Deborah Cicurel chats to a former JFS pupil making headlines as the star of a Biblical epic on America’s biggest television network.
Daniel Kushner isn’t your typical ex-JFS boy: he’s worked with Robert De Niro, starred opposite Antonio Banderas and spent two months in Morocco shooting a Biblical epic just broadcast on NBC. Not bad for a north-west London Jewish boy – who goes by the screen name of Daniel Cade – and his success looks like it’s going to keep on growing.
The 33-year-old’s latest acting role sees him playing Roman general Cassius in A.D. The Bible Continues, a dramatic biblical epic and the follow-up to the mini-series The Bible, which won three Emmy nominations and attracted more than 13 million viewers. If its predecessor is anything to go by, A.D. will no doubt strike UK audiences when it arrives here as emotive, intense and full of action.
“Every single bit of the series is very dramatic, very intense,” Cade says. “It will grab viewers. It’s realistic and a very deep story that has serious cliffhangers. It’s a dramatic, emotional tale and the audience will definitely want to see more.”
It is not Cade’s first role. He has appeared in movies and TV series as varied as Borgia, Sinbad and The Family opposite major stars and has nothing but positive things to say of his fellow actors, pointing out that Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer “treat you as an equal, even though you’re not really”.
After working with such acting heavyweights, where do you go? Cade says he would love to work with Denzel Washington, and his ideal role would be Jack Bauer’s character in the series 24.
What is most unusual about Cade is his route into acting and his other, pretty badass credentials. “I studied martial arts when I was five years old and then I went past the black belt,” says Cade, who grew up in Edgware. “The level I went to is the extreme martial arts style that Jackie Chan does, which is more for film. Then I thought if I want to get into movies, I should train as an actor as well so I started doing little commercials and bit parts in TV.
“After that I went to Hong Kong and worked on an action film there with Jackie Chan’s stunt team, but then I realised it would be better to do ‘proper’ acting and be known as an actor first.”
Following that decision, Cade starred as the lead actor in a WKD advert, went to the prestigious Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts and even – like a good Jewish boy – worked in investment banks while his career was taking off.
So will Cade be the Jewish Jackie Chan in years to come?
The extreme martial arts expert, who now lives in Bushey, says he is “going to wait until the right project comes along” – adding that he has even turned down the chance to work with Chan as “it wasn’t the right opportunity”.
Those who know him are betting he’ll have the chance again to jump, kick and punch his way across our screens pretty soon.
A.D. The Bible Continues is shown every Sunday on NBC. It is due to air in the UK later this year.