“I want my father to be proud of his child”

The bet was more than risky. Like Amir, smiling singer happily making us shake our hips The party, would he be able to move us by sending us in Selected the fate of Alfred Nakache, deported top athlete with his wife and child, nicknamed “the swimmer of Auschwitz”? For his first role on the stage was Lital’s husband and candidate of Our unknown lands is inhabited like a seasoned actor by this unsung hero with tragic fate. Like him, he plunged into the water and won his challenge hands down. Before attending Can’t wait for Sunday by Michel Drucker, which will be broadcast on France 2 on April 24th, we met the artist.

Amir: “I didn’t expect this shock wave…”

tele leisure : Alfred Nakache came into your life in a very special way…

Amir: Yes, in 2016 I shot the music video for I was looking for at the Paris swimming pool that bears his name. It challenged me. I did some research and I didn’t expect to get this shock wave when I discovered this man’s history, life and character traits.

Who was Alfred Nakache?

A man with more than just a Hollywood career, with moments of extreme happiness and drama. He was not subjected to such a fate. In the beginning it is a normal man, a Jew from Constantine with a popular background, who will transform. He could have fled to Spain during the war, but his greatness lay in staying true to his flag, his country, even when it betrayed him.

Amir: “I was not destined for this life as a singer

Why did director Steve Suisse think of you?

As far as I know, he noticed a certain physical resemblance, but also personality traits. Alfred and I, each on our own level, forged a fate that was not ours: as a child he had water phobia. A few years later he was one of the greatest swimming champions of all time. I didn’t commit myself to this life as a singer, it came late as I first became a dentist. I’m proud to embody Alfred and finally bring him to light: his willingness, his resilience deserve admiration. After Auschwitz, where he lost his wife and two-year-old daughter, he managed to rebuild himself to be selected again for the 1948 Olympics.

Were members of your family victims of the Holocaust?

I have a great uncle who was deported at the end of the war. He was in labor camps, but not in concentration camps. Luckily the war ended in time and he returned home safe and sound.

How did you prepare for this role?

I’ve rehearsed fifteen times with a coach. It reminded me of the courses I memorized in college. But since I also wanted to be in Alfred’s world, I combined the rehearsals with swimming lessons. I learned the swimming styles of the time with a trainer, such as the butterfly breaststroke. I also met his nephews and nieces and visited the swimming pool in Toulouse which had been christened Alfred-Nakache during the war as everyone thought he was dead. On his return he discovered that a swimming pool bore his name, imagine his surprise ahead!

Amir: “My father was the strongest resistance to my career change

Performances start at the end of April, but you’ve already given some in Tel Aviv, Toulouse and Paris for the press. Were your relatives present?

My father and sister came to the Théâtre Édouard-VII in Paris. I wanted them to see me in a prestigious theater, whereas a few years ago I projected no further than a dentist’s office. They’re not the most objective, but they told me it was wonderful and touching. It warmed my heart, especially since when I became a singer, my father was the most reluctant to change my career, so I wanted to prove to him that he was right to support me. I feel like with Selected, I went up another level. I just want my father to be happy and proud of his child. He who gives me little artistic advice, he even suggested that I perform the play in Hebrew, my mother tongue, and in English so that it can travel…

You’re a happy dad. Did your wife and son see you on stage?

My wife will come to the Paris performances. I read her the text messages she received after the general, she was tied up. Only my son said: “I don’t like dad’s show on the floor“. He saw a video montage where I’m lying on the floor, it hurt him. He saw me in pain, he’s too young to understand what comedy is.

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