Moran Atias (born April 9, 1981) is an Israeli actress. She gained notoriety in the Italian films Gas, Oggi sposi, and Mother of Tears. She is best known for her work with Paul Haggis in the 2008 TV series Crash and the 2013 film Third Person. She currently stars on the FX television series Tyrant. She is considered one of Israel’s first actresses to have success abroad.
Early life of Moran Atias
Atias was born in the city of Haifa in northern Israel, to Israeli-born parents of Jewish Moroccan descent. She appeared on the youth television programme Out of Focus at age 15, although her plan to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces was frustrated by a diagnosis of meningitis at age 17. She pursued modelling, instead, in Germany and then Italy, where she was discovered and became a model for Roberto Cavalli.
In Italy, she was nominated by the City of Milan to be the official spokeswoman leading the campaigns against graffiti and animal cruelty for 2005–06 in the city. Following her success abroad, Atias was cast in the Israeli “Strauss” commercial and chosen to lead the “Renuar” campaign
Career of Moran Atias
Atias first appeared on television when she was 15, starring in the Israeli youth program Out of Focus. By the age of 17, she went to Germany to launch her modelling career which then led her to Italy, where she was discovered by Roberto Cavalli who selected her to be his home model.
She also modeled for D&G, and for BBG jewellers. Later, she was the hostess of a popular television talk program in Italy. After establishing herself as a model, she was encouraged to pursue a career in acting. She won roles in films in English, Italian, Hebrew and Spanish and was nominated for Best Actress at Festival Sguardo al Femminile for her role in Days of Love.
Her work in these films led to her being cast in the Italian feature Gas in which she played a provocative drug addict tasked with seducing a gay drug addict. She followed that up with the romantic comedy Oggi Sposi, directed by Luca Luncini and Mother of Tears, the third and the final installment of Dario Argento’s supernatural horror trilogy The Three Mothers. Mother of Tears premièred at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival and the Rome Film Festival.
In 2008, she was cast in the role of the illegal immigrant ‘Inez’ in the drama series Crash, based on Paul Haggis’s Oscar-winning film. After one season, she became the female lead opposite Dennis Hopper. Working with Haggis led to her being cast in his film The Next Three Days.
In 2011, Atias worked with Cynthia Mort on the television project Radical, playing to role of ‘Ana’ which Mort had written specifically for her. She was cast in the critically acclaimed Israeli television series Allenby in 2012, where she played ‘Mika,’ an ex-orthodox Jewish girl who avoids her childhood secret while living a complex nightlife. She also served as a producer and worked to adapt it into a United States series. She was cast in the new FX series Tyrant by the creators of the successful television series Homeland by creator and fellow Israeli, Gideon Raff.
Her work on the film The Next Three Days led to Third Person, a project that Atias pitched and helped develop with Paul Haggis. She was chosen to play the role of ‘Monika,’ an Albanian gypsy. To prepare for the role, she lived in Italy for four months and immersed herself in the gypsy lifestyle, living without the basics of running water or electricity. She studied with Michael Margota at the Italian Actor’s Studio to perfect the Italian and Albanian accents. She also served as a co-producer and a co-consultant for the script. The film premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.
Atias participated in the Artists for Justice and Peace volunteer mission with Sean Penn following the 2010 Haiti earthquake, in which she assisted the evacuation of refugees to Florida. During her second trip to Haiti, she took part in a workshop at Cine Institute in Jacmel. She is a goodwill ambassador for IsraAid.
In May 2010, she worked with Artists for Peace and Justice (APJ) and hosted and organized a charity event at Cannes Film Festival. In November 2010, she hosted and organized a charity event for APJ in New York, with proceeds going to the first free high school for the children of the slums of Haiti.