Ran Levy is an actor who appears in Mysteries at the Castle; here is a link to his website:
Q: What made you interested in acting?
A: I was always infatuated with the medium. Being able to express yourself artistically, creating and being involved with projects that mean something and perhaps even elevating a single person, if even for a few moments, is a huge contribution to the world in my humble opinion. The opportunity to use the sensitive sides of yourself in the work. I have a B.A. in psychology and in my past have also worked in the filed and i feel both derive from the same source and essence: In psychology you use yourself to feel the person in front of you. In acting you use yourself to make the person in front of you feel. I also love the lifestyle of constantly moving from project to project and meeting new people all the time. I guess after working several years at a desk job you appreciate such dynamic environment.
Q: To what method if acting do you ascribe?
A: In July I completed the two year conservatory program at the Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute, and Strasberg is of course synonyms with “The Method”. Personally, I believe in the Strasberg way of acting, where you use your own private experiences to create life in the words. That said, I do not believe there is “one ring to rule them all”. You take what you take and what works for you and you make it your own. Different strokes for different folks. Every technic is useful in its own way for tackling on blockage.
Q: What is Mysteries at the Castle about?
A: Mysteries at the Castle is a series that takes you behind the gates of the world’s most impressive castles, manor houses and mansions are secrets waiting to be revealed. Each episodes follows and reveals some incredible stories that are contained within them.
Q: What role do you play?
A: I play Adolf Holfricheter an officer who was involved in a scandal in the beginning of the 1900 century which involved selling hoaxed enhancement pills (What we nowadays refer to as Viagra…). However the pills were in fact poisonous and deadly.
Q: What kind of day job do you have and how do you use it in your acting?
A: At the moment I’m actually lucky enough to be making a living off acting. I mostly work on Commercials. However from time to time I still need to chew up my savings from my days working at a law firm.
Q: You volunteered on a suicide hotline, how do you use the conversations that you had when developing characters?
A: Volunteering at a suicide call center…you get to speak with a lot of people. On average, 8 every shift. And you’re speaking with them at their most vulnerable hour. Since the interaction is made over the phone, plus the fact that i’m a stranger they will never interact with in their day to day lives, they are more open. There is a higher likelihood that a person will show himself as truly who he is with no masks.
It’s interesting how people react in times of despair. Oftentimes it isn’t dramatic or hysterical. It helps me to better understand people who are struggling on a daily basis. Whenever I read similar situations in the scripts I receive, I have a deeper empathy and understanding of how people react in these situations and hopefully have the opportunity to portray the character or scenarios with a better sense of truthfulness. You also ad a lot of characters to your arsenal I must say… (specially neurotic ones…)
The hard part of being a volunteer is that… there is no happy ending. On a “good” day, you help the caller get through that day or a bad moment. But you don’t cure them and make their life better. More bearable yes. But not better.
Q: You grew up in Israel and served in the army there. What do most people not understand about Israel?
A: I guess that Israel is very advanced culturally and technologically. Yes you can get an iPhone and satellite television in Israel and No i did not ride a camel to school.
Q: Who are some of your acting influences?
A: Every great piece of work I’ve seen is scratched on my soul and keeps inspiring me, and hopefully it is reflected in my own work. To name a few: John Hawkes, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kevin Kline, Margo Martindale, Michelle Williams, Paul Rudd, Gabby Hoffman,, Denis O’Hare, and the list goes on and on. All great craftsmen which you can learn a lot from.
Q: What is your strangest New York story?
A: Not the strangest, but I once ate actual canned dog food during a play I performed in… Prop designer accidentally misplaced the real dog food cans with the mock ones. I should’ve suspected when I saw my costar avoid eating the food, and yes it tasted awful (with compression to previous nights). But I kept on devouring it since that was what the scene called for… only later did I realize what I was eating so vigorously. Needless to say I felt horrible all night, couldn’t sleep and had that awful taste in my mouth. Thinking about it now I still get nauseous.
Q: If you could play any famous film role, which one would it be and why?
A: LOU REED. And of course as an avid Star Wars fan I would love to be in one of the many planned spin-offs.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects: