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Tomer Capone: From a Small Israeli Town to International Screen Sensation

In this exclusive interview, Tomer Capone shares his inspiring journey to global stardom, the challenges of transitioning to Hollywood, The Boys, and his passion for storytelling.
Tomer Capone
Tomer CaponePhoto Credit: Simon Elmalem

In the realm of international television and cinema, Tomer Capone has emerged as a compelling and versatile actor. From his gripping performances in Israeli hits like "Fauda" and "When Heroes Fly" to his standout role as 'Frenchie' in Amazon Prime’s acclaimed series "The Boys," Capone has captivated audiences around the globe. His journey from an Israeli soldier to a celebrated actor is as fascinating as it is inspiring. In this exclusive interview, we dive deep into his life, career, and the experiences that have shaped him.

Tomer Capone
Tomer CaponePhoto Credit: Simon Elmalem

The Spark of Passion

Q

Your journey from a small Israeli town to becoming an internationally recognized actor is inspiring. What initially sparked your passion for acting, and how did you hold on to your inspiration through the years and experiences?

A

That's a beautiful question. I can almost see it like a movie trailer in my mind—how it all started and where I am now, speaking to you in English, which wasn't even a dream ten years ago. My journey has been filled with both sweet and bitter moments, and in terms of your question specifically, my passion for acting came from a place of searching for something beyond the ordinary. Growing up in a small town in Israel, I didn't have much exposure to the arts. My environment was mostly sports and traditional learning. But my grandfather, an amazing man, introduced me to American culture through books, music, and films. He took me to see every new movie that came out. I remember watching "Jurassic Park" and "Edward Scissorhands" with him. Those experiences were mind-blowing. It was like exploring a magical world, and it sparked something in me.

However, pursuing a career in acting seemed far-fetched. After high school, I served as a paratrooper in the Israel Defense Forces. The military was a transformative experience that pushed me to my limits and taught me discipline, resilience, and teamwork. It was like living two lives—one filled with structure and intensity and the other with dreams of a different world.

After my service, I worked with animals and traveled through Thailand and India, exploring different cultures and reading a lot. During this time, my love for storytelling grew. I was deeply influenced by Bob Dylan and hip-hop music, which helped me learn English. I met an amazing person who is now my agent and mentor. He heard me humming tunes from Willie Nelson to Bob Dylan and suggested I consider acting. He introduced me to plays by Tennessee Williams and Shakespeare, which was revolutionary for me.

At 25, I decided to take a small acting course in Tel Aviv, even though it felt late to start an acting career. I traveled from northern Israel to Tel Aviv once a week, thinking the worst that could happen was I'd make some new friends. But I became obsessed. I watched every episode of "Inside the Actors Studio" and every classic film by Tarantino, Scorsese, Coppola, and others. I learned monologues while working on the ranch, riding my motorcycle, and rehearsing lines. I got into one of the best acting schools in Israel and decided to pursue this dream wholeheartedly.

It wasn't a smooth ride, but my intensity and passion drove me. I auditioned for the best shows in Israel, like "Hostages" and "When Heroes Fly," which came at a time when Netflix was expanding its international content. Being at the right place at the right time led me to where I am today. And that's how I ended up talking to you.

It's been an incredible journey, filled with challenges and serendipitous moments. Every experience, from the military to my travels, shaped my approach to acting, making me a better human being and a more genuine actor.

Transitioning to International Stardom

Q

Starring in critically acclaimed series like "Fauda" and "When Heroes Fly," you've made a significant impact both in Israel and internationally. What unique challenges have you faced transitioning from Israeli productions to major American series like "The Boys"?

A

Transitioning from Israeli productions to major American series like "The Boys" was both exciting and daunting. There's a significant cultural and industry shift. The scale of production in Hollywood is massive, and the expectations are high.

Initially, 90% of the challenge was dealing with the anxiety of doing a good job and the excitement of being in Hollywood. It's a different world, and I had to manage my own fears. Fear is an interesting energy for an actor. It's important to learn how to dance with it, to embrace it and let it fuel your performance rather than hinder it.

Before "The Boys," I worked on a pilot for NBC with a huge budget, around $50 million. I remember standing there, frightened and excited. When I heard "action," I realized my job starts now, whether it's a $50 million project or a $5 student film. The work remains the same—honest, genuine acting. This realization opened up a lot for me.

The purest, sweetest moments in acting are between "action" and "cut." Everything else is secondary. The big trailers and amenities that come with a large-scale production are fantastic, but at the end of the day, I would have played 'Frenchie' for free because it's about the craft, not the budget.

Regarding "The Boys," the story of how I got the role of Frenchie is quite serendipitous. Eric Kripke, the creator of the show, was struggling to cast Frenchie. One day, he called his mother and mentioned the difficulty. She had just watched "When Heroes Fly" on Netflix and suggested he check out this "very nice boy." That's how he approached me. It's funny because they weren't even thinking about casting a non-French actor. When they visited Israel, Eric shared the story, and I joked that I should sit next to his mom at the premiere.

The transition was challenging but also filled with these serendipitous moments. The fear of whether it would work faded away when I discovered that the real joy is in the craft itself.

Trust your craft, stay with it, and don't let fear take over—dance with it.
Tomer Capone
Tomer CaponePhoto Credit: Simon Elmalem

The Natalie Portman Experience

Q

Having been handpicked by Natalie Portman for your first film, "A Tale of Love and Darkness," must have been a profound experience. Can you share how this opportunity shaped your career and what it was like working with her?

A

Working with Natalie Portman was a turning point in my life. At the time, I was struggling with my career, feeling lost and unsure of my path. I was working construction jobs in Tel Aviv, covered in dust and dirt, with no acting gigs in sight. I had just done a couple of teen TV shows in Israel, which I wasn't passionate about, and I was contemplating quitting acting altogether.

Then, one morning, I got a call from my agent saying that Natalie Portman was in Tel Aviv and wanted to meet me that afternoon. I knew she was working on a film based on Amos Oz's book, so I rushed to buy the book and tried to absorb as much as I could. When we met, she immediately put me at ease. She was so down-to-earth and genuine. We didn't even talk about the book much; we just talked about life. I told her about my struggles, and she shared her own experiences. It felt like a big sister giving advice to her younger brother.

Meeting her was a beacon of hope. She gave me a nod of encouragement that I desperately needed at that time. Two things from that encounter stayed with me: first, the importance of creating a supportive environment on set, something I've tried to carry forward in my career. Second, I hoped with all my heart that she would cast me in her film.

It turned out to be a small part, but the experience was invaluable. During the shoot, she continued to be kind and supportive, offering advice and sharing her insights. It was also the first time I had my own trailer, a small one, but it felt like a huge milestone for me. While on set, I got a call that I had been cast in "Fauda," which was another major turning point. I remember running out of my trailer, howling with joy.

Working with Natalie reinforced my belief in the importance of passion and perseverance. It taught me that even small opportunities can have a significant impact on your career. Seeing someone as accomplished as Natalie being so down-to-earth made me realize that if she could achieve her dreams, so could I. It was a pivotal moment that reignited my passion for acting and gave me the confidence to keep pushing forward.

New Horizons with "Slingshot"

Q

With "Slingshot" set for release soon, what can you tell us about your character and the experience of working alongside Hollywood heavyweights like Laurence Fishburne and Casey Affleck?

A

"Slingshot" is an exciting project, and I can't wait for everyone to see it. The film is a sci-fi thriller about three astronauts on a mission to find water on Mars, but things don't go as planned. I play one of the astronauts, and the character goes through a lot of psychological and emotional turmoil as the story unfolds.

Working with Laurence Fishburne and Casey Affleck was surreal. These are actors I've admired for years, and to share the screen with them was a dream come true. Both Laurence and Casey are incredibly talented and generous. They brought so much depth and professionalism to the set, which created a dynamic and intense environment. We spent long hours filming in a spaceship set, and it often felt like we were in a mental institution in space due to the intense psychological dynamics of our characters.

Laurence Fishburne is a legend, and working with him was like attending a masterclass in acting every day. He has a presence and gravitas that is unmatched, and he was very open and collaborative. Casey Affleck, on the other hand, has this incredible ability to bring subtlety and nuance to his performances. Watching him work was inspiring, and it pushed me to elevate my own acting.

One of the most memorable aspects of filming "Slingshot" was the camaraderie we developed on set. Despite the challenging material, there was a sense of mutual respect and a desire to make the best film possible. It was like being in a rock and roll band, with everyone bringing their unique talents to the table and creating something special together.

Overall, "Slingshot" was an incredible experience, and I am excited for audiences to see the final product. It’s going to be interesting and different from anything I've done before, and I hope it resonates with viewers as much as it did with us while making it.

Tomer Capone
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Tomer Capone
Tomer CaponePhoto Credit: Simon Elmalem

Advice for Aspiring Actors

Q

As an Oscar (Ophir) Award-winner in Israel, what advice would you give to young aspiring actors who dream of making it big both in their home countries and on the international stage?

A

My advice to young aspiring actors is to cherish your dream and keep it close to your heart. It's easy to get disheartened by rejection and the challenges of the industry. Bob Dylan once said, "Fate was looking straight at me, and no one else. At least that's how it felt." This resonates with me deeply. Believe in yourself and your vision, but don’t shout it from the rooftops. Nurture it privately and let it grow.

It's important to stay true to your craft. Trust in your abilities and the work you’ve put in. Fear is an inevitable part of the journey, but it’s crucial to learn how to dance with it rather than let it overpower you. Fear can be a funny energy—it can either hold you back or propel you forward. Embrace it and let it fuel your performances.

Remember, there's nothing more complicated than being simple. Acting is about honesty and connection. Whether you're on a big-budget film set or a small indie project, your job is to deliver a genuine performance. The same principles apply regardless of the scale of the production.

One piece of advice I carry with me comes from reading Bob Dylan’s autobiography. He talked about the fragility of dreams and how they are best nurtured quietly and privately. There’s a purity in keeping your dreams close and not seeking validation from others. This helps you stay focused and true to your path.

So, to all aspiring actors out there: believe in your dreams, keep them close, and let your passion drive you. The journey is filled with ups and downs, but if you stay true to your craft and embrace the challenges, you will find your way.

Remember, there's nothing more complicated than being simple. Acting is about honesty and connection.
Tomer Capone
Tomer CaponePhoto Credit: Simon Elmalem

Looking Ahead

Q

Looking ahead, what are your plans for the future? Are there any new initiatives or projects you are particularly excited about, and is there a dream role or genre you are eager to explore next?

A

The future is full of possibilities, and I'm incredibly excited about several upcoming projects. Currently, I’m shooting a romantic comedy in Hebrew in Israel, which is a refreshing change from my usual roles. This project involves a lot of dancing and singing, something I’ve never done before on screen. Given the dark times we’re living through, I wanted to do something lighthearted that could bring joy to people. It’s my way of giving back and providing a bit of escapism and happiness.

As for dream roles, I’m always open to new challenges and genres. The important thing is to keep evolving and finding new ways to tell stories that resonate with audiences.

Final Thoughts

Q

This has been such a delightful conversation. As we wrap up is there anything you would like to add?

A

Thank you for this opportunity to reflect on and share my journey. I hope my story can inspire others. And to everyone, especially in these challenging times, let’s strive for peace and understanding. Stay hopeful and keep dreaming.

Tomer Capone is remarkable not only for his talent but also for his genuine, heartfelt approach to life and art. His journey is a testament to the power of resilience, passion, and unwavering belief in one's dreams. As he continues to captivate audiences around the world, we eagerly anticipate many more stories that he has yet to tell.

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