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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Israel sends another gorgeous Bar to Hollywood

Bar Paly

In her breakthrough role, Bar Paly plays the femme fatale in ‘Pain and Gain,’ which also stars Mark Wahlberg.

Dizengoff Square in the heart of Tel Aviv received a heaping dose of Hollywood glam when a wide red carpet was put down and posters featuring the sweating muscles of Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson were displayed as part of the Israeli premiere of “Pain and Gain.”
The cameras and flashes were all turned on a beautiful blonde – tan, tall and very thin – wearing a clingy dress in deep beige and a satisfied smile. Bar Paly, the Israeli model-turned-actress, with her back to a huge photo featuring her likeness, was there for the recent premiere of “Pain and Gain,” which opens in Israeli cinemas on Thursday, and in which she plays the female lead, Paly’s first significant role on the big screen.
“Pain and Gain” is the latest movie by Michael Bay, the producer and director behind mega box office hits such as “Transformers,” “Armageddon” and “Bad Boys,” and one of the most powerful people in Hollywood. The dark comedy, being distributed here by the Globus Group and coming out this week on Blue Ray in the United States, is based on a real-life story about steroid-crazed bodybuilders in Miami who, in the 1990s, kidnapped a Jewish businessman in order to seize control of his assets. In this frenetic, violent film, Paly plays the femme fatale Sorina Luminita, an East European stripper recruited by the gang that’s determined to pursue the American dream in a particularly unpleasant way.
Eight years ago, Paly left Tel Aviv to try to break into the movies in Hollywood. After a long waiting period, she is now having her big breakthrough. This past year has been especially eventful: Besides playing the female lead in “Pain and Gain,” she filmed two other movies, “Non-Stop” and “Million Dollar Arm,” playing alongside actors such as John Hamm, Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore. She continues to represent Oliver Peoples luxury eyeglasses together with actor Ray Liotta, and has also become well-known in men’s magazines, which include her on their lists of the world’s most beautiful women.
She joins the company of other Israeli women who have in recent years done well in Hollywood, such as Ayelet Zurer (“Angels and Demons,” “Man of Steel”), Gal Gadot (“Fast and Furious”) and Moran Atias (“Third Person”), who all seem to have alluring good looks and feminine strength in common.
“I think the attraction to Israeli women stems from the fact that we’re exotic and the fact that there are many talented and beautiful women in Israel,” says Paly, in Hebrew, on the phone, which she answers in a high-pitched, somewhat childlike voice, and an accent combining an Israeli foundation layered with Russian inflections and some American grace notes. “I think that there is also greater awareness of Israel than before in the movie industry.”
She is speaking from her parents’ place in Tel Aviv, where she grew up as an only child. “My parents have always given me whatever I wanted,” she exclaims. “Took me to the ballet, the opera, museum exhibitions. I was always surrounded by art. It’s their fault I’ve become an actress.”
Bar was born Barbara in Russia, and moved to Israel with her parents when she was seven. When asked where she was born, she’ll only say that she comes from the Ural Mountains – a 2,500-kilometer-long mountain range – and burnishes her aura of exotic mystery a little more.
In the roles Paly has played to date she has succeeded in creating comic characters that combine her obvious beauty with an appealing sort of clumsiness. She says she has never tried to project any sort of identifying image or brand. “I just like doing comedies, and think that my timing and love for the genre set me apart from other young women who look like me. The actresses I most admire are Cameron Diaz and Sofia Vergara. They’re amazing comedic actresses and also gorgeous. That’s the direction I’d like my career to go in.”