Lior Ashkenazi: "I admire David Bowie. The thing he had the biggest success with, let's say Ziggy Stardust, and then he changed to something else." Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze
In 2017, Lior Ashkenazi starred with Richard Gere in Joseph Cedar's Norman: The Moderate Rise And Tragic Fall Of A New York Fixer and opposite Sarah Adler as the parents of an Israeli soldier (Yonaton Shiray) in Samuel Maoz's Venice International Film Festival Silver Lion winner and Oscar Foreign Language shortlisted film Foxtrot.
Coming up for Lior is his portrayal of Yitzhak Rabin in José Padilha's 7 Days In Entebbe, starring Rosamund Pike (Cédric Jimenez's The Man With The Iron Heart, based on Laurent Binet's novel HHhH) and Daniel Brühl, and Julie Delpy's My Zoe with Gemma Arterton, Richard Armitage, and Brühl. In Dragos Buliga's The Wanderers: The Quest Of The Demon Hunter, with Armand Assante, Lior plays a New York journalist.
Lior Ashkenazi is in 7 Days In Entebbe starring Rosamund Pike Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze
AKT: In Norman you spoke English and now there are two more international films coming up in 2018, 7 Days In Entebbe and My Zoe directed by Julie Delpy.
LA: In her film I am playing a friend. She [Delpy's character] is divorced. It takes place in London. It's kind of without any nationalities. Julie wrote the script. In the script she says there's no nationality to these guys.
AKT: In 7 Days In Entebbe, do you have any scenes with Rosamund Pike? She was the one who brought up the film to me.
LA: Oh really? She is awesome. I saw a couple of scenes. We didn't meet. We have no scenes together. Most of her shooting was in Malta where they built a set of Entebbe and all the plane things and the kidnapping. I'm the Israeli Prime Minister and this part takes place in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
AKT: She mentioned it to me because she is playing a German there and a German in the film The Man With The Iron Heart [directed by Cédric Jimenez] based on Laurent Binet's novel HHhH. She plays Reinhard Heydrich's wife Lina in that one - a real monster. Daniel Brühl is in two of your upcoming films, no?
LA: Yeah, it's funny. I also didn't meet him. Just once in a makeup trailer crossing paths, saying hi. I was also doing a horror movie which was filmed in Romania, Transylvania.
AKT: Where the vampires come from!
LA: It's kind of a vampire movie. Not the concept of vampires, but … It's called The Wanderers [directed by Dragos Buliga].
AKT: And who are you?
LA: I'm a New York journalist! Again without nationality because it's with Armand Assante. He is like a vampire slayer and this journalist is looking after him because I'm suspecting he is also a vampire, although he is a slayer. So we were shooting for like six weeks in Transylvania and it was fun.
AKT: That is quite a range. Do you enjoy switching so drastically from role to role?
Julie Delpy directs Lior Ashkenazi in My Zoe Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze
LA: Absolutely. I admire David Bowie. He was always changing, always looking for something else. The thing he had the biggest success with, let's say Ziggy Stardust, and then he changed to something else. And his fans were like - what are you doing? I like to jump from comedy to drama. Now I'm actually trying to challenge myself. I have like 22 years of a career.
In theatre, I found myself doing a lot of French comedies and dramas. I quit theater for now. I'm just directing theatre. I'm taking a break acting on stage. I'm like five minutes from my Fifties. I'm trying to find my way. I don't know which way, yet.
AKT: You are doing a lot of international work.
LA: Because I stopped doing theatre, the international thing … 15 years ago, I did Late Marriage, which was a very successful movie here and worldwide. And then I made Walk On Water, which was also a movie made in English, German-Israeli co-production, but in English. Those two roles were very different from each other. In a way, there was a small window with the international career. But I didn't go there.
AKT: Sometimes it is also luck and chance.
LA: You know, I was doing my round in LA with all these casting directors and agents and whatever. I was really the hot potato. Clive Owen look, very masculine. I don't know. Call it instinct, call it ex-wife issues, call it whatever - there's a lot of parameters. And now it's open again. I'm not working on my international career. If it comes, it comes. I'm totally relaxed and grown-up to embrace it.
7 Days In Entebbe opens in the UK on March 9 and the US on March 16.
My Zoe will be in cinemas in 2018. The Wanderers: The Quest Of The Demon Hunter premiered at the Transilvania International Film Festival.