Shira Haas of Unorthodox is the New Face of Israeli Cinema
Netflix Movies & TV Culture “I felt mature for my age at times. That’s why I was pulled to acting.” I’m not saying this to brag, but it’s true.
Shira Haas has had a career-defining performance in a number of projects in recent years, including her Emmy-nominated role in Unorthodox and the international blockbuster series Shtisel (both available on Netflix). The worst part is that she’s only 25 years old. “I felt mature for my age at times. That’s why I was pulled to acting, and I’m not saying this to brag. I was able to reveal aspects of myself that I couldn’t necessarily show in my daily life.” Now, in the film Asia, she’s demonstrating even more versatility. Vika (Haas) is a teen who is confronting her own mortality due to illness while also attempting to connect with her mother, Asia (Alena Yiv), before it’s too late. “I’m happy to finally talk about Asia since it’s one of, if not the most, emotionally charged projects for me.” The relationship paid off: the film won nine Ophir Awards, Israel’s Oscars, including one for Haas in the category of Best Supporting Actress. But, in the end, it’s because of one thing: soul that Haas’ characters have made such an impact. “It doesn’t matter whether the character is different from you if it has soul.”
What brought you to Asia?
I recall getting the movie’s description and getting this feeling, this jolt. This one was especially meaningful for me. It felt like fate. And I had this chemistry test with Alena. I was blown away by how much we look alike. There was this feeling like it was meant to be the two of us together. I’m very excited to finally talk about this project, because it’s really one of the projects—if not the most—that I felt very emotionally connected to.
With Asia and other new voices coming in Israeli cinema, are more stories being told from groups not historically represented?
There is a lot more. What I’ve found amazing in Asia is that, of course, it’s Israeli. There’s no question that. This is a brief summary.