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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Guide to the Stars




They are young and talented, but since their country is in economic decline, they are seeking their fortune in the West. But they're not interested in entering MBA schools to pursue careers in the collapsing Russian banks. No, they want to be movie stars in Hollywood.


Flipping through the pages of Moskovsky Komsomolets, I recently saw a picture of my mom's favorite actor, Steven Segal, together with Alexander Nevsky. No, not the guy who defeated the invading Teutonic knights several hundred years ago. This was my buddy Sasha, a prominent body-builder who is on the road to achieving his dream of starring in American films. The newspaper reported that a Hollywood agency had signed a contract to promote him as a movie star.


After reading the article, I recalled a conversation I had had with Alexander, whom I first met on a TV talk show, when he told me he wanted to go to L.A. Once a shy, skinny student, he had already become a well-known body-builder by then. As we talked on a street corner, a taxi driver recognized him and timidly asked if he could touch his muscles.


An educated and soft-spoken young man, Sasha knew everything about publicity. He worked as his own agent, giving interviews to different magazines and promoting himself everywhere. I found him irritating - especially his inflated pseudonym, but later I learned that he actually didn't make it up. In an interview with the Russian version of Playboy, he said his father's name is Kuritsyn, which could be translated as "chicken's son," so he took his mother's name, which just happened to be the same as the legendary prince's.


I respect him the same way I do another young Russian, actor Mikhail Mamayev, who while searching for his path in life ended up as a model in Istanbul in 1991. He even wrote a humorous book about it. "An actor needs every kind of an experience. The catwalk is also like a stage - it is eyes that are looking at you," he wrote.


Mamayev also had some small roles in a movie by Zalman King, the director of "Two-Moon Junction," and plans to go to the States soon to star in another of his films.


As Russia sinks lower and lower, they will go to the West. America should keep its eye open for the new Konchalovskys and Baryshnikovs.