Israeli thriller on Abducted Israeli hostages of ISIS becomes 4th-most watched series on Netflix
"The Girl From Oslo" is the first collaboration between Netflix and Israeli cable television company Hot. It tells the story of two Israelis and their Norwegian friend abducted by the Islamic State.
Actor Firas Nassar, 28, has appeared in films such as "Dancing Arabs," "Foxtrot," and "In Between," as well as in series like "Sirens," but is best known for playing the main villain El-Makdessi in the second series of "Fauda."
Follow Israel Hayom on Facebook and Twitter
Now the actor, a native of Nazareth, has secured a role in the American series "Invasion," which recently started streaming on AppleTV+ and is in rehearsals for the play "Onigin. Commentaries," which is slated to go up at the end of December at Gesher Theater.
"Invasion," which was renewed for a second season last week, is a sci-fi drama in which the planet is invaded by aliens who threaten to annihilate humanity. The story is told from the viewpoint of five different characters, each of which is trying to survive the chaos.
Nassar plays Ahmed Malik. The alien invasion catches Malik and his wife Anisha (played by Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani) as their marriage is in crisis. Anisha has discovered that Malik is cheating on her and plans to leave her, but the unexpected circumstances change any plans the couples and their children had, and they are forced to flee their home on Long Island.
For Nassar, this is his first foot in the door of an American TV series.
"We started filming in New York a few months before COVID, and in the middle of the seventh episode everything stopped," he says. "I moved there, and it messed up my plans. I wanted to be in Israel during COVID, it's the best place to be in circumstances like these."
Nassar says that "Invasion" was one of the first series to resume filming after the US lockdown.
"On the set, they were very careful about all the COVID restrictions. It actually helped with the series' apocalyptic atmosphere. The actors were isolated on the set. We couldn't see each other between scenes, to protect us. The loneliness helped us better understand what was taking place in the series. We identified with the sense of survival and concern for your loved ones," he recalls.
According to Nassar, the main difference between Israel and American productions is the budget. The production costs for "Invasion" are assessed to be especially high, some $200 million.
"When there's more money, conditions are different, but you also need to learn and deal with the different work 'codes' in the US. I feel lucky to be a working actor at this time, because there's more ethnic diversity than ever before – and that's what I like about the series. Every character is from someplace else, and the main protagonists are women. The streaming platforms want to reach audiences all over the world, and there's an enormous difference [between now] and five years ago. Consciousness has changed," he says.
Q: Do they still recognize you from 'Fauda'?
Nassar (laughing): "When I have a beard. I'm still not used to it. Sometimes I walk around wearing headphones and don't understand why people are looking at me."
Q: Tell us about the play at Gesher Theater.
"It's a new version of the rhyming novel 'Eugene Onegin' by Alexander Pushkin, and it opens on Dec. 30 as part of the Gesher Theater's Jaffa Fest festival."