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Episode 132: The Working Actor Series with Mark Ivanir

business tips Jun 23, 2021

About Mark:

Mark Ivanir has been working as a professional film and television actor in Los Angeles since 2001. His first major film role was in Steven Spielberg’s 1993 Oscar-winning epic SCHINDLER’S LIST. He rejoined with Spielberg twice, first for a cameo appearance in Terminal, then again for his much anticipated Tintin. A pivotal role in Robert Deniro’s 2006 film, The Good Shepherd, landed Mark a role in Barry Levinson’s What Just Happened, this time acting alongside Deniro. Currently, Ivanir awaits the release of four studio features: Johny English Reborn (starring Rowan Atkinson), Everybody Loves Whales (staring Drew Barrymore, Kristen Bell, John Krassinsky), A Late Quartet (co starring Philip Seymor Hoffman, Catherine Keener and Christopher Walken) and 360 (co starring Anthony Hopkins, Jude Law, Rachel Weitz and Ben Foster). He has booked over 35 Guest Star and Guest Lead roles on television shows such as: 24, Monk, CSI NY, Law and Order, Fringe, CSI Miami, Nikita and many others.

Ivanir’s road to Hollywood was circuitous at best. Born in the communist Ukraine (former USSR), he immigrated to Israel with his family in 1972. While serving in the Israeli Army he participated in the then clandestine mission to bring Ethiopian Jews to Israel. His military experience and expertise has been tapped for various roles including De Niro’s CIA thriller THE GOOD SHEPHERD.

After completing his stint in the Military, Ivanir turned down several job offers from Israel’s Secret Service and gave up studying medicine to pursue a higher vocation—clowning. He completed two years in a Circus school, traveled throughout Europe performing on the streets, and ended up working in a Parisian Circus – Cirque Pawelles. After leaving the circus, Mark entered into formal theatrical training, studying at Israel’s top acting school Nissan Nativ, later co-founding a theatre company made up of actors from the former USSR called Gesher Theatre.

Within two years, Gesher became Israel’s top theatrical outfit and was hailed by the London Times as “one of the six best theatre companies in the world.” Tapping his command of Russian, English, and Hebrew, Mark performed many different roles, translated and adapted eight plays for the company, and performed everywhere from Lincoln Center to the National Theatre in London as well as major stages in Paris, Rome, and Berlin.

After being cast by Spielberg in SCHINDLER’S LIST, Ivanir moved to London to study with Philippe Gaulier and the actors of the Theater De Complicite. During this stint, he landed roles in THE MAN WHO CRIED (with Johnny Depp) and SECRET AFFAIR which encouraged him to relocate to Hollywood. Ever since Ivanir has been working consistently in major studio film and television projects in eclectic roles spanning from a Russian spy to an Israeli producer to a German elephant trainer.

Mark's advice to an actor who’s struggling:

  • Diversification
  • Think outside the box
  • Use your own special skills
  • Knowing your lines really well even for an audition