Amit Rahav Interview: ‘Unorthodox’
“It’s a cool story,” Amit Rahav says about how he was cast for his breakout part in the “Unorthodox” miniseries on Netflix. “I was so stressed in school that I said maybe we should skip it because I don’t have a lot of time to practice and learn Yiddish for a five-page scene,” the actor reveals about his audition in his exclusive interview with Gold Derby (watch the video above). Rahav found it “so relieving to know that” the actress who had been cast as his on-screen wife was Shira Haas, a friend of 10 years. She helped Rahav prepare for his audition and he recalls, “We did our lines together in Yiddish and it felt suddenly very special because we ended the scene and we were shocked: ‘Did we just communicate in Yiddish for the first time in our lives’?” Rahav laughs, “We did not know that a month later, we’d have to learn 80 pages in Yiddish, but we were so happy to learn those five pages.”
Rahav plays Yanky Shapiro, an ultra-Orthodox Jew in Brooklyn adapting to an arranged marriage in the four-part drama. Despite antagonizing the main character played by Haas, Rahav notes that the growth and layers of his role have yielded a positive response from audiences. “Yanky can easily be the bad guy and the suffocating husband who doesn’t allow his wife to grow in her own way,” he admits about the archetypal potential of his role. Rahav explains that as Yanky travels to Berlin in pursuit of his estranged wife, “He understands that life is not based on one truth and he suddenly finds himself and he becomes very vulnerable — and the vulnerability got people to understand his triggers and why did he react and behave like he did.”
“It’s a funny thing because I don’t get recognized often,” Rahav reveals about how the success of “Unorthodox” has manifested for him as the male lead, but with Yanky donning such a specific hairstyle that Rahav does not share. Recounting a recent interaction with a fan of the show who could not place him in it, even after being told that Rahav was an actor from the show, he says, “I get this quite a lot and I must say that it is nice; I enjoy it.” Since “Unorthodox,” Rahav has returned to acting school in Tel Aviv and will next be checking out the new Wikipedia article that is dedicated to him and which he learned about during this webcam interview.