Alessandro Nivola Talks 'Disobedience,' Playing Rachel McAdams' Onscreen Husband

"If I didn’t do it in a way that was faithful to the reality, it could be disrespectful or it could just hurt the film," Nivola told In Studio.

Actor Alessandro Nivola (Face/Off, American Hustle) tells The Hollywood Reporter In Studio that his latest role in Sebastian Lelio’s Disobedience was his most challenging to date.

The film centers on a woman (Rachel Weisz) who returns to her Orthodox Jewish community in London that had shunned her for decades for an early attraction to a childhood friend (Rachel McAdams).

Nivola portrays McAdams' husband, Rabbi Dovid Kuperman, and he explained to THR the research it took to get into the role. “This was maybe the most that I’ve had to research, more than anything I’ve done, which was a great challenge,” he said. Since the role required him to learn the Hebrew language, Nivola turned to an Orthodox Jewish friend, whose family took him under their wing.

“It was a big commitment, and I was nervous about representing them accurately, and I left a burden of responsibility as well because my character kind of represents the religion and that particular way of life in the film,” he said. “If I didn’t do it in a way that was faithful to the reality, it could be disrespectful or it could just hurt the film.”

Nivola says his onscreen wife, McAdams, also spent months learning about the culture, as well as perfecting the accent in the film. “She and I were in the same boat in terms of doing this research, and we were both shit scared,” he said. “We had to sound like we were from the same place and that we had been married for 15 years, so we spent some time together working on that. … The more time you have to prep for something, the better.” 

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