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Lior Raz: "We are not coming to do Israeli propaganda, we are coming to tell a story" - Walla! culture

2021-07-21T14:26:47.406Z

The Americans' adaptation to working with Israelis and vice versa, the corona that stopped everything, the great gesture of Netflix, and the way Israel is perceived in the world through such series. In preparation for "Hit and Run", the new series of "Fauda" creators for Netflix, we caught up with Lior Raz, Gal Toren and Moran Rosenblatt for a fairly formal conversation



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Lior Raz: "We are not coming to do Israeli propaganda, we are coming to tell a story"

The Americans' adaptation to working with Israelis and vice versa, the corona that stopped everything, the great gesture of Netflix, and the way Israel is perceived in the world through such series.

In preparation for "Hit and Run", the new series of "Fauda" creators for Netflix, we caught up with Lior Raz, Gal Toren and Moran Rosenblatt for a fairly formal conversation

Tags

  • Hit and Run - Series

  • Lior Raz

  • Moran Rosenblatt

  • Gal Toren

  • Netflix

Ben Byron Braude

Wednesday, July 21, 2021, 8:00 p.m.

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Excerpt from "Hit and Run" (Netflix)

As soon as I entered the virtual waiting room from which I proceeded to interview Lior Raz, I was greeted by Evelyn, the cordial PR woman of Netflix Worldwide, and asked to wait while she finished briefing reporters who came before me. After she finished, she turned to me in what sounded like a completely tight script, explaining exactly how the interviews with Lior ("Mr. Raz") and the other "Hit and Run" stars are going to take place - Gal Toren and Moran Rosenblatt. I did not get water with a cucumber - zoom, anyway - but she did make sure I would position myself correctly in front of the camera ("You have too much Headroom") and mention my name and body I write to him right at the beginning of the conversation.



The situation was strange but also amusing and beautifully demonstrated not only what the world of interviews in the Corona days looked like, but also the magnitude of the project I came to survey - an American action series with a budget of tens of millions of dollars, filmed in Israel and speaking English and Hebrew. In fact, when the interview with Lior began, a few minutes later, I was worried about finding out if it was allowed to speak Hebrew because nothing felt obvious anymore. Aside from the language, everything in the promotion hit "Hit and Run" is entirely American, most of the stars of the series were found that day in Los Angeles, where they were housed in a luxurious hotel on behalf of the production.



Putting aside the snooping, the journey towards the rise of the series has been particularly long and arduous, and more reminiscent of members of the Undercover Style unit you know which series. As early as 2017, Netflix announced that, following the tremendous success of "Fauda", it is ordering from Lior Raz and Avi Issacharoff, the creators, two original series. "Hit and Run" is the first series in this agreement. It was filmed in New York and Israel (at the time of the outbreak of the Corona plague) with a huge international team of creators, producers, directors and actors. Among those involved are Don Prestwich and Nicole Yurkin, the lead writers and producers of American "The Killing" (and Spouses in Life) and the director of "The Story of a Slave." The plot of the series, which will air on Netflix on August 6, is allowed to say very little at this point, especially what you can see in the trailer that was released there recently.




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"Who is Number One?"

Lior Raz, "Hit and Run" (Photo: Korina Keren / Netflix)

Lior Raz (who also wrote and serves as producer with Issacharoff) plays Segev Azulai, an Israeli man with a mysterious past who is married to an American dancer named Daniel (Canadian actress Kailin Umm), and the two live in Tel Aviv. When she is killed in a hit-and-run accident he embarks on a journey saturated with action, twists and international plots in order to find out who hit the woman he loved so much. Apart from Raz, the Israeli cast includes many familiar faces, including Moran Rosenblatt (who worked with Raz in "Fauda") as a police detective named Tali, Gal Toren who plays Ron - Segev's best friend who lives in New York, Lior Ashkenazi as a spy Elusive and more. From the international side you might recognize here Cena Lathan ("Opening Shot," "Awakens"), who plays a very significant character who will help Segev on his journey overseas, and Greg Henry (the same "The Killing"), who plays the father of his late wife Daniel.



Of the three episodes sent to journalists, the first two take place, most of them in Israel, and speak mainly Hebrew. Make no mistake, the expressive photography (for which we bought especially original lenses from the seventies) and the high production qualities will make you realize in an instant that you are not in any Israeli series that you have already seen. However, something in this meeting of cultures may still be confusing. Did Lior Raz fear that the Hebrew in the series would alienate foreign viewers? Not really. After all, he has learned experience in this field.



"I really hope people watch it," he says in a conversation with Walla! culture. "It's really something new we did, it's a series that speaks both Hebrew and English. I also did not believe anyone would look at a series that is in Hebrew and Arabic, but 'Fauda' proved that it has a large audience. With Netflix today there is much more openness to other content, international content. And that is also what my father and I are trying to do, to bring such content to the whole world. "



At the same time you seem to have maintained completely foreign standards, how was it to pick up a production like that?



”American production is something crazy.

With the money we made this series it is possible to produce maybe twenty "faudes".

The first day I get to the set I hear my driver say: 'Number one is on set', and I do not understand who he is talking about.

I asked him: 'Who is this number one?', And then he said that on the production page it says I am 'number one'.

I took the walkie-talkie from him and said to everyone on the set: 'Sorry, here's Lior Raz, I know you're used to saying number one but from now on call me Lior. "

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"When I first came to New York, everything closed on me."

Raz, "Hit and Run" (Photo: JoJo Wilden / Netflix)

According to Raz, American etiquette began long before filming. "Usually, when we sit and write 'Fauda' with my father or with me in our apartment or offices, we sit on the floor and crack kernels and sometimes I just fall asleep on the couch," he says. Shlomo, you have ten writers who each have their own room, and you only sit on it from morning to night, and there is someone who writes everything you say, a personal assistant and more. "



Where else have you seen the difference between Israeli and American conduct?



"When you shoot in the United States everyone knows exactly what he's doing, no one is allowed to exceed his limits. In this country it's exactly different, the boom-man can tell you that the morning cream ('Dude, what's the cream?') Or Hart can tell you it was a good scene Although it seems to him that you can do better.On the other hand, in Israel if you have a last minute to shoot and need to bring a full rock to shoot something then everyone will help - the makeup artist and the photographer and the boom man, everyone will lift these rocks for this whip to happen, it's different. Drop the familiality we have in filming in the country into the work in the United States.



Two things we did, the night before filming began and we were in my New York apartment, Gal Toren and I invited all the department heads of the series to my house, and Gal and I cooked them a crazy dinner. This is something they are not used to it, they are not used lead actor opens the door for them with an apron and shorts and prepares them Mitbols and grilled chicken, they asked where caterer, why not bring Catering? '.



And what answer that?



"I said that family and now we Family".



The encounter between Israeliness and American women does not only take place behind the scenes.

The plot of the series itself brings together Segev Azoulay (Raz in a role quite different from that of Doron Kabilio), a tour guide for tourists in the Middle East, with the great power in the world.

It will soon be revealed to him as a place that will be very difficult for him.

"I remember when I came to New York for the first time in my life, at the age of 22. Everything then closed on me, everything seemed terribly tough, terribly inconsistent, disrespectful and unacceptable," Raz describes his experience. "Our guy is the Israeli who comes from a sunny place, from the seat, suddenly he enters New York with all the buildings and he feels like a fish out of water."

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"Even if I play an action hero, something about him at the base will be rotten."

Gal Toren, "Hit and Run" (Photo: JoJo Wilden / Netflix)

Just at this moment when the character of the heartbroken and vengeful Segev arrives in New York to meet his old friend Ron (Toren), he discovers that things are going to be very different from what he thought. Ever since landing at JFK Airport, so Segev calls Ron and expects him to come pick him up, he realizes that the person he knew is at a completely different point in life. This is also exactly the opportunity to ask Gal Toren about his "hit and run" experience, unlike Merz and Rosenblatt he is at home in Israel, but he also conducts himself according to all the rules of the Netflix ceremony and joins Zoom.



"The filming of the series started in New York, so for me my whole role was there and it was a purely American experience," he describes the time on the set. Mind-blowing, as you imagine and hear in stories, is a crazy experience. "



I understood from Lior that the conduct there is completely different from what we know here.

It is impossible to "make a neighborhood", everyone does the job assigned to them.

As an actor is this a challenging experience?



"Look, I'll try to describe it this way: it's like having someone learn to walk with lameness, but that's the way he goes and it can lead him to a lot of accomplishments he would not otherwise have achieved. I think those are the differences between this huge industry - the American, and Our industry here in the country.This idea that there is no time and no money and there is a lot of noise and chaos but in the end things work out and things happen in the process - in the end it breeds crazy TV moments that could not exist in another situation.But work this way? "So many resources are devoted to this moment when you are filmed playing the scene and it will be perfect, it is something you get used to very quickly."

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"Hit and Run" Trailer

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Trailer for the series "Hit and Run" (Netflix)

Anyone like Toren knows the Israeli television industry, since his breakthrough with the role of Ram in the cult series "Make Me a Child" ("To this day some people think it's an autobiographical series"), he has managed to participate in comedies ("My Successful Sisters"), crime dramas ("City of Refuge"), thrillers ("Lose Alice" which also airs on Apple TV Plus), docu-reality ("Trip After Army" with Pablo Rosenberg) and most recently in "The Massacre" to which he was photographed after "Hit and Run" but aired before it.



"Spontaneous is something I do for a long time in Israel, that's how I breathe," he recounts the experience. Terribly fast. Then I went back and did The Cook, which is like a series that was deliberately used for lack of accomplishments that I think are very impressive.I do not think that American analism sucks as much as I fly over to make television in Israel. "



Toren plays Ron, an old friend of Segev's with a military past in New York who is in hiding, a fugitive from himself ("a dysfunctional guy who hides behind some very bad decisions," as he describes it). After starting his on-screen journey as a rock star, continuing as a satanic partner and becoming a drug and sex addicted cook, it seems that Gal Toren's new phase may be in action series of the "hit and run" type.



Do you feel a natural development in the characters you play? On the one hand, you have a very rich resume with a very large variety of roles, on the other hand, they all have something a bit screwed up and flawed.



"This is exactly where it excites me, the edges. Characters who have the irony and the sorrow and the fear and the danger and the confusion and the anger, all the things we less want to be in ourselves, are very attractive and intriguing to me. In terms of professional development, ultimately my pleasure as an actor is to experience as much as possible Because I strive for a quiet and peaceful life, I do not wish for myself the troubles of the characters I play, for me to go inside a character's soul and be in it for a while, it is a very big source of inspiration, also for my other career (as a musician - II).

So even if I play an action hero, something at his base will be rotten. "

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"Suddenly everyone had to go back to their countries."

Raz, "Hit and Run" (Photo: JoJo Wilden / Netflix)

Cultural disparities were not the only challenge facing the hit-and-run production. At the height of filming in Israel, in which hundreds of production people from Israel and abroad took part, the corona plague broke out, forcing Netflix to recalculate a route.



"Everyone had to go back to their countries," Raz recalled. Very big help from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Culture and the Tel Aviv Municipality. After that we set up a real Corona unit on the set, all the actors and everyone who was on the set had to be checked three times a week to make sure it did not have a corona. In my opinion, we are the only ones who did not even have a stick on the set, even though there were hundreds of extras. " Another thing that Raz notes favorably is the financial backing that Netflix provided to the Israeli production people, whose work was abruptly stopped due to the plague and received from the streaming giant full payment for all the lost work days.



Moran Rosenblatt, who plays Tali here, a rough police detective with a family affinity for Segev's character, was also surprised by Netflix's strict adherence to corona procedures. "After the eruption of the corona, we went back to filming in Israel for another month. It was crazy," she describes the filming period. We and I were very careful, I realized how bad I would feel if I caused photography days for so many people to be canceled. "



If the corona tests and the atmosphere of social distance were not threatening enough, Rosenblatt says that in the first days of the production she experienced a kind of shock.

"I was filming in Israel so the experience was warm and family, but at least the beginning was really over-welcoming for me," she says. That were during the filming days in Ichilov and the realization that whoever is directing me is the director of 'The Story of a Slave' "- she takes a breath -" so for a moment it was really hard to digest but we reset ourselves and started working ".

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"I did not understand it, why not talk to me?".

Moran Rosenblatt, "Hit and Run" (Photo: Corina Keren / Netflix)

יש דברים שהתפקיד הזה לימד אותך על עצמך?

"כבר חוויתי בעבר הפקה בינלאומית אבל לא בסדר גודל הזה. זאת אומרת, אם בארץ אנחנו משנים פה ושם טקסטים, אז כאן בכל מילה שמשנים צריך להעביר מיילים. אם יש משהו שאני חושבת שאני לא מבינה בסצנה, אז צריך לפנות לפני ולא להגיע ביום הצילום עצמו ולבקש. זה קודים אחרים לגמרי. בהתחלה הפתיע אותי שהם לא נותנים פידבק אחרי טייקים, לא הבנתי את זה, למה לא מדברים איתי? אמרתי לבמאי שאני צריכה את זה, את הפידבק. אבל אצלם זה אחרת, אם הטייק היה טוב אז פשוט ממשיכים הלאה, לא צריך לחפור".

הראיונות נערכו לפני הסערה שחולל הבמאי נדב לפיד עם הזכייה בקאן של סרטו "הברך" והביקורת שהשמיע על המדיניות של ישראל, ובוודאי שהרבה לפני פרשת "בן אנד ג'ריס" והחרם שהטילו על מכירת מוצריהם מחוץ לקו הירוק - אך כמו כל מוצר ישראלי שפונה לקהל בחו"ל, השאלות הפוליטיות עולות גם כאן. "אנחנו לא באים לעשות פרופגנדה, אנחנו באים לספר סיפור", מתייחס רז לנושא, "אבל בצד השני, אנחנו גם ישראלים ואנחנו אוהבים את ישראל, זאת המדינה שלנו איך שלא תהפוך את זה".

אז מה תגיד למי שיטענו שהסדרה מחמיאה מדי או ביקורתית מדי?

"אנחנו מראים את החיים שלנו כמו שאנחנו חווים את ישראל, אני חווה את תל אביב כמקום הכי יפה בעולם, אני חווה את קיסריה כמקום יפהפה, אני רוצה שכל העולם יראה את זה. אני רוצה שכל העולם ידע שישראל היא לא רק מקום של מלחמות ושל אינתיפאדות. אני מכיר ומדבר עם אנשים מהעולם הערבי, 'פאודה' הייתה מקום ראשון בלבנון, מקום שני באיחוד האמירויות, אני חושב שבזכותה ההתייחסות לישראל השתנתה".

ב"פגע וברח" הצבא הרבה יותר ברקע של הדמויות ולא במרכז. זה מכוון?

"הקהל רואה כאן ישראלי שהוא גם בן אדם, הוא לא רק הקלגס שדורך על לא יודע מה, זה חלק מהדבר. אנחנו לא שגרירים, אף אחד לא משלם לנו ואנחנו לא מנסים לרצות אף אחד, אני בטוח שחלק מהישראלים לא יאהבו ואחרים כן יאהבו, בדיוק כמו 'פאודה'. זה חלק מהאמנות, זה דרמה. אני רק יודע שמי שרואה את ישראל בסדרה הזאת מתלהב מאוד מאיך שהיא נראית".

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Source: walla

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