Lior Raz, a deep soul in between the lines

In Lior Raz’s acting there is all the shamelessness of the great performers, filmed in their incarnation, without filter. And we are quite convinced that they give to the roles they play, in between the lines, a part of themselves they would not reveal in their deepest intimacy. « To be a good actor you have to bring the character to yourself and not to put yourself into the character » confided Lior, during our interview and we can understand next that it could be tough to be around him during the shooting, because « Doron » – his character in Fauda – will stick to him when he comes back home with family. On the other hand, in Fauda series there is that relentless feeling, those unmeasured friendships : whoever you are, you are with me, or you are not. The writing is sharp, the whole thing has been thought with his co-author friend and journalist Avi Issacharoff, rethought and digested. With human beings who – like the hero Doron Kavillio -, look each other straight in the eyes through their souls, assume their responsibilities in their flesh… The fact that Lior writes the serie in complicity with Avi certainly had something to do with it, because we can imagine that filming as a « family », under the benevolent and confident gaze encourages excellence. To confirm that, Fauda series had actually brought to light other deep personalities during the two previous seasons. Number one, Laëtitia Eïdo whose intelligence and delicacy had stunned us with her palestinian doctor character in love with Doron, and also Shadi Mar’i with Walid Al Abed character interpretation. Every episod sounds special for that, as each character is unique, created with consideration, as one would put one’s hands under child’ feet to prevent him from hurting, so he can propel himself into life, safe and free from his anxieties. Also, for the dark side of the fiction, which maintains a high level of violence in season 3, Fauda’s writing is once again up to his ambitions. No secular journey with the characters of Mista’arvim’s elite unity, who speak little. Balanced filmed scenes of paradoxical injunctions, lurks at the bottom of this inextricable quagmire, without really designating a culprit or a winner. However, the spectator participates in point-blank range interventions. Doron – Lior’s character – is  therefore a part of this brigade composed of human beings who are perfectly men, or perfectly women. The series succeeds, quite a challenge, in portraying the situational battle between israeli and palestinians, inherent to the geopolitical conflict, treated as such and which goes beyond its cinematographic stakes. Best proof, according to our well-informed sources, is that Fauda would make – above divides – some real life actors of the conflict, quite « addicted »…

We had the huge privilege to discuss Fauda’ serie art of writing with Lior Raz, a few days ago. Here is the transcript of a simple and serene exclusive conversation, with an accessible star who masters his subject on his fingertips.

LCV Magazine : We’ve heard that there were two years of writing before Fauda started ? Why this first step was so important for you ?

Lior Raz : First of all this idea was mine and my cocreator Avi Issachoroff when we started to write this topic about an undercover unit, the mental prize they are paying for their actions and the other side, the palestinians as well. This was the first time we ever wrote anything, we didnt have experience of writing. Avi is a journalist and I am an actor so, it took us a long time cause we had to try again and again to make it clear, like a show with a begining, twists and good characters. For me as an actor, it was very important that all characters, even the bad guys will have a real life, that you can relate to them and feel compassion for them. We tried to bring the story of those people from both sides. We tried to give them a real life and to understand why they are doing what they are doing. Every character was precious for us. That’s why the writing took us so long cause we wanted to make it perfect.

LCV Magazine : Is there any psychological process in putting a lot of your respective stories – cause you were both (Avi and you) intervening in these kind of units before – in the show ?

Lior Raz : It is a pschycological process but you see it’s a TV show and a drama so you have to invent a lot of stuff. In my real life, I never had a romance with a palestinian doctor, in real life soldiers can not take someone and blow him, we tried to get as real as we can, we put a lot of stories of our real lifes into the script and we invent a lot of stuff. You have to make it interesting and dreeping with rythm and taste, but many things that you see in the screen come from our experiences in life. This way, it’s kind of a healing process you’re right, in order to understand what you had to go through when you were young.

LCV Magazine : You said in different sources that Boaz one character of the unit – whose girlfriend is assasinated in the script – was inspired from your personal life ? Do you feel better after this process of writing ?

Lior Raz : You’re talking about my girlfriend who died in a terror attack. I didn’t talk about her for 20 years until I’ve met Avi and then we started to write the show. It’s like you open a room, you dig in and you clean a lot of the dirt you have there for a long time. It makes you feel better in a way because you talk about those things all the time and that’s something you have to deal with and not just put on the side…

Credit Photo : Elia Spinopolos

LCV Magazine : Did the writing process obliged you to put some distance between you and what happened to your girlfriend at that time ?  (editor’s note : helicopter sound in the background)

Lior Raz : I don’t think so cause I have to think about it again in a very emotional way. So you have to live it again so it is some kind of drama therapy. You have to live what you don’t want to remember actually, but this is kind of therapy we have in this process of writing.

LCV Magazine : What did Avi bring to the writing as a journalist ?

Lior Raz : Avi is a journalist who deals with the conflicts between palestinian and israel, he’s specialised in the other side. He is in connection with terrorists, palestinians authorities, Hamas leaders, so he knows everything about the palestinian side. Avi and I, even if I’m not a journalist, we are trying to make things as real as we can and the truth is in the details so Avi became our specialist on the palestinian side. But on the other hand we both learnt how to write a story during the process of a show, cause it is different of writing an article. When you write an article you don’t invent the story and you aren’t a part of the story so it’s a different situation from journalism. He did it well so that’s why we are working together all the time and that’s why we have another TV show we are developping and actually producing, and movies. We became a very good couple of writing, and everybody is briging one side, experience in life, me as an actor an emotionnal side, and he brings the way of telling stories. As a journalist you have your sources, you bring to the table, and Avi is always doing great researchs on different projects, this is the tools he’s bringing from journalism.

LCV Magazine : In Fauda we’ve noticed a high level of incarnation, people looking straight in their eyes, touching, like everyday people. What was your point as writers ?

Lior Raz : We wrote the characters with Avi to be real, they could be like your neighbour.  Doron can be your neighbour in a way, he is not a movie star or a TV star, he is like he is and if you understand this character you see that our hero is loosing all the time, he never wins… This is real people and for me as an actor, I’m trying to bring this character to myself as much as I can. Cause I think that to be a good actor you have to bring the character to yourself and not to put yourself into the character. You have to bring the character in your shoes and see how you would react in the situation and how we all react in the situation that Doron is in. So I’ve tried to put myself into the situation which is actually bad for the people who are surounding me for the time of the shooting cause I’ve really became Doron. It is not easy to be around me. Also the relations between Doron and the people in his team, it’s a real friendship and that’s the same in real life cause we are like brothers now. With the team of Fauda we are going out together, with family, going to the beach, we are good friends and that’s what we are trying to bring to the screen.

LCV Magazine : What is very rare in this kind of shows is that you leave us the choice to be for or against the hero. Is that something you’ve wrote with Avi, or naturally came with Doron character’s sympathy ?

Lior Raz : We don’t think that life is one dimension, it is not black and white, everything is grey. I don’t believe in black and white, so you can choose who you relate to, and I think that’s the magic of the story cause I meet palestinian or people from arab countries who are telling me that’s the first time they feel compassion for the israeli side. And from the other side with the white wings of israel and politics, who are telling me that’s the first time they feel compassion for the palestinian side. So israeli people falling in love with the terrorist characters and arab people from all over the world are falling in love with Doron. That’s beautiful and I don’t know if we can bring peace through the show, but we can try to bring some dialog and people to understand the other side in a way that with the conflict we are living in, we are not going nowhere. And we have to live with the people we think they are our ennemies but in real life they are our best buddies.

LCV Magazine : As a conclusion, after this powerful statement about how a show can push people to move forward in an peaceful and understanding way, what are your next projects ?

Lior Raz : We have a new show for Netflix called « Hit and run », we already shot most of it in New-York and a little bit in Israel. It is a great action thriller about a maried man whom life got upside down when his wife is killed during a hit and run accident. He’s trying to know why they killed her. I can’t tell much about it… (smiles) We are working together with Avi, and writing another movie and we have another serie coming, so we have a lot of projects now ! Before I was shooting two differents movies for MGM called Operation finale from Chris Weitz with Ben Kingsley in Argentina, and I shot another movie by Michael Bay with Ryan Reynolds, and Mélanie Laurent called « Six underground », we were in Abudabi and Italy. I’m open to work everywhere. We are writing season 4 of Fauda right now.

LCV Magazine : Must be tough to get used to that success so fast ?

Lior Raz : Listen I’m older and wiser now so it’s not like my success came when I was in my 25, wich could be confusing. So I know what is real and what is important in life. It’s not easy to take flights all the time and go with family all over the world, but I’m living my dream I’m happy, it’s huge joy for us and working in something you really like to do and explore is great. I’ve worked hard to get here so its very satisfaying.

Vous pouvez regarder la série Fauda dans son intégralité sur la plateforme Netflix, cela depuis le 4 juin dernier.
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About Karine Dessale

Fondatrice de LCV Magazine en 2009, la journaliste Karine Dessale a toujours souhaité qu'il soit un "média papier en ligne", et la nuance veut tout dire. A savoir, un concept revendiqué de pages à manipuler comme nous le ferions avec un journal traditionnel, puis que nous laisserions traîner sur la table du salon, avant de nous y replonger un peu plus tard... Le meilleur compliment s'agissant de LCV ? Le laisser ouvert sur le bureau de son Mac ou de son PC, avec la B-O en fond sonore, qui s'écoule tranquillement...
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