Born in Belarus, Russia, Konstantin Lavysh became fascinated with acting at a young age, studying the craft and playing in theaters before ultimately attending the University of Diplomacy. After graduating with a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from that university, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting and filmmaking as his career. It was then that he began to score roles on a slew of television shows, including Ray Donovan, Castle, Gang Related, Prime Suspect and NCIS, proving that his talent is both versatile and exceptional.
Now, Lavysh is captivating audiences as the character Alexi Yakenev in the new AT&T Audience Network drama series Ice, which airs on Wednesday nights at 8:00 pm ET/PT. Directed by Antoine Fuqua and writing/exec-produced by Robert Munic, this high-impact, serialized crime story follows the Green family as they plunge into the underbelly of the Los Angeles diamond trade.
Additionally, Layvsh has a number of new projects on the horizon, such as the upcoming Indian film Love Sonia, which tells the heartfelt story of Sonia, a young Indian village girl whose life irrevocably changes when she becomes entrapped in the vicious global sex trade network; the film Juke Box Hero (premiering January 25, 2017), a visceral and psychological ‘80s drama that portrays the unlikely friendship between an aspiring, alluring musician and a humble nursing home caregiver; and, the upcoming HBO comedy series Room 104, an ensemble show which promises to tell different stories about different characters in each episode.
I recently had the pleasure of asking Layvsh about these forthcoming projects, his role on Ice and his own nerdy obsessions. Check it out below!
What inspired you to pursue acting and filmmaking as your profession?
When I was a child, I was fascinated with my ability to influence the mood of others around me. I was born and raised in a family of professors, so there always was a plentiful audience of students (cheering them on after a less successful exam was one thing I enjoyed in particular – little scenes and poems). Overall, I am fascinated with this world and the people in it, and since the craft allows me to create worlds, live out different lives and travel, going into film was a no-brainer. I find that understanding a human conscience and therefore my own is a major reason, too. Finding myself and realizing we are all very similar; a tiniest choice may change a life so drastically.
What appealed to you about the show “Ice”?
The show sounded amazing. I was invited to audition by Robert Munic, creator/writer, and from just the sides I was attracted to the material. The show takes us on a journey of the very real – and very interesting world, full of conspiracies, adventures, and action – but more importantly, it is a journey into the depths of relationships of the heroes, their allegiances, love, and families. “Ice” has a great appeal, and every corner takes you to a very unexpected outcome.
When you first read the script, what was your first impression of Alexi?
Tough. Spine of steel. Ruthless. Knows exactly what he wants and is willing to bend the rules to accommodate for it.
Has that impression changed at all as you settled into the role?
It changed slightly; Alexi has a facade of toughness, but as I am learning more about him – there is an understanding evolving that the shell is only a cover for something else. He is also more of a snake than a bull, if that makes sense.
How would you describe Alexi’s relationship with Jake and Freddy?
It is complex – we have a history, raised nearby, same school, all of that. But life took us into very separate directions. There’s an element of affection for both Green brothers, but then there’s money. It is fascinating to explore that thin balance. There is also resentment – the Greens, especially Jake, want to stay all clean and fancy – while Alexi is down on the ground, struggling the real struggle. When Jake is in trouble, he comes to Alexi – but he doesn’t really communicate on a regular basis. That feeds the resentment and the ego for Alexi. It’s complicated – and very interesting.
What was your favorite scene to film so far?
The most interesting scene is the one on the writer’s screen, the one we have yet to shoot. Out of the material shot, the scene with Cam (Ray Winstone) and (Freddy) Jeremy Sisto, when we take over C-117 in episode 2. The guns, the action – and the very juicy stand-off with Cam. We had a lot of fun with that!
Regarding your upcoming film “Love Sonia,” what do you hope viewers take away from this story?
I am a strong advocate for dealing with the very major problem of human trafficking. It is complex and seems to be underrated. Women’s rights are part of it too. The story is built beautifully, and the acting is amazing. I hope the viewers will be taken on a real journey and will walk away from the screen with strong emotional reflections. Hopefully, they will also be attracted to help the cause of preventing some of this terrible stuff from happening. It is, regardless, a beautiful, heartfelt story, a must-see.
What can you tell me about your character Jimmy’s role in the upcoming drama “Jukebox Hero”?
The film is a strong drama, and I am a comic relief – a musician (drummer) in a rock band, a foreigner with a dream of becoming a Rock Superstar. I had a lot of fun prepping for it and playing with it; that’s for sure! Great picture.
What was it like to go from working on that psychological drama to working on the HBO comedy “Room 104”?
It was a major switch in all regards a very different character, style, and story, but the realness and the truthfulness of the storytelling and character worked for me. The Duplass brothers have really created something amazing; everyone should look forward to it!
What books, TV shows, movies, etc. bring out the nerd in you?
I often re-watch: “The Matrix,” “Guilty,” and “Tarkovsky’s Solaris.” Some of my favorite TV shows are: “The Wire” (of course), “South Park” and “Family Guy.” I enjoy reading Hermann Hesse, Bulgakov, Nabokov, Dickens, Twain, and biographies of many interesting people.
Ice airs on Wednesday nights at 8:00 pm ET/PT on the AT&T Audience Network.