ISRAELI ACTOR Omer Dror playing Mike Brant in Eytan Fox’s upcoming biopic ‘Mike.’.
(photo credit: ZIV BERKOVICH)
Omer Dror, a young Israeli actor, has just gotten the lead role in the movie Mike, directed by Eytan Fox, an Israeli- French co-production that will begin shooting in the first half of 2015.
Mike Brant was an Israeli- born European superstar singer who committed suicide at the age of 28 in Paris in 1975. His breakthrough hit, “L’aisse moi t’aimer,” sold more than 50,000 copies in two weeks, a huge number in France in the Seventies, and Brant was soon performing more than 250 concerts a year all over the world.
Fox, one of Israel’s leading directors, best known for Yossi & Jagger
(2002), Walk on Water
(2004), Yossi (2011) and Cupcakes
(2013), has long wanted to make a biopic about Brant.
He found a producer for the film, Alain Goldman, who has made dozens of movies, among them the Oscar-winning La Vie en Rose
starring Marion Cotillard.
The large-scale, international movie will be set in Israel, France and Switzerland.
There will even be a scene set in Teheran, which was once a center for sophisticated nightlife and was where Brant got his big break. Moshe and Leon Edery of the Israel-based United King Films are co-producing the film, along with Mazzeh Productions, a company Fox recently started with Gal Uchovsky and Ronen Ben-Tal.
Fox had his screenplay, but he needed the right actor to bring Mike Brant back to life.
“Mike Brant was complex, and incredibly gorgeous and charismatic. He was born in Cyprus, while his parents, who were Holocaust survivors, were waiting to come to Israeli.
He grew up poor in Haifa, and he had the classic second-generation story, with this mother who was haunted by Auschwitz. He became this big star, but he couldn’t handle it, there was a black hole in his soul,” Fox says.
After auditioning dozens of actors, when Fox and Goldman found 20-yearold Dror they knew they had the star they were looking for.
“I really believe in Omer,” said Fox. “He has a lot in common with Mike Brant.
Omer is handsome and tall like Mike, and he has that rare star quality. He is modest and genuine...
Although he’s young and inexperienced, he’s hungry and hard working, and I believe he will surprise the world with this film.”
Although you may not have heard of Dror, you’ve certainly seen his face, since he is the model starring in ads for the Castro fashion chain. He has also appeared in several Israeli television series, including Alifim, Galis and The Nerd Club.
“I’m sure he’s going to become one of Israel’s biggest stars,” said Fox.
He should know, since he discovered and nurtured some of Israel’s most established actors, including the two stars of Yossi & Jagger: Yehuda Levi, who has gone on to star in dozens of other movies, among them Avi Nesher’s The Wonders, and Ohad Knoller, who won the Best Actor Award at the Tribeca Film Festival. Ayelet Zurer, who appeared in Fox’s television series Florentine, went on to star opposite Tom Hanks in Angels & Demons, and appeared in the latest Superman film, Man of Steel. Fox was among the first to work with many other actors now prominent in the Israeli film industry, including Alon Levi, Yousef “Joe” Sweid and Karin Ofir.
“This is just the kind of movie we should be doing now,” says Fox. “It’s a story from Israeli history with a tragic ending, but it’s not all dark. There’s glamour and success and drama.
And it’s an international story. Mike didn’t get into the army entertainment troupe. He found his place abroad, and that’s interesting, too.”