Profile: On the Set with Kalmus ’08

KalmusNot even a decade out of college, Ori Kalmus ’08 has worked as a teacher, an army officer, and a reporter. Well, on the set, that is. Kalmus has played those roles as an actor. He’s appeared on NBC’s Parenthood, FX’s Louie, and Showtime’s Masters of Sex. “I want to be part of something bigger than myself, be a facet of storytelling . . . the more unique and powerful the story the better.”

Cast in the movie Neighbors with Seth Rogen and Zac Efron, Kalmus was on the set for a couple of days. “There was tons of improv,” he says. The scenes were later cut during final editing. “It’s just a funny, weird business of make-believe, and if you’re taking it too personally, then you’re doing something wrong.”

Kalmus also writes, acts, and produces for his own company, Boychik Films, which has completed episodes of an original web series, Super Annoying. And he collaborates with director Mike Provost in a company called Banner Productions.

Kalmus, a history graduate, became interested in modern French cinema while studying abroad in Strasbourg, France, during his junior year. Samurai films piqued his sense of theatricality.

He took an acting course and appeared in College Theater productions. He traveled by bus to New York City for classes with the Upright Citizens Brigade, an improvisational comedy troupe whose founders include Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler.

Kalmus moved to Hollywood and performed with the Los Angeles branch of UCB before joining other such groups. “My improv background is what got me into really good circles and with my current manager,” he says. “So I fell backward into acting.”

His approach to his craft was inspired by English professor Ian Smith and history professor Robert Weiner. “They have a passion for what they do that’s infectious.”
—Margie Peterson

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