From Fauda to Hit & Run: Israeli actor and producer Lior Raz stars in a new Netflix action thriller set in Tel Aviv and the U.S. Segev Azulai’s life is turned upside down when his wife is killed in a mysterious hit and run accident in Tel Aviv. Grief-stricken and confused, he
searches for his wife’s killers, who have fled to the U.S. With the help of an ex-lover, Segev
uncovers disturbing truths about his beloved wife and the secrets she kept from him.
Who is Israeli superstar Lior Raz? How did he become an undercover agent in real life? Where was the action thriller shot? Who’s in the cast? Discover 27 Facts About Netflix Thriller Hit & Run, which will premier internationally on 6 August 2021.
27 FACTS ABOUT NETFLIX THRILLER HIT & RUN
Tour guide Segev Azulai (co-creator and star Lior Raz) lives a contented life in Tel Aviv with his teenage daughter Ella (Neta Orbach) and his new American wife Danielle (Kaelen Ohm). When Danielle is killed in a mysterious hit and run on the day she was set to return to New York for an audition, he suspects it may not have been an accident.
Grief-stricken and confused, Segev searches for his wife’s killers, who have fled to the United States. With the help of his Israeli police detective cousin (Moran Rosenblatt), an old Israeli friend who lives in New York (Gal Toren), and an American ex-lover (Sanaa Lathan) who is a savvy investigative reporter in NYC, Segev uncovers disturbing truths about his wife who was not who she seemed.
Hit & Run was co-created by Lior Raz and Avi Issacharoff and Dawn Prestwich and Nicole Yorkin. Lior and Avi are the creators of Fauda, the most successful Israeli TV series of all times. Hit & Run is their second show together after Fauda.
Lior and Raz were both born and raised in Jerusalem, and they knew each other as teenagers. They served in the same army unit, undercover in the special forces. A few years ago they met and started to write scripts together. “We have been friends for decades, we know each other so well that it makes the process easier for us,” says Lior.
Lior Raz, who plays the leading role in Hit & Run, is a 49-year old Israeli actor and screen writer. He’s best known for his role as Doron Kavillio in Fauda, a thriller series about the struggle between Israeli undercover soldiers and Palestinian militants. Doron is the commander of an undercover counter-terrorism Mista’arvim unit.
Fauda (seasons 1, 2 and 3) streams on Netflix in 190 countries. Recently, it has even been dubbed in Farsi for a Persian-speaking audience. Lior Raz is not only the leading actor of Fauda, but also the co-creator. The New York Times selected Fauda as the best international show of 2017.
Born to immigrants from Iraq and Algeria, Lior Raz was raised in Jerusalem. He served as special ops in an IDF anti-terrorist unit. After his military service, he moved to the U.S. and served as a bodyguard to Arnold Schwarzenegger and other VIPs. Lior Raz has 185’000 followers on Instagram.
In Hit & Run, Lior plays Segev Azulai, a tour guide who picks up tourists, mainly US citizens, with his off-road vehicle and shows them Tel Aviv and other parts of Israel. Danielle was one of those tourists who booked a sightseeing trip, even though she was already living in Tel Aviv at the time.
Sergev often mentions his time in Mexico, but it isn’t until episode 3 that he reveals what he did there: he trained Mexican soldiers to fight against the drug cartels.
Kaelen Ohm plays Segev’s wife Danielle. The Canadian actress, musician and filmmaker grew up in a small town in the mountains of British Columbia. She graduated from the CBC Actors Conservatory in 2017 and had minor roles in a few films. Kaelen has 4200 followers on Instagram.
“We had such great chemistry,” said Lior Raz about Kaelen. “Everyone fell in love with her, her tenderness and her creativity. She was so kind, and it was so fun to work with her. She came to Israel and in a way she felt immediately like an Israeli. She lived in Florentine in the south of Tel Aviv, and she was really dancing with Batsheva, Israel’s biggest dance company.”
Gal was cast for Hit & Run because the film crew was looking for a “Big Lebowski” type character, if possible a chubby guy. Gal got the part, even though he had to put on weight for the thriller. Lior remembers the funny conversation: “We told him, “Listen, you have to go and eat like a pig in order to gain a few pounds so you’ll be a little bit more chubby.” Gal was so pissed about it, that after all the dieting he did and he looked so great and had muscles. But we needed a chubby guy. So at the end, he’s not a chubby guy, but he is a Big Lebowski kind of style.”
Gal Toren plays Ron Harel, an old friend of Sergev who lives in Queens, NY. He was one of the Israeli soldiers who trained the Mexican soldiers to fight against the drug cartels. In episode 2, Sergev shows a picture of him and three Israeli soldiers in Mexico.
Most dialogues of Hit & Run are in Hebrew. There are more dialogues in English when Segev investigates in New York.
“Working on this TV show was a cultural and maybe even anthropological experience,” says co-creator Avi Issacharoff . “You all speak English, but you do not necessarily speak the same language. At the beginning, it wasn’t easy with the gap.”
US actress Sanaa Lathan (49) plays Naomi Hicks, Segev’s ex-lover who works as an investigative journalist in NYC. She’s Jewish and often wears a silver necklace with the Star of David. Naomi and Segev met many years ago in Colombia.
Raz describes Sanaa as a very professional actress. He says: “She’s the perfect partner for an actor like me. It was sometimes very hard because I had to learn a lot of English. It’s not my mother tongue, and I had to learn it by heart.”
Sanaa was born in New York City. Her name means art in Swahili. She holds a master’s degree in drama from Yale University. She played in numerous series and films and her performances earned her many award nominations. She starred alongside Denzel Washington (Out of Time), Wesley Snipes, Simon Baker (Something New), Queen Latifah (Brown Sugar), Matthew Broderick (Wonderful World) and many more. Sanaa Lathan has 4.9 million followers on Instagram.
Asked about why Naomi decides to investigate and help Sergev, Sanaa says: “I think she’s at a place in her life where she’s feeling frustrated with work, she’s feeling stagnation in all areas of her life, wanting the accolades after so many years of keeping her nose to the ground and working so hard. And he comes in and it’s like she’s alive again. It’s not just him, it’s the story.”
As a native New Yorker, Sanaa thinks that New York’s portrayal in the ’70s visual style in Hit & Run is amazing. “I was blown away by the production value, how top-notch it was and how there were days we literally had our own block in Times Square. The way they shot New York, they did this beautiful, ‘70s visual style and it made the city just really pop.”
Hit & Run is set in Tel Aviv and New York. “We wanted to make Segev feel like a fish out of water, and in New York, it’s easy because it’s one of the hardest places in the world,” explains co-creator Avi Issacharoff. “We wanted to show the other side of New York, not the flashy Manhattan, but everywhere that immigrants are living. Most of them don’t live in Manhattan in fancy places. We wanted to show Israel, the place where Segev feels a sense of comfort and familiarity, in a lighter, warmer way and New York in a grittier, darker way since it is more foreign to him. We wanted to show the differences from Segev’s point of view.”
When Lior and Avi wrote the script, they didn’t plan to write the role of Segev for Lior. “We thought it was going to be a different Israeli actor. I was supposed to shoot another TV show and then Netflix called us and said they wanted me to be the lead. It was very flattering for me.”
Moran Rosenblatt plays Tali Shapira. She’s a hard nosed police detective who uses her
position to help her cousin, Segev, solve the mystery of his wife’s death.
Moran is a 36-year old Israeli actress who graduated in drama (2009) and script writing (2016). Her paternal grandparents immigrated to Israel from Russia and Poland and her mother’s family came from Iran. Her leading role in the love and social drama Hatuna MeNiyar (“Wedding Doll”, 2015) won her the Ophir Award. Moran also had a minor role in Fauda. She has 12’000 followers on Instagram.
Needless to say that there’s much more to discover than 27 Facts About Netflix Thriller Hit & Run. Watch the thriller on Netflix, it’s really worth it. VERTIGO’s rating: 8 out of 10 points.
The action thriller Hit & Run is like a crescendo – suspenseful and entertaining . Unfortunately, the end isn’t very convincing nor realistic.
The shots in a ’70s thriller style are great. British film director Mike Barker (The Handmaid’s Tale, Versailles, Fargo), the director of photography Zoe White and the production designer Michael Bricker did a great job. At Panavision, they even pulled out camera lenses
that hadn’t been used since the ‘70s for Zoe to use. Everything was shot with extremely long
lenses and with extreme angles. They tried to make New York look different.
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Photos: Courtesy of Corinna Kern / Netflix © 2021; Jojo Whilden / Netflix © 2021;