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International Star You Should Know: Tzahi Grad

Versatile Israeli actor triumphed with 'Wolves' and arrives in Cannes in an even darker role

‘BIG’ ROLE: Israeli thesp Tzahi Grad blow-torched his way into audiences’ minds last year in Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado’s “Big Bad Wolves,” a blackly comic thriller. The film was a hit on the global fest circuit, and was distributed in the U.S. by Magnet Releasing. 

BELOW THE LINE: The Jerusalem-born Grad, who has a degree in mathematics and computer science, is also a writer-director (actioner “Giraffes” and crime comedy “Foul Gesture”). He recently turned down several thesping gigs to concentrate on his own projects, including the upcoming feature “The Cousin,” in which a Palestinian man hired to help renovate the home of an Israeli winds up as a suspect in a crime. 

WEB OF PEACE: Grad is also working on an Internet series in which small groups of Israeli and Palestinian civilians come together to discuss their differences and work to overcome them. He believes the initiative will create peaceful change in the region.

TESTIMONIAL: “Grad combines the curiosity of a child and the professionalism of a classical actor,” says Keshales.  “He can play the meanest man alive and the most delicate of souls. This incredible range made us write (“Big Bad Wolves”) especially for him.”

Popular on Variety

SHOOTING RANGE: With 36 credits under his belt, including the upcoming comedy “OMG! I’m a Robot!” and the 2009 Cannes player “Eye Wide Open,” in which he plays a rabbi, the 52-year-old Grad returns to the Croisette in Keren Yedaya’s incest drama “That Lovely Girl,” portraying a father who sexually abuses his adolescent daughter. “Keren approached me with this role, and I felt it would be something different — very deep and dark,” he says. 

 

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