On a sunny February day we met with Guy Kapulnik in the charming Rose café in Venice, California. The handsome actor appears as a policeman in Harrison Ford’s latest movie, in The Call of the Wild, and he also shared some backstage experiences of this brand new Disney movie.
You were born in Israel. What was your journey to become an American actor?
I studied theatre in Israel in Nissan Nativ Acting Studio and I also had an amazing teacher Moshe Kalif who actually was Hungarian! He had the same accent that you have! Unfortunately he already passed away. He taught a developed form of the Stanislavsky method. I had a passion to play on stage – I still do… but I finished some theatre and film work in Israel and in 2014 moved to New York.
It’s always a question for a foreign language actor ’How can I act in English?’. What are your thoughts about acting in a different language?
Right after the theatre school I started working in English as well. For example there was a play, called ’Are you here?’ and we performed it at the Amsterdam International Festival. Later there was another play, called ’Silence Not-A Love Story’ and I realized that I really can work in English, I can act, I am comfortable expressing my emotions in a different language.
I think the movie Room 514 brought you a lot of success. The film had a nice career on many international festivals, collecting awards from Begium (Gent) to Tokio and also won the Special Mention Award on the famous Tribeca Film Festival. It pretty much means to become on the radar in the US film business…
Exactly. At Tribeca Film Festival I met directors and artists from all over the world and yes I also met Hollywood stars, like Robert the Niro and Susan Sarandon. And suddenly I’m meeting with agents and managers and things are going very fast there. I realized that I got a bit known in America and it made sense to try myself here. I fell in love with New York. New York has amazing energy and so many passionate people are there. And walking on Broadway… just feeling the theatres…
You have a very interesting web-series project…Tell me a bit about it.
It’s called Mama Knows… There is a gorilla on the streets, stopping people, couples and giving random relationship advice. The gorilla is basically a traditional Jewish aunt. And I do have an aunt in Brooklyn and she sounds just like that – as the gorilla in the web series… The inspiration actually came to me when I lived in New York. I was with a friend, who was recently divorced and we were walking on the streets of New Jersey and talking about the challenges of dating. She was having lots of issues. So I started giving her tips. And somehow this voice came out… And I started to play with that Jewish aunt, giving her advice on how to find the love of her life, how to find a good man. And she got very annoyed with that. I kept doing it and after a while I kind of lost that friendship… but I fell in love with this character, with this voice, with the Jewish (gorilla) aunt…
How could you describe this ’ Jewish gorilla aunt’?
She is very old school, very traditional and she gives these traditional dating advice for women. And of course she reflects how I feel about dating and relationships. And I try to give tips for women through her, because I love women and I want them all to find their true love. That’s why it’s a gorilla, because it has no sex and you couldn’t really decide if its a male or a female. More neutral.
What type of advice would Mama give my friend, who is a struggling single mom and is fed up with the current dating behaviours?
’Keep moving on, don’t stop! You deserve the right man. Find a man who is reliable, who picks the kids every day from the kindergarden, pays the mortgage on time and empties the trashcan… this is the guy you are looking for!-’ This is Mama’s traditional idea of an ideal man.
You have a ’more serious’ role in the newest Disney-drama The Call of the Wild which just came out a few days ago. What were your experiences shooting it?
It was my first Disney film experience and it’s different creating drama for kids. Also I was surprised that on the red carpet premiere, there were many young fans attending, who came to support.. Harrison Ford and Karen Gillan are the lead actors of the movie and as a child I was a huge fan of Harrison Ford. I went very far with it and I also had the Indiana Jones hat… So it’s a great honor for me to be in a movie with Harrison Ford. I played my scene with Cara Gee and Omar Sy. My character is a policeman, Chief Mountie – so in my role I am the ’law’ in Alaska.
Did you shoot in Alaska?
No, actually we were shooting in California, an hour and half hour from here. We had some very hot shooting days and we were wearing some furs and we were sweating. It was challenging to act as if it were cold!
So the snow wasn’t real at all…?
Well, some was real, some was fake. They also used snow machines.
What is your next project?
It’s going to be an indie movie, called Juniper. We will start filming in April. It’s going to be a thriller. I am looking forward to it – it’s gonna be very bloody! (laugh)