FAULT Feature: Broken City actress Alona Tal

The trouble with dreams is that for most people they are just that; dreams. Very few of us ever get to have their dream become their reality. Actress Alona Tal is one of those few.

Starring along side Hollywood A-listers Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta Jones and Mark Wahlberg in the new political thriller Broken City, Alona is far from the young girl she once was growing up in Israel dreaming of becoming a house cleaner.

After working in the Israeli film and TV industry throughout her adolescents, and during a stint in the Israeli Defence Force, Alona had a new dream, one that would take her to Hollywood…

FAULT: What was it about your character in Broken City that made you want to play her?
Alona: Because she is a woman trying to get by in a male driven environment. I can relate to that what with being in the military, coming to America, and working in the entertainment industry. And of course being in the company I was in. They’re people who represent what I’m after as an actress coming into this business. Being in a list of cast members that include those names was definitely a factor.

You were born in Israel, and we hear so many different stories, but can you tell me what it was really like for you growing up and living there?
I had a wonderful childhood coming from Israel. It’s like, where are you from?

So people have preconceived notions about what it’s like being in Scotland. ‘oh it rains, people drinking all the time,’ whatever – and sometimes it’s true, but not all of the time. Nobody walks around all the time with a helmet on their head like they’re going into battle, but there is definitely an air of awareness, which is different than in other places. When you’re in Hawaii resting on the beach you’re not going to be aware of the sort of things that you will when you’re in Israel. That’s really all it is. It’s a really incredible country that is just in an area that’s a little sensitive, but it has beautiful beaches, amazing food, and it is very progressive.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
When I was about six I wanted to clean houses. I remember getting very angry with my mum when she wouldn’t give me the broom to sweep. But I don’t know what happened to that dream. I had always liked performing for my family, and it all just came about when I got a job on a movie in Israel. I don’t remember the moment when I decided that that’s what I wanted to do, It wasn’t a conscious decision to pursue anything with my life, but I knew that I was going to be an actress.

What prompted your move to America?
Every business has a Mecca, and for acting and creating it’s Los Angeles. I knew that very early on. I’d watched the movies and I saw the potential and opportunities, and even though I had a beautiful life in Israel and the work, I wanted to capitalise on those opportunities. So with the support of my sister, who encouraged me, I moved to Hollywood.

What was the dream back then? You would go to America and what would happen?

When I made the decision to come, I was apprehensive because I was going to be so far from home and my family and my friends, but my mother told me, ‘go for 4 years, and if nothing happens, come back.’ I was willing to work at anything. I was praying for the Gods – or whatever you want to call it – to give me a sign that I was making the right move, and then when I got to Los Angeles I got it – so I realised that it was the right path.

What was the sign?
I got a development deal with Warner Bros within the first week that I was in the casting line.

So now you have had that first dream realized, what is the dream now?
To keep working. To have fun. To keep making quality movies.

Are you living the American dream?
I don’t know if I’m living the American dream. I think that concept has changed in the past few years. I can only interpret that as a foreigner, and for me, the American dream is the opportunity to live with your personal concept of what you want for yourself to achieve. So I think if that is the definition, then I am well on my way to fulfilling the American dream… which is my dream… my own personal little dream.

All photography by Collin Stark