Soap Operas, Sci-fi and Everything in Between

Published: March 20th 2010

Eyal Podell
Pic: Courtesy of Schumacher Management
Shiri Appleby and Eyal Podell in "Pizza My Heart"
Pic: GWave Productions
Eyal Podell in "Defying Gravity"
Pic: ABC

With over 35 TV credits under his belt, it’s safe to say Eyal Podell has experienced a successful career on the small screen. The actor, who’s most known for his two-year stint as Adrian Korbel on The Young and the Restless, has appeared in some of the most prominent TV shows including 24 and CSI. Last year, he scored a lead role on ABC’s short-lived sci-fi series Defying Gravity, playing an Israeli doctor. 


Podell is trying to make the move from the small screen to the silver screen with some self-written screenplays. Shalom Life interviewed the Israeli-American actor about his upcoming projects.   


What drew you to acting?


At first, just like any kid, it was the sense of freedom, imagination. I never intended to make a career out of it. I did a play at summer camp when I was nine. Broadway was always a part of my life since I grew up outside New York City and my family would see five to 10 plays or musicals a year. So in a sense, it was a major form of entertainment. After my freshman year in college, I decided not to act for a semester and see what else was out there, but I got so lost and depressed that I figured acting had to be a part of my life.


You were born in Tel Aviv, raised in Hong Kong and then moved to New York at the age of eight. Why did you move so much?


I didn’t really have much choice. My father was a freight forwarding agent and his first job was in Hong Kong. Then a great offer emerged for him to go to New York. More than anything, I think there was a big willingness to see the world and not be afraid of moving to new places where they didn’t know – It’s all part of life’s adventure. It’s made me very adaptable as an adult, and something I miss about being an actor and being stuck in L.A.


Did all of the moving and experiencing different cultures help you as an actor?


It definitely helps you find perspective and hones your skills of observation, your ear for accents, your imagination.


You were in The Young and the Restless for two years. What do you miss most about being on the show?


Mostly I miss the people. The work was never terribly rewarding, but I miss the people and the day-to-day feeling of being part of a television family.


Many characters have left and then returned to The Young and the Restless.  Is that a possibility for your character? 


I highly doubt it since the show runner that created me was summarily dismissed after the writers' strike. My feeling is no one but her really had a vested interest in my character once the “reliquary storyline” was finished. Also, the main characters I interacted with have all been killed off in Brad and Colleen.


Last year you got to be a part of one of the most popular action series, 24. What was that like?


It was great to work on 24, a real professional cast and crew that brought their A-game every day and challenged me to step it up. Working with Kiefer [Sutherland] was a tremendous experience. Seeing how committed he remained after seven years – you hear all about actors getting complacent and becoming divas – not in his case. It was an inspiration.


You played an Israeli doctor on Defying Gravity. What sort of things did you do to prepare for the role?


Related articles: (Eyal Podell, Young and the restless, Defying Gravity, 24, soap opera)
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