Russian sees fame building in America
Russian movie star Alexander Nevsky is in Hawaii scouting for his new film
» An impressive body of work
ALEXANDER Nevsky is a bodybuilder-turned movie star famous in Russia but virtually unknown in the United States. Yet one glance at the impressive man -- who also writes and produces, by the way -- says all of that may change very soon.
After his bodybuilding documentary did so well in Russia, from 1993 to 1999 he participated in a weekly television show about exercise, diet and "believing in yourself." He made the rounds of talk shows and magazine interviews during this time, published three books on bodybuilding and another about kickboxing that together have sold 500,000 copies.
The title of the first tome? "How to Become Schwarzenegger in Russia." In fact, he was called "The Russian Schwarzenegger" from the beginning of his career, which Nevsky considers a great compliment ("He never stops; he's hungry all the time!" he said of his role model). Nevsky's fifth book, "The Big Encyclopedia of Fitness," was published in November 2006.
Because Nevsky only uses his computer to compose in English, he writes his Russian books in long-hand, then faxes the pages to his publisher.
"The poor guys," he said, smiling. "They just have to retype it all."
His acting career began with many offers to play Russian bad guys.
"That's the way they see Russians in Hollywood," he said. "That's why I decided to go my way."
He became a producer and used his celebrity status in Russia to collect favors, get financial backing and make his first movie. "Moscow Heat" was distributed in 62 countries, and 250,000 DVDs of the movie have sold in America. In addition, it aired on television in Russia, where 80 million households watched Nevsky's biceps bulge out of his camouflage shirt as he fired round after round.
In "Moscow Heat," Nevsky said, "all romantic scenes I did were with AK-47!"
That changes in "Treasure Raiders," as Sherilyn Fenn plays his girlfriend, and we're told, there might even be a kiss amid all the action.
Nevsky said he enjoys the healthy atmosphere, the flowers and the "relaxed" attitude here in Hawaii. He hopes to return and learn to surf. "Now that would be good entertainment!" he bellowed.
Like any couple yearning for the glory only America can offer, Nevsky and his wife, Katya, spent their honeymoon at Disneyland.
"You don't expect a big guy like me around these mouses!" he laughed. But to them, the fairy tale park symbolized limitless possibilities.
"What I like about America, you have a great spirit here," he said. "Everything is possible."