With roles in the blockbuster the Legend of Hercules and the ubiquitous crime drama NCIS, SaraiGivaty is kind of a big deal in movies and TV. But she’s not in Hollywood taking power lunches—not even close. “I was in L.A. for a few years,” she says, her voice soft and a little raspy, “but I missed my family so much, and I felt like I was missing out on my new nieces and nephews, so now I’m based in Tel Aviv.” Don’t question her professional dedication, though. Givaty, who was born in Israel and also happens to be a talented musician, works hard whether she’s acting or singing: “I give 200 percent. I get the most pleasure when other people are that way, too.” Perhaps that’s why more and more directors are seeking her out. (It helps that she’s heartbreakingly beautiful.) This month you can catch her in The Expendables 3 as Camilia, Mel Gibson’s gun-toting girlfriend. We recently caught up with the 32-year-old in Monaco to talk Sly Stallone, beach life, and shooting clay pigeons.
What did you think of your shoot?
It was way more classy than I imagined it would be!
Well, that’s how we do things at Maxim. We even have an office in Monaco now. Did you enjoy yourself?
That beach, oh, my God, it was unbelievable! I love Monaco. I’m also a big fan of yachts and the beach, so I’m always surfing, windsurfing, paddleboarding—all that stuff.
Did you always pursue acting and music?
I always wanted to act, but there were times I felt like I should try something else. Music balances it out well, because with acting you don’t own your schedule. With music, you own your time and you’re your own manager and creator. When I write songs, I feel like it’s my movie. With music, you’re looking for your center and figuring out who you are, as opposed to who your character is.
Last year you played the SXSW music festival in Austin. How was that?
It was great! Very different from L.A. and New York. I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard to set up and play a show, and then go somewhere else and set up again and play another one. I had to learn how to play a bunch of things at the same time—I was playing percussion in one hand and using a vocal pedal instead of backup singers to create harmony. So, yeah, it was interesting and a great challenge.
How did you end up in TheExpendables 3?
When I got the call, I thought I was going to be one of the fighters. For some reason, I always have a gun when I’m on camera. But they wanted people who can actually fight. That’s why they ended up casting Ronda Rousey. Everyone on the cast can really kick ass. It’s not like those superheroes who are superskinny. When they told me that they wanted to offer me a role with Mel Gibson, I was like, “Of course!” I have a lot of respect for him, and it was great to work with him in a movie like that.
You mentioned that you always have a gun on camera. Do you actually know how to shoot?
I was getting these roles that required me to carry guns, so I said, “I should know what I’m doing.” I’ve gone range shooting, but I like skeet shooting because it takes focus and you can really have a nice day doing it.
The film is loaded with legendary actors like Sly Stallone, Harrison Ford, and Wesley Snipes. What were they like?
I was very happy to see how passionate they are. There’s the director Patrick Hughes, who’s great; there’s Sly, who nobody is going to say no to. Sly sets the tone. And then there was Antonio Banderas, who had just finished a small independent film. You have this guy who has done so much, and the way he talks about his projects inspires awe. I thought I was going to be working with a bunch of people who are tired of doing what they do, but that wasn’t the case.
Photos by Tibi Clenci