An Israeli actor who portrayed Yigal Amir, the assassin of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, in a new film being released this week, says he was so traumatized by delving into the mind of the killer he had to seek therapy.
Amir is played by Yehuda Nahari in “Incitement,” which depicts the assassination for the first time through the eyes of the killer.
Nahari, who has acted in several TV series including “Snails in the Rain” and the American show “Tyrant,” told Channel 12 that he became so immersed in the mind of Amir that he had a hard time differentiating his life from that of the ultra-nationalist assassin.
The actor recalled that during a cast gathering after shooting the scene of Rabin’s murder, director Yaron Zilberman spoke about what a heinous crime it was but he was left feeling confused.
“I remember thinking, ‘Wait a minute, what?’ I was confused. This was the moment I understood that I had to undergo some sort of treatment because I needed help in separating from the character,” Nahari said.
Acknowledging that Amir had become a part of him, Nahari said it took four months of therapy until he was able to return to his old self. “The negative energy stayed in the body.”
Nahari said that in order to prepare for the part, he also became a practicing religious Jew for four months, praying three times a day and not touching his girlfriend. The extreme lifestyle change led to the end of that relationship, he said.
The movie follows Amir for the roughly two years that led up to the November 4, 1995 murder.
“Incitement,” which hits theaters on Thursday, has been nominated for 10 Ophir awards — Israel’s version of the Oscars.
Amir, now 49, is serving a life sentence for the assassination of Rabin. He remains in solitary confinement.
Last month, he launched a brief hunger strike, protesting the confiscation of his telephone for two months after he used it for political purposes in violation of prison rules.