'The Boys' co-star is the Kevin Bacon of Israeli actors
Thanks to hit shows on Netflix and Amazon, the 34-year-old Tomer Capon is having a moment.
Tomer Capon is the epitome of a frequent flyer.
This morning, he's in Toronto, filming the second season of "The Boys," a dark comedy about superheroes that just debuted on Amazon Prime. Before that, he was filming in Kiev, Sri Lanka, the U.S. and Colombia. "I'm based everywhere," he says. "I'm a citizen of the world." When he has downtime – which is rare these days – he's back home in Tel Aviv. I told him I was calling from West Virginia and, without missing a beat, he starts singing a line from "Country Roads," John Denver's famous Appalachian anthem.
His busy, globe-trotting schedule reveals a larger narrative: Tomer Capon might just be the hardest-working Israeli actor in show business. It would seem he's in every modern-day Israeli TV series. And the ones he's not in? Well, he's likely worked with actors from those shows. Asked about a comparison to Kevin Bacon, the American star with the famously long resume, Capon wryly responds: "I'm not in everything. I'm just in the good ones."
Good is an understatement. He's in the popular Netflix series "Fauda," "Hostages" and "When Heroes Fly" – the latter of which won the top prize for best show at the CanneSeries festival. He worked with fellow Israeli Natalie Portman on her directorial debut, "A Tale of Love and Darkness." He was apparently up for the lead role in "Shtisel," the most famous Israeli export in recent years and now also a bonafide hit on Netflix. Instead, it went to his friend Michael Aloni. "I'm glad he got it," Capon says. "He's a great actor." Not surprisingly, the two now star together in a show.
It's quite possible there's an alternative universe where none of this success actually happened. There is a world where Tomer Capon is not calling me from the Canadian set of an action-packed superhero show, but rather bailing hay and shoveling manure. Because less than a decade ago, being an actor was not even on Capon's radar. He was traveling the world – hopscotching through Nepal, India and Australia – and whenever he was back in Israel, he'd find work at various farms throughout the country. "From a young age, animals fascinated me. I thought I was going to be a farmer." In his early 20s, riding horses was his true passion. He told his friends he wanted to be a cowboy.
One of those friends suggested Capon join him at an acting class, just for fun. "I was very shy being on farms all day with horses and animals. I said, alright, this can maybe help me with my social skills." So he started attending classes once a week. "The first time I went on stage, something really big happened to me and I felt safe and at home. It felt a lot like riding a horse. When you know your horse and your horse knows you, something magical happens. You don't need to do a lot. It's just the most spiritual, freeing experience I can imagine."
Within three months, Capon got his first audition and has been working nonstop ever since. He never even finished drama school. "Acting was a beautiful accident," Capon reveals. Looking back now, through the lens of age and hindsight, he notices sparks earlier in life. Like the time he appeared in a school play just so he could get close to a girl he had a crush on. "I just followed her and I wanted to be around her, so I said, 'Why not?' That was one of my biggest, beautiful childhood experiences."
While Capon's acting chops are now well-known in his native Israel, his fame here in America was aided by the likes of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. They all broadcast many Israeli series with English subtitles. "It's a beautiful thing what streaming TV did, which is open the possibilities to crowds from all over the world to watch stories from different parts of our planet," Capon tells me. "I always love to see a National Geographic or Discovery documentary about animals on the other side of the world. We're not that different. When something's good, it's good and we want to learn about it."
With Amazon's "The Boys," Capon is making his official American television debut. The most difficult aspect for U.S. audiences might be trying to figure out how to spell his name in English. Wikipedia has him listed as "Tomer Kapon," but the 34-year-old says it's actually Capone. "It's supposed to be with an 'e' at the end, but we don't want people to read it 'Capone' like the gangster. We don't want any misunderstandings."
The series, based on a comic book of the same name, made a splash at Comic-Con earlier this summer. "It was my first time doing American press. It was so crazy," Capon says. "I never thought it would be that big." He looks up to actors like Joaquin Phoenix and Christian Bale, who lose themselves in each role they play. "I'm just trying to learn something new to put in my toolbox."
After filming wraps up in Toronto, Capon says he's eyeing a handful of other scripts, but hasn't nailed down his next role just yet. Besides, he points out, anything can happen. He says that in 10 years, we may be talking about a movie he directed or a script he wrote. "Maybe you will cover my art gallery expo. I don't know." He does admit that he sees the three F's in his future: Family, friends and farming.
"I just feel blessed to experience all this. I'm working really hard to enjoy the moment. It's been a roller coaster."
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