JUMPING INTO THE WATER

In ‘Yossi’, Israeli filmmaker Eytan Fox and actor Ohad Knoller revisit the lead character from their hit 2002 gay military romance ‘Yossi & Jagger’. Still struggling with his lover’s death, he’s drawn out of his shell by Tom, a soldier played by hot 29-year-old rising star Oz Zehavi. QX film critic Jack Leger talked to him…

 

How did you get involved with Yossi?

I simply auditioned for the part, then played a cat and mouse game with Eytan. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to act in the movie because there was no script at the time. But I trusted Eytan and jumped into the water. Eytan is one the most amazing directors in Israel.

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Eytan and Ohad have worked together for a decade. How did it feel to collaborate with them?

It wasn’t always easy to work with Eytan, because his way of directing is very specific and I like to be more free. But eventually we connected, and I’m glad I had this experience. The biggest challenge was to be soft and bring my “inner woman” without loosing my authenticity.

Did you identify with Tom’s approach to life?

I totally identify with Tom: live your life the way you are, be yourself all the time and do not surrender to anyone who tries to push you away from it. But I’m also different. As much as I love Ohad, I wouldn’t sleep with him! But it was pretty funny to be naked and hugging him while my balls were strapped up with duct tape.

You’ve worked on some big American TV productions. How does that compare to an Israeli movie?

In America the money is better and you get more respect as an actor than in Israel. But the content in Israel is usually worth the pain. Because there is no budget, the scripts are usually well-written, intimate stories that can touch the most sensitive places in the human soul. I just want good stories and to say something to the world through them.

 

• ‘Yossi’ is out now on Peccadillo DVD/VOD.

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