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Ivan ( pronounced "ee-vahn" ) Braginsky is an actor-turned-acting coach from Russia, working in Hollywood, California currently for the company Auswahl Corporation. He was born in Saint Petersburg, and later moved to Moscow. Ivan's real age is unknown; it is speculated he is anywhere from twenty to thirty. He started his career at an early age in Moscow and has received mixed reviews from critics, some believing his methods to be too harsh while others applaud the transformations his actors go through under his directions. Ivan is rumored to cater exclusively to male actors, but he adamantly denies this, stating he has worked with women as well, and simply has not worked with any in the United States. He is growing popular in tabloids for he does not talk about himself too much, thus little is known and rumors are born. However, this tabloid knows the truth...
Ivan started in show business early. He initially took a musical theatre class, and while he hated it, he participated in many class productions. While he took acting classes, he was selected to play minor roles in Brat 2, Iady ili Vsemirnaia istorlia otravlenii, and Kukushka', all while he was only in his mid teens. After his schooling he enjoyed a brief but successful acting career as a young talent in movies such as Russkii koucheg, and The Return. When he became a coach in 2005 he trained actors such as Pavel Darevyanko for Nevalyashka and Gitler kaput!, Nikita Mikhalkov and Apti Magamaev in 12, and Mischa Auer, among others. He has not done much work besides minor projects in the United States yet, and if he has he's kept it seriously under the radar; even this magazine doesn't know about it.
Ivan was almost entirely unknown as a child and his performing did not stand out. However, when he auditioned for and made it into the acting academy, he was a favorite of his teachers (for his acting; otherwise teachers had a problem with his attitude) and his potential was seen among them; he performed many class productions and a few minor roles in movies. He was mostly successful in the action genre, especially in effects such as faked fights, getaways and the like. He was an engaging actor, full of surprises, and people seemed to enjoy watching him. When he got a leading role, he grew in popularity and even won two awards. He enjoyed a brief but successful acting career till it became evident he enjoyed training more than he did actually performing.
His own coach pulled him into training sessions in which he was an "assistant" – a title not easy for Ivan to grasp – and put his talents in acting to use by "training by example", eventually deciding he should become an acting coach. He coached many actors in Russia and his popularity was fairly high among the rookies, whom he was renowned for "pounding into shape" and among some critics who commented that his methods were "excellent". On the other hand, he also received criticism from directors and other critics who thought he was too harsh on the unrefined actors.
These mixed ratings continued into the other countries in which his movies were popular – mostly eastern Europe – while he remained unknown in the west aside from major film buffs and a few of the more famous Hollywood directors. He came to the United States in 2009 and while still frequently seen as an unknown he is recognized on occasion (mostly from his image being gossiped about in tabloids) and is building a "good reputation" for himself, though he has thus far only worked on minor projects.
Not a lot is known about his personal life. What is known is not too comprehensive: among what is known, is that he lives alone, and has never once been seen in public with a companion who did not appear to be more than business. Thus, it is speculated that he is single, though this has been debated. It is also rumored that the reason for this is that he is gay, though he has never been confronted in public with this notion. He typically greets paparazzi with a good-natured wave and smile, and would gladly spend time posing for pictures, never seeming to be in any sort of hurry but never saying much. In interviews, he seems enthusiastic about even the most minor of projects and is childishly "cute", as put by one fan magazine, but to this staff he seems either genuinely "naïve" or perhaps a naïve facade, inspired by pleasing his sister and mother when he was younger. He doesn't seem to catch dirty innuendos, though he has made them before. It is speculated he has violent tendencies remaining from childhood, and drinks constantly. He's very protective of his sisters – on the mention of them, he becomes sad; on the other hand, if the mention has a negative connotation, he may be provoked.
Ivan was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia. His mother had, at one time in her life, been a singer and amateur model and was one of the most supportive people in his life, alongside his older sister, who lived with the family in Saint Petersburg till she was sent off to Ukraine for reasons Ivan was too young to retain. They have not communicated since. His father was a worker who frequently drank and was very harsh and uncommunicative.
His mother encouraged him to love the arts but he never cared much for the typical – he was a fussy child and refused everything from certain foods to music and colors, and insisted others should refuse them too. His older sister always encouraged him regardless of whether he pushed her away or clung to her side; she was always the closest to him. When he started school he cried over it, clinging to her, not wanting to go and be surrounded by strangers. While he was at school he frequently got in trouble for "violence" – at this age, violence is pushing someone off a swing or taking their crayons – and being controlling. His parents reprimanded him, and his mother frequently was forced to step in when his father got out of hand. It was near this time that his sister went to Ukraine.
In the nineties, political unrest in Saint Petersburg shot up, because of multiple reasons (redistribution of property, privatization, decline of living standards, decreased effectiveness of militia) as well as the typical criminal activity. With the escalation in violence Ivan witnessed countless acts and on occasions even murders. This, along with his violent, prone-to-rage father skewed his views on reality while his mother and previously his sister had encouraged childish behavior. To please them, he acted childish, while his acts of "violence" only worsened as time passed. Soon they moved to Moscow when a job opportunity presented itself for his father.
In Moscow Ivan was encouraged by his mother to keep up musical theatre classes, which he did not like; he did not like to sing. However, his teacher – and mother – recognized a flicker of potential and organized an audition for the acting academy in Moscow. He was accepted as a very raw talent and took classes for four years. One of these classes was a dance class, which he took a shine to, but when his father found out he had threatened Ivan and forbid him from dance after the class had gone the full term. He began to perform in movies with minor roles and class productions and highly enjoyed going over his scenes, pantomiming them by himself.
During this time while he was in classes, his mother ordered a divorce, and gained custody of Ivan's younger sister, moving to another country. He still wrote letters to her and they talked on the phone. Being along with his father had caused quite a dischord – more than before – and violence between the two started to escalate. By the time he had finished his classes, he left home. Then he became an acting coach; while his methods were unorthodox and harsh, his clients still commented that he was among the best coaches they had ever encountered.
Though he constantly itched to see his little sister and mother – and did, on occasions, go see them – he decided to move to the United States in 2009 for the bigger film market and to escape the city of Moscow, which, he commented in one interview, he had started to view as a "prison".
- Ivan is an excellent dancer: both at ballroom and ballet.
- Ivan is not scared to act on his threats; he doesn't like to be tested.
- Ivan is a great athlete, with excellent upper body strength.
- Ivan doesn't care to speak much about his past and generally, if he does, he'll be very non-specific about events.
- Ivan has never been seen in public (by the paparazzi, in the least) with a woman, or someone who appeared to be a "friend", thus it is said he is socially awkward or intimidates them.
- Ivan is quite approachable, always kind at the beginning.