Exclusive Interview: Michael Aloni’s Juggling Act
Shalom Life chats with the host of "The Voice Israel" about his many projects.
It’s safe to say Michael Aloni is a jack of all trades. The young talent started off as a science student and then switched gears completely to star in one of Israel’s most popular kids shows, Hashminia. He followed up his stint on TV with multiple roles on stage and on the big screen.
In addition to his work as an actor, Aloni has also taken on hosting duties for the Israeli version of the megahit The Voice. Shalom Life chats with the Israeli star about the hit reality competition show and his many upcoming projects in this exclusive interview.
What got you interested in acting?
I know it's a cliche but in a way it is true and I think I can say that I didnt choose acting but acting chose me. Acting always drew my attention, although it remained a hobby for me as a science student (math, physics etc.). When I was released from the army, my intention was to save some money and, as many Israelis do, go on a long trip to India, come back and enroll at one of the universities. During that time a casting director ran into me and asked me to come and audition with her for a TV series she was working on. I thought, “Why not, well that's going to be a far more interesting and easy way to make the money I needed then to just wait on tables.”
One thing led to anther and I found myself in one of the biggest hits on TV for children, Hashminia -- three seasons in Israel is a lot. It made me realize that this is what I wanted to do the whole time but just kept hiding it in the dark. I decided that if I really wanted to do this thing I needed to go and study this. I stopped everything and went to the most prestigious acting school in Israel, led by Nissan Nativ -- he’s like our Lee Strasburg. The visionary and innovative way that he taught his students, with the great help of his unique staff, made me not only the actor but the man that I am today.
What are some of the things that you look for when you get a script?
When I choose a project there are three objectives that I look for. One is the script, the second is the director and the third is the fellow actors. If I have two out of those three I’ll usually go for it.
Your latest film, Out in the Dark, got a lot of buzz at Cannes. Why do you think audiences have connected with the movie?
Out in the Dark did not have its world premiere yet so I can’t talk about it too much. I can only say that this strong and sweeping love story won't leave a dry eye in the audience. Michael Mayer the director managed to draw in very thin lines and in a very realistic and intimate way the impossible relationship of its heroes.
If you could work with any actor or director in the world, who would you pick and why?
I would really like to find myself on the set with Ryan Gosling, an actor of such great talent and skill who’s able to change completely with each roll. And I think in away, he represent this new generation of young actors in Hollywood.
And if behind the camera I'd ever hear the two voices of Joel and Ethan Coen yelling “Cut,” I’d be happy as a hippo. I think the Coen brothers films always find the very thin line between laughing and crying with very clean and detailed shots they manage to turn esthetics into genius.
You’ve been acting for many years. Did that experience help you as a host for The Voice Israel?
Because I’m used to big stages as a theatre actor, it made me feel very much at home during the live shows with The Voice. But being a host is a completely different experience. In Israel, the life of an actor for better and for worse forces you to be involved with so many different projects -- and all so different and all at the same time. I call it juggling. So it stretches you and your abilities to change. I think as an actor, one of the most important things is to listen, but really listen to your partner. And I think as a host you find out how helpful that can be with your relationships with the artists and the mentors on stage .
What do you think is the main difference between the Israeli version of the show and the American one?
The main difference I think... are the Israelis. The attitude, the upcoming approach is at times informal with no restrictions -- but that’s what makes the show all so moving and surprising like anything can happen.
Which artists from the show would you recommend our readers check out?
I think the winner and your home girl from Canada, Kathleen Reiter, would be worth checking out. Also her deputy Raz Shmueli and the amazing Sivan Talmor.
What’s next for you?
I just finished a new film called A place in Heaven by Yossi Madmoni with Alon Abutbul. I’m going to start a new film based on the novel by Yeshayhu Korn, the next season of The Voice and a new play based on the film The Last Metro by Francois Truffaut. As I said, juggling.