'Imposters' bad girl Inbar Lavi reveals what it's like playing a con artist
'Everyone can relate to being a little conniving,' she says.
You may recognize Inbar Lavi.
The Israeli-born actress has played key supporting, regular, recurring and guest roles in films and TV shows like “For the Love of Money,” “Gang Related,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “The Last Witch Hunter,” “Underemployed" and “The Last Ship.” But her starring role in Bravo’s “Imposters” puts her front and center as a seductive con artist who charms her unwitting lovers, marries them and disappears with their money. In the series, premiering Feb. 7, three of her duped victims join forces to find her and get revenge, while working a few scams of their own.
“I love how creative she is and how much fun she’s having,” Lavi tells From The Grapevine about her character Maddie, aka (so far) Ava, Alice, CeCe and Saffron. “She’s funny and quick and focused and always 10 steps ahead of whoever is across from her.”
But playing a chameleon-like woman with different personalities and the disguises to go with them has been a challenge, even for an actress accustomed to inhabiting different characters. “It was challenging most of all in the physical aspect because there were so many wig and makeup changes that turned out to be quite draining,” explains Lavi, who researched the role by talking to real con artists.
“The main thing I noticed was how incredibly intelligent they are. It’s all about the attention to detail. They’re always 10 steps ahead of everyone else. It was something that was really exciting for me to think about every day on set,” she says.
While she’s particularly proud of “Imposters” and her role as Winsome in the final season of “Sons of Anarchy,” Lavi is thrilled to be part of the reboot of “Prison Break,” which will debut April 4 on Fox. “The show is such a phenomenon and so many people are looking forward to it,” says Lavi, who plays a Yemenite woman named Sheeba who helps the heroes in their efforts to help the main character escape from a notorious prison.
Lavi, who is of Polish ancestry on her father’s side and Moroccan heritage on her mother’s, has always wanted to be a performer. “I did ballet growing up. I was a dancer. I’ve always wanted to act, do film,” she says, naming fellow Israeli actresses Natalie Portman and Ayelet Zurer as inspirations. At 17, after graduating high school, she left Israel for New York and moved further west eight months later when she received a scholarship to the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in Los Angeles.
Of late, her career has prevented her from going home to Israel as much as she’d like. “I’ve been so busy promoting the show,” she explains. “But I can’t wait to go. I miss everybody so much. I miss my family. I miss the ocean. I miss the breeze. I miss the life. I miss it all.”
With “Imposters” occupying her focus, she’s not thinking about future projects or goals. “It’s my everything right now and it’s hard for me to think past it,” Lavi says. “It’s like my ‘baby’ and I want to take care of it and feed it and nurture it so that we have another season.”
She believes audiences will appreciate the series’ insights into relationships and its lighthearted tone. “We’re being very brave and fearless with how honest we are about men and women and relationships and how messed up they are,” she tells us. “Everyone can relate to being a little conniving and being deceived. And it’s also fun and funny and sexy – all of that.”
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