Ilia Volok’s life took an unexpected turn when after being a professional athlete (3rd place at the world championship in rowing with the Soviet Union team in Italy), and on his way to become a rowing coach, he left his native Kiev (Ukraine) to audition for one of the most prestigious acting colleges-the famous Moscow Art Theatre School. To the complete surprise of his friends and relatives, he passed a rigorous competition (200 hundred contestants per one spot) and was accepted to study under the direction of one of the top stars of Russian theatre and cinema – Alexander Kalyagin. Upon graduation he was invited to work in several top theatre companies the Moscow Art Theatre being one of them. But once again he changed the direction of his life, and with $300.00 in his pocket, without any knowledge of English, he came to America to pursue his dream of being a working Hollywood actor. The first jobs that came along had little to do with acting.
He was cutting sandwiches and flipping chicken at a restaurant, and working at a cemetery as a funeral service attendant where he enjoyed quiet surroundings and fresh air (later he was promoted to selling cemetery plots). But finally in the fall of 1993 he got his acting break in the movie Hail Ceaser, playing opposite Samuel Jackson, Robert Downey Jr. and Michael Anthony Hall.
To this date, he has appeared in over 110 films and television shows, including Air Force One, Oliver Stone’s “U-Turn”, “Indiana Jones-4″, David Fincher’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, “The Soloist”, “Six Feet Under”, “Alias”, “Friends”, “Las Vegas”, “Burn Notice” and many others. Recent film credits include “Water for Elephants” starring Reese Witherspoon , “Mission Impossible-4″ with Tom Cruise, “Abduction” with Alfred Molina, directed by John Singleton, Upcoming “GI JOE 2″ with Bruce Willis and Dwayne Johnson-the Rock and “Untitled James Gray Movie” with Marion Cotillard and Joaquin Phoenix. Recent television includes a Guest Lead on “Undercovers”, “Supernatural”, “Closer”, “Chaos” directed by Brett Ratner, and 37 episode arch as Karpov on “General Hospital”. Among his LA Theater credits are “Just a song at twilight” at Write Act repertory company, “Cat’s paw”, produced by the Actor’s Studio, “Cassat and Degas” at the Hudson theatre where he portrayed the French impressionist, Destiny’s Calling at the Stelle Adler Theatre, “Ferdinand” by Vaclav Haveland “Fakov in America”- a 2-men show, which he co-wrote and co-produced with David Laird Scott. His ongoing one-man show “Diary of a madman” written by Nicolai Gogol and directed by Eugene Lazarev, received rave reviews. For more information on Ilia and “Diary of a Madman” visit www.volok-diaryofamadman.weebly.com