me and took me on stage. When I got to the stage, I looked at the audience and instead of being shut down, I got this unexplained confidence boost and all the shyness went away and I became this performer who did things and entertained the audience in a way I could never imagine. The crowd kept on cheering for me and clapping and loving all that I was doing. It filled me with so much happiness and a feeling that this was what I wanted to do in my life and the fulfillment I felt from it was irreplaceable. I guess you can say that this was when I got the “acting bug”. Ever since then I have acted in every thing I could from a school play to city stages. After finishing 3 years in the army in Israel, I started to learn acting more intensively for about 5 years and then started doing films and plays.
What was your first acting role?
I acted in a ton of school plays ever since I can remember but my first role outside of school was when I got cast in “The Divide”. I played the lead character Kobi, who is about to get an excellence award in his Training Completion ceremony at the Army. His family live in a settlement near Nablus, and oppose him serving in the IDF. During his weekend visit, Kobi invites his family to the Ceremony. To his surprise, he finds out that his family will be evacuated and his house is intended for destruction, as the army will come to dismantle the settlement as part of the peace process. Kobi must choose between his family and his ideal of serving in the army. It was a great experience and the actors who played my parents, Amos Lavi and Esti Zackheem, were two of the biggest actors in Israel. So it was a great honor and a great first big acting experience. The movie later got chosen to screen in a lot of film festivals around the world, so it felt really nice as well.
If you could act with anyone as your co-star, who would it be and why?
Without a doubt Marion Cotillard! I saw her the first time at a screening at BAFTA in London for the film “Rust And Bone” and they brought her and the director Jaques Audiard for a Q&A after. The film with it’s story, directing and acting, was one of the best movies I’ve seen in my life! I don’t want to say a lot as to not ruin for those who haven’t watched it yet but if you didn’t go, please watch! She was absolutely breath taking and so raw and real. After the movie ended, hearing her and the director (who became my one of my favorite directors after that) talking about the movie, made me want to work with them so much more. She looks and feels like she really puts everything she has in the projects she chooses and it helps make her partners performance so amazing as well. You want to have a partner like that who you can get lost and forget about the camera and just live as the characters and tell the story. Plus she is gorgeous. I really hope I’ll get the chance to act with her.
Who is your favorite Actor/Actress? And why?
Well I guess you can figure that out haha. Marion again! After Rust and Bone, I really started to follow her career. And in my humble opinion, everything she acts in becomes amazing. You believe her and she is not trying to look perfect for the camera. She just lives the character in a very raw and emotional way. You can see that she puts so much work into her craft and not compromised. I always get lost when I watch her perform and as an actor, I learn so much from just watching her.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Funny, real, and hard working.
Tell us about “Fill The Void”?
Fill The Void is an Israeli drama feature film, which tells the story of Jewish Hasidic family. After a young Hasidic woman dies in childbirth, her 18-year-old sister (Hadas Yaron) is asked to cancel her upcoming marriage to a promising young man and marry her widowed brother-in-law (Yiftach Klein) instead. I play her twin brother Yossi. The role was for an orthodox jew, which is really far from my secular life. So to prepare, I needed to do a lot of research so I started to spend more time with orthodox Jews who would open their house to me warmly and invited me for Shabbat dinners and holidays. I had a guy who was in charge of teaching me the behavior and nuances of orthodox Jews and explaining to me their ways and more about our wonderful culture and religion as a Jew. The director Rama Burshtein, who is an orthodox woman herself, kept on inviting me to her house for dinners and holidays before and after shooting the film and I became really close with her family who treated me as a family member. I also needed to grow a beard and side curls for the character, so that was weird to my family and friends who suddenly saw me looking so different. The on-set atmosphere was so intimate and all of the cast and crew became really close. I am still in touch and very close with most of them. It was a real joy to work with so many talented and humble people. Our premiere was at the Venice Film Festival, which was one of the best times in my life. The love that the film received was more than our wildest dreams. And then later on the film won so many awards world wide and most of the Israeli Academy Awards including Best Film of the Year. It was a really an out of body experience. And I hope that I will get to work again with these amazing people who were involved in making it. The lead actress Hadas (who became a really close friend of mine) also won best actress at the Venice Film Festival and became an international star out of it.
How did you got selected for the role?
I auditioned for it.
How was the casting?
Casting was great. The first time I was by myself in front of the director and casting director. I felt it was one of my best auditions. I remember just going out of the room and felt so happy with what I gave, which most of the times in auditions its hard to do. Then I got called again for a matching with the girl who got chosen to play Shira my twin sister. And just from speaking with her for 10 seconds, I felt great chemistry and after that, I got the call that they want me. I was beyond happy.
And tell us about lead role in “Introducing Jodea”?
It is my first comedy feature film after years of doing dramas. It tells the story of Jodea Maxwell who dreams of stardom, but her reality is that of a struggling out of work actress. Everything changes however when world famous movie director Zac Kawalsky drives into her car. Instead of making him pay the damage, she persuades Zac to let her audition for his next film. I play the role of Luke Stalville, a huge Hollywood actor who needs to act with Jodea in the film. Luke has a big ego and he tries to hide his insecurities by being a pre-madonna. He gives Jodea a hard time at the beginning but learns a lot from her as time goes on.
What do you like to do when have some free time?
I love to travel and want to see as many places as I can. If it’s to take my car and do a small road trip or even hike In places I never been to in California. But if I don’t have a lot of free time, I just try to go to the beach and stay there as much as I can. If I can watch the sunset, it makes me happy. I also love taking photos and it’s been my second passion besides acting.
How’s a normal day in your life?
Everyday is different and if not, I try to do something different. It’s hard to plan ahead because you usually get called for auditions only a day or two before, so I try to be available for that as much as I can. Meanwhile working on improving my craft by working with a dialect coach, acting coach, going to lectures about acting and filmmaking. And watching as much films as I can. It’s the best acting school.
How do you stay fit?
I hike a lot. Go to the gym. But mainly Corepower Yoga I try to do it almost everyday. It’s a heated intense yoga. I guess you can say I’m kind of addicted to it but the feeling I have after is worth all the sweat that I have while doing it.
Who is your biggest supporter?
My twin sister Michal. She knows me the longest (we spent some time in our mothers belly). She always believed in me and wanted me to succeed. And now that I live far, she helps with everything that I need to take care of back in Israel. I don’t think I would make it without her.
Any other future plans?
I also have the desire to write and direct myself. Filmmaking is something that always has interest me.
Best advice ever given?
Surround yourself with good and supportive people.
How important is Social Media for you?
I’m still getting used to it. It took me a while but now I am starting to really like it. It’s a great way to stay connected with my family and friends back home but also great to share and see other peoples work and art.
Where our readers can follow you?
This reminds me of a funny story of when someone asked me for the first time how many followers did I have and I said, “I hope no one!” and didn’t understand why you would want people to follow you in the street. Then he explained and I felt well.. you know..
Favorite Quote: “Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody.”
Favorite Movie: Edward Scissorhands
Favorite Restaurant: Palermo in Los Filiz
Favorite Food: Lasagna or anything my mom makes.
Favorite TV Show: Friends
Favorite Travel Destination: Thailand! I traveled there all by myself for two months and went to almost all the of the islands. And it’s by far one of the best trips in my life. And of course also Israel, which is one of the most diverse and beautiful places. (and all my family and friends are there, which is a big big plus)
Photo credit: Lesley Bryce.