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Ukraine’s Alina Smolyar works alongside star studded cast in highly-anticipated new film

Photo By Elena Kot

Acting was Alina Smolyar’s first love. When she was just a child, growing up in Odessa, Ukraine, she began performing. She memorized every line of her favorite films and television shows, even entire novels. When she first stood on a stage, she knew exactly what she was meant to do for the rest of her life.

“Acting was my passion at the age of three and still is. I had so many things to tell people, to share with. As an artistic person I craved to share with people what I had inside me. It’s still in me,” she said.

Known for her work in such films as Molehill and The Beginning, as well as television shows like Emulated Flux and Chernobyl 2. Exclusion Zone, Smolyar has impressed international audiences. Her work has led to several award nominations and wins for her productions at the world’s most prestigious film festivals, and she has no plans on slowing down.

Smolyar is excited to once again grace the big screen in the upcoming feature film 1st Born. Starring Val Kilmer, Denise Richards, William Baldwin, and many more Hollywood A-listers. The comedy follows a newlywed couple, Iran-born Ben and his American wife, Kate, who are living in California. When there's a complication with Kate's first pregnancy, both Ben's and Kate's families must come together, a rather complicated notion as Ben's father, Hamid, is an anti-American Iranian politician, while Kate's father, Biden (played by Kilmer), is an American politician who takes a hardline stance against Iran.

“The story is a very common in our daily life. When two different cultures end up together and decide to create a family, there are so many funny and awkward moments that are just happening because of the different mentalities, different languages, different values, etc. I love the script,” said Smolyar.

In the film, Smolyar plays Hannah, a kind, lovely Jewish girl who is happy where she is in her life right now. She’s getting ready for her wedding, which proves to be quite difficult as she has to deal with her many relatives and guests. In addition to all of this, her fiancé, played by Doug Haley, is scared to get married. With the many obstacles, Smolyar’s role provides many laughs in the film.

“I would say Hannah is that missing ingredient. Without her this story may not be that tasty. Through her we can see responsiveness of the different characters. She reminds us of how we look from a different perspective at the important moments of our lives. Her character shows us what is really important and what is minor, and she reminds us to live today, to enjoy the moment,” said Smolyar.

When the producers were considering the ideal actress to play Hannah, they knew they needed someone capable of delivering a comedic performance without overdoing it. One of the producers immediately thought of Smolyar and asked her to come on board. Her work ethic, personality, and tremendous reputation are known amongst the industry.

The comedy genre, for Smolyar, is always an extremely pleasurable and fun experience to be involved in. Her instincts were trusted by the Director, Ali Atshani, who consistently encouraged the actress to improvise. In one scene in particular, Hannah needs to calm her fiancé Joshua. She ends up chasing him down cobbled streets in very high heels. During the scene, she began singing “Hava Nagila”, a Jewish folk song traditionally sung at Jewish celebrations. This was unscripted but made it into the film as it brought many additional and unexpected laughs from the cast and crew.

“It’s always fun to work on a comedy. I love the script and this project with A-list actors involved, who wouldn’t want to work on that? The entire experience was amazing,” Smolyar concluded.

Needless to say, Smolyar will keep audiences laughing in this upcoming flick. Be sure to check 1st Born out at a theatre near you.

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