Ronen Rubinstein’s acting career has taken off thanks to his work on Fox’s 9-1-1: Lone Star, and now he co-stars with Keegan Allen and Holland Roden in the thriller No Escape. Rubinstein talked to us about his acting path, his passion for the environment, and the brilliance of the David Fincher feature Se7en.
Directed and penned by Will Wernick, No Escape centers on Cole (Keegan Allen) a social media influencer who travels to Moscow with his buddies (Holland Roden co-stars as his girlfriend Erin).
The friends are set to visit an escape room in Moscow, with a mysterious man named Alexei (Ronen Rubinstein) serving as their tour guide. Unfortunately, this escape room leads to a night of terror and unexpected violence that will undoubtedly impact their lives.
Along with the aforementioned topic points, Rubinstein briefly mentioned another feature I’m looking forward to see called Smiley Face Killers. Check out our chat for further details!
No Escape is definitely an entertaining and nail-biting thriller. That said, did you also appreciate its pointed approach to the perils of social media and being an influencer?
I do appreciate the underlying message that the movie asks. Why do we live for the camera and why do we do social media and what message are we trying to convey?
So I really appreciate and resonate with that message. But overall it was just a very fun movie and the script was really exciting from the moment I opened it.
It was a chance to play a character I have never played before. To play a Russian character, and Russian is my first language. There were a lot of aspects that drew me to this movie.
Would you ever partake in an escape room?
I’ve done escape rooms but nothing like that. I don’t even know if escape rooms like that exists. That one is very intense and dangerous.
I’ve done some escape rooms in the past where it’s figuring out the mystery and you have a lot of clues. But I would never do something like the one in that movie (laughs).
I love the way this movie was really several stories in one and it wasn’t a predictable tale.
I agree 100% with that. I love that it is a very strong ensemble. Everybody is very unique and has their own thing going. Luckily all the performances work really well. A big part of why people are connecting with the movie is if the performances don’t work, the film falls apart.
It starts at the top with Keegan Allen and Holland Roden. They carried the movie beautifully and it carried down to the rest of us.
Will Wernick has become a dear friend of mine and his writing is really exciting and heart pounding. His direction was well done. It was one of the most focused sets I have been on and I appreciate that greatly.
You care about (these characters’) journey and you want to see what happens to them. That is the backbone of the film.
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What are some of the tangible lessons you have learned working with 9-1-1: Lone Star actor Rob Lowe and producer Ryan Murphy? Working with such vets must elevate one’s work.
I always say from the very beginning I feel like a student in the corner with my notepad. Even when I wasn’t on set and my character was not in a scene, I would float around and watch how they work and watch their process.
It literally is priceless knowledge and we’re talking (about) Rob Lowe and Ryan Murphy and Liv Tyler. It still is very surreal to me. I feel like the luckiest guy in the world that it’s my job. Right now we go back to a season two so there is a lot of “pinch me” moments happening.
It’s like you mentioned, it really does elevate your performance and your professionalism. It kind of puts everyone at their A-game. I love that aspect of the show.
I grew up an athlete and if there was ever an opportunity for me to be challenged or for me to up my game, I’m 100% down for it.
It’s been crazy, man. It has pretty much been a year since we started shooting. It’s been one of the greatest years of my life and it’s the project I’m most proud of in my career. I’m just looking forward to continuing it.
I remember talking to an author who said his book isn’t finished until he gets a reaction. What has it been like getting that interaction from fans of the show?
It does. Our job is pretty much in the hands of the fans. They really do chose what projects and what characters they love and who they feel attached to. There has been a complete outpouring of love and support for my character T.K. and obviously the show did crazy some numbers that I still can’t believe so many people watch the show
It’s been surreal. The whole experience is surreal. I prefer being working on set and focusing on the task at hand because then when you step out of it, you really get to see how the entire world is reacting to it.
Luckily it’s been very positive which is rare. We are all very lucky to be in this position with the show and now I get to talk about a film that is doing well too. I am beyond grateful – I wish I could think of a bigger word!
Can you name one of your favorite films and why does this movie still speak to you?
I probably have to say Se7en by David Fincher. He’s hands down my favorite director of all time and Brad Pitt is my favorite actor of all time. Whenever they collaborate it’s the greatest thing ever.
It’s a movie to this day I will rewatch and I will pause certain scenes and right notes down and study them and break them down. It’s a movie I can fall back on and still learn from. I still consider myself a student of the game and I don’t think I will ever feel that I am not.
That is definitely at the top of my list. It’s a perfect film and the performances are exceptional. It’s definitely something I go back to a lot.
Why is Project Zero a big part of your life?
In 2016 I dedicated my influence and “celebrity,” whatever that means, trying to project and save the planet. And to provide solutions and hope and insert positivity in a time that is very negative.
That has been part of my mission and Project Zero focuses on the ocean. I have been going to the ocean since I was a kid. A lot of people love going to the beach, but I don’t think people truly understand how powerful and important the ocean is in combating climate change. And how unique and fragile it is.
Project Zero works on creating ocean sanctuaries which is essentially protecting parts of the ocean the same way we protect national parks and forests.
There is a staggering statistic that only 2 percent of the ocean is protected, which makes no sense to me because it makes up most of the planet. It is the biggest weapon in fighting carbon emissions.
It is definitely a difficult fight but with companies like Project Zero, it does seem that there is hope and they provide solutions which is the most important thing.
Thank you for your time and before we go, are you doing a film with director Tim Hunter and Crispin Glover called Smiley Face Killers? IMDB is not 100% correct with its credits, but I’m hoping this one is fact.
That is very correct my friend. And Bret Easton Ellis wrote and produced it. That has been my secret weapon for a couple of years now. I am the lead role in the film so it’s the biggest role in film I have ever done. And it’s definitely the most intense thing I’ve ever done as an actor.
So that is really going to be a special one. That’s something I’m beyond proud of.
I can’t wait, River’s Edge (directed by Tim Hunter) is a classic. Thank you so you much for your time.
My pleasure man, thank you.
No Escape is now available on Digital and On Demand.
If you’re looking for other films to watch this week, check out our latest episode of CinemAddicts: