Instant Family’s Kenneth Israel

Kenneth Israel plays a partner who is unable to conceive with his wife. They arrive at a support group for comfort. Israel discusses how his experience on set correlated with the other behind the scene jobs on set.

ATM: What was your experience watching the production crew for Instant Family as they carried out their jobs, aside from your acting?

KI: All the thousands of moving parts that go on behind the camera. This is from the grips, lighting, sound guys, Pas, and writers. There are so many moving parts and sub verses that go on behind the camera. It is amazing to see how all this comes together. It is also amazing to see how these moving parts are needed to bring this story into completion. Ironically, the last day of shooting was the first time my wife has come with me to work. My wife’s experience prompted me to say this. She kept saying, “Oh, I never knew this. There are so many people and moving things.”

ATM: Describe the experience your wife had while on set as a non-actor.

KI: She had a blast. Everyone was aware she was coming. The director made arrangements for one of the production assistants to meet her. They assisted her with parking and brought her onto the set. He brought her back to “video village.” Video village is where the director, producers, and writers are all watching the monitors, and they have headphones to listen to what is going on. Everyone greeted her well.

ATM: How does the set designer’s role impact your job?

KI: The set designers are crucial to telling the story. My character David is a part of the foster care support group with Pete and Ellie. There is a time period and the set designers are there to create the correct season. They have there also to set the tone. This is all including whether it is a Christmas theme or time of year. The set designers and set dressers have the make the time period in the scene believable. They make it believable to the point you say, “Now we are at Christmas. Now we are in the Springtime.” We shoot it over the course of a few months, but the story takes place over a much larger course of time. The set designers bring us through the transition through this time.

ATM: Is there an additional responsibility a family or new couple needs to have when thinking about adopting?

KI: The movie shows nothing is required besides love and compassion. At one point, Pete questions himself, he says, “We are not those type of people. We are not those special people.” He erases the concept of it being only the supper dopers in life. This could be seen as people who volunteer. There is no other requirement, but only loving and caring for the children.

ATM: What is the view from the parents on this new experience in adopting children?

KI: Inherently, in the children in the foster care system, we already know they come from to a background where they have gotten removed from their blood parent or household. Anyone going into this already knows the children are coming from an extraordinary set of circumstances. Every child’s history and dynamics are different. The amount of the stress and anxiety they go through is different.

ATM: How can new foster care parents fill the void concerning this removal?

KI: These children are missing the stability of a home. They are missing the love and affection from a parent. The void is the love, caring, guidance, and nurture. This only comes from the hurt. A parent that fosters to adopt is providing to the child. They are filling this void. They need security and stability.  The families take the foster child to provide this for them.

ATM: How would you describe the relationship between the two main characters?

KI: Pete and Ellie are a successful couple. They have a business, and they are doing well for themselves. In this doing so, at some point, they put off having a family. Their reason for this is never really pinpointed. Ellie starts bringing up the idea and tosses it out to her husband. It never leaves him. She is doing some research and she goes off to bed. He cannot resist from also looking. You see his character being pulled in. They are a loving and a caring couple. It is not one pulling the other into it. They are equally yoked. They have considered this for a long period of time. The characters feel they may be right for adopting.

ATM: How do you see their relationship change throughout this film?

KI: You see they always remain a team after the struggles and the hard times. After the honeymoon phase. The realities set in and the challenges of pulling this family together. They go through the highs and the lows together. The couple even questions if they want to continue doing this, but they do it together. While they are questioning whether to continue, she realizes this is not them, and there is no quitting. They never are at odds. They decide to do it together. At one point it’s the good cop and bad cop type of deal. “I will take care of this.” They work well together, and we never see any riff in their relationship.