Alex Karpovsky Is A Triple Threat

HBO's "Girls" actor talks to CB! about working with Lena Dunham and co-writing, directing and starring in two films.

"I totally get what [Lena] wants from Ray."
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Alex Karpovsky might just be the male version of Lena Dunham, his castmate from HBO's Girls. The actor has two movies debuting at the Tribeca Film Festival that he co-wrote, directed and starred in, Rubberneck and Red Flag.

In Rubberneck, he plays a technician working in a laboratory who becomes infatuated with a co-worker. His unreciprocated advances become increasingly delusional and dangerous.

“I love slow burning character-driven psychological thrillers,” Karpovsky told Celebuzz. “We (co-writer Garth Donovan) read about a real life case in Boston along those lines so we had some fun with it and created a few narrative devices to dramatize the story and got into it."

“I love stories of unhinged passion, unreciprocated infatuation. There is such fodder for the exploration of damaged psyches, that’s what I’m interested in probably more than anything else.”

And in case you’re wondering, he is definitely not writing from experience.

“Maybe if I did have that,” he explained, “I wouldn’t be able to deal with it, maybe I’d want some distance from it. The removal allows me to explore it creative ways perhaps.”

So does he ever talk shop with Dunham on the set of Girls?

“No, I’m just an actor on the show and I feel like I do my best acting when I keep all my other hats in my closet back in my apartment. I just want to focus on one thing. I don’t want to cloud everything up. Also, I know Lena’s clearly very busy on-set. I don’t want to talk to her about anything else but my job, which is to make sure Ray’s engaging.

“It’s really fun to play him,” he continued. “Lena just writes so clearly, at least for me. I totally get what she wants from Ray. I understand how he reverberates to other members of the group and where he fits into the whole constellation of the Girls universe. I have a little bit of an advantage because I worked with Lena before on her film Tiny Furniture. I feel very comfortable working with her and understand what she wants and am able to make adjustments perhaps before she verbalizes them.”

The admiration is clearly mutual. In an interview with The Boston Globe, Dunham said, “I was attracted to his awesome improv ability and unique charm. When Alex and I were making ‘Tiny Furniture,' he felt I was being too easy on him. He did something crazy in a take just to see if I was paying attention and would stop him. I was. I did. And then he trusted me. He’s smart and sly and willing to admit to anything. I love his brain.”

The actor, who was born to Russian parents, didn’t learn English until he entered kindergarten at the age of five. He studied visual ethnography at Oxford University and would like to continue writing, directing and acting.

“If I had my druthers I’d love to keep doing all of them. I feel like if I only did one or two of them I would get anxious. If I only acted sooner or later I’d get an itch and feel like I didn’t have enough creative expression of my own, conversely if I only directed I don’t think life would be quite as fun.”

Girls airs Sundays at 9PM on HBO.

Below, Girls star Allison Williams talks to CB! about Season 2.

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