Last week, Ivanir began rehearsals in London for the comedy "Johnny English Reborn." The film is a sequel of a 2003 British comic film, which stars Atkinson as an incompetent spy.
Ivanir has received one of the supporting roles, as a Russian businessman who worked as a KGB spy and who Johnny English is trying to obtain information from.
How did you encounter this production?
"My agents in England summoned me to meetings with casting directors in London, and one of the casting directors asked me to audition. She gave me the 'Johnny English' script and asked me to read it out, and 20 minutes later I was already recording the audition."
Ivanir, 45, views his role in this film as coming full circle. "In 1986 I traveled to London and went to see a stand-up show. I landed on an Atkinson gig and didn't even know who he was. He was really funny. To this very day I still imitate Indians from that same stand-up show. I'm excited about working with him. He's a sort of myth to me."
Winning Audience Prize at Locarno Film Festival
After the filming is completed, Ivanir will travel to Alaska to shoot his next movie, "Everybody Loves Whales" – a comedy starting Drew Barrymore, Kristen Bell and John Krasinski ("The Office"). He will play the role of a Russian sailor working on an icebreaker, who falls in love with a young woman starring in a video clip of the Whitesnake rock band.
"In the audition I sang Whitesnake songs," he says. "I'm so happy to work with Drew because she's very charming."
Despite his active Hollywood career, Ivanir remains loyal to the Israeli industry and will soon be seen in a leading role in Eran Riklis' new film, "The Human Resources Manager."
Ivanir, who has received a nomination for an Israeli Film Academy Prize for his role in the film, plays a human resources manager in a Jerusalem bakery, "who takes a physical and mental tour of Jerusalem and eastern Europe in the footsteps of a foreign woman who worked in the bakery and was killed in a terror attack."
Ivanir recently attended the film's screening at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland, where it won the Audience Award. "The film was screened in a square filled with 8,000 people. Ten minutes before it ended it began raining, yet most people stayed till the end."
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