This week’s guest on the podcast is a world famous character actor who works all over the world in TV, film and video games from Thailand to South Africa to Berlin to Israel to good ol’ Los Angeles. Mark Ivanir works everywhere in between, too.
Movies! TV! Video Games!
Among Mark’s feature films – Schindler’s List, The Good Shepherd, The Terminal, Undisputed, 7 Days In Entebbe. On TV, he’s been in Babylon Berlin, Barry, Homeland and a kajillion other shows. Same goes for video games. If you’ve ever played Call Of Duty, you’ve fought alongside Mark. Or fought against him.
Mark’s own story is as fascinating as any show he’s been in. He was born in the Soviet Union. Well, in part of the USSR we now call Ukraine. His family migrated to Israel when Mark was seven. Like most Israelis, Mark served in the military. In his case, he served in an intelligence unit of the IDF (the Israeli Defense Force).
Mark’s unit took part in “Operation Moses”, a secret operation wherein the Mossad helped the Black Jews of Ethiopia – the Bet Israel – escape refugee camps in the Sudan for Israel. The Bet Israel’s story could be a TV series unto itself. Ironically, Mark would later end up acting (as the Mossad’s chief) in a movie – The Red Sea Diving Resort – about that very military operation!
Eventually, Mark found his way into the theatre world in Tel Aviv. Steven Spielberg hired Mark after his wife Kate Capshaw saw Mark’s face whizzing by on a video tape.
Robert DeNiro hired Mark for a very tough part in “The Good Shepherd”. We’ve got a piece of Mark’s performance here in the podcast (check out our YouTube channel!). Mark’s work is haunting!
Mark also worked with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christopher Walken and Katherine Keener on The Last Quartet. He tells a great story about taking a cigarette break one day in Toronto with Hoffman and Walken and what happened when a fan rolled up.
On TV, it’s hard to find a show Mark hasn’t done. We’ll talk about his work in Israeli TV (and the golden age it’s enjoying), on Homeland and as twin assassins on HBO’s Barry.
Who’s That Guy?
By the time you get to the end of this episode, you won’t have to wonder anymore “who that guy is” – the familiar one you’ve seen a thousand different times.
You’ll know who he is and his name: Mark Ivanir!