10 things you should know about rising star Shani Atias
The actress is juggling half a dozen projects, but found time to sit down for our revealing interview.
You may not know Shani Atias yet, but you soon will. The actress appears in key roles in several TV series this winter, and has a lot going on in her off-screen life as well. We recently sat down with her in Los Angeles to chat about her upbringing, why she likes to play against type and who her ultimate dream co-stars would be.
Her series 'Ten Days in the Valley' is returning to ABC
Atias plays Amira, aide to the LAPD commander in the Kyra Sedgwick drama about a woman whose daughter is kidnapped. “She’s driven, competitive, very determined, she’ll do anything it takes for the job. She doesn’t take no for an answer,” she said of her role. The series returns Dec. 16 with two back-to-back episodes.
She has Israeli roots
Born in Haifa, where her parents still live, she visits Israel often. “I miss Tel Aviv, walking and going to cafes there,” she told From The Grapevine. “I miss the air of Israel, and the Israeli mentality. It’s so direct. There’s no sugar coating. I love that.”
She has a big upcoming scene with an Oscar winner
In the new Starz thriller “Counterpart,” premiering Jan. 22, Atias appears with star J.K. Simmons in the role of an Israeli woman named Yael. Simmons plays a UN employee who discovers he’s living in a parallel universe, and Yael is an Intelligence analyst who explains his new position to him. “I’m the only one who’s nice and helpful to him,” she said. “I walk him through.”
She owes a lot to Gal Gadot
Her sister acts, too
Her older sister is Moran Atias – known for the TV series “Crash,” “Tyrant,” “24: Legacy” and next, “The Resident,” premiering on Fox Jan. 21. They haven’t acted together yet, “But we would love that,” said Shani. “We’re actually writing some projects together. She’s 10 years older so she started acting before me. She was an inspiration. I knew that I wanted to act when I was 9.”
One role hit very close to home
She has guest-starred on “Shameless,” “NCIS” and “CSI: Cyber," but it was a role on “NCIS: New Orleans,” playing a woman who lost her parents, that affected her most personally. “Towards the end of the shoot my father had a heart attack and bypass surgery, and my heart and soul was in it but I also wanted to get back to Israel to see him. It was very emotional,” explained Atias, who happily reports that her father recovered.
She likes playing the bad girl
Atias is in production on the epic “Elijah,” in which she plays the wicked queen Jezebel. “Other than a teen show in Israel, it’s my first villain,” she revealed. “It’s really fun. I took inspiration for the role from Maleficent and Lady Macbeth. We shot part of the movie on green screen and we’ll shoot the outdoors part later on.”
Another project mirrors her life
She has a lead role in “Golden State,” a comedy pilot about Israelis coming to California to follow their dreams of making it in America.
She's engaged to Tom Shalom, and their wedding will be in Israel in June. “I found my great guy,” Atias says. He’s not in show business, “Thank God!” she exclaims. “No need for two actors in one household.”
Her career wish list aims high
"I’d love to work with Meryl Streep and Al Pacino. I always thought I was more drawn to drama and true stories but I realize I’m also good at comedy. It would be a great challenge to do comedy or a true story about a known figure,” she told us. “If we wanted to be ourselves, we wouldn’t be actors.”
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