January 11, 2017

New York Film Academy Acting for Film alumnus Themo Melikidze plays the role of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the brothers responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing, in the film “Patriots Day.”

The film, directed by Peter Berg (“Collateral,” “Lone Survivor”) and starring Mark Wahlberg, is based on accounts from the 2013 bombing and the ensuing search for the Tsarnaev brothers.

In addition to Boston’s own Mark Wahlberg, the star-studded cast includes former NYFA guest speakers J.K. Simmons and Michelle Monaghan, as well as John Goodman and Kevin Bacon.

“I really felt honored to be able to be a part of telling this story for all of the people who were affected by this tragic event,” said Melikidze in an interview with Beverly Hills Magazine. “As an actor, it was important for me to be involved with this project and to pay tribute to the people of Boston, no matter what role I played in the film.”

After graduating from NYFA, Melikidze, who is from the country of Georgia, attained his OPT status and worked for a year with an Off-Broadway show (“The Live In Theater”) in NYC. After that, he attained the O1 Artist Visa and moved to Los Angeles.

“The first months [in LA] were probably the hardest times in my life, since I had no solid place to stay and had no car,” recalled Melikidze. “I was using my bicycle for four hours a day to get to any type of audition. I had one headshot and a few videos posted on LAcasting. One day a talent coordinator contacted me trough the website, stating that the Park Noack Agency wanted to meet with me. Later that week I sat down with the agency and, after a few auditions, I was signed for theatrical and commercial representation.”

Two weeks later his agency gave him a call to audition for “Patriots Day. “ After a self-tape and multiple callbacks, he was invited for the “director’s callback” with Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg.

That audition completely changed his life. He got the call from his agent that they wanted him for the role of Tamerlan.

Melikidze’s role put him in the difficult situation of portraying a wanted terrorist, who was shot three days after the horrific bombings. While it was not easy to wrap his mind around the character, Melikidze stepped up to the challenge, adding, “The most challenging thing was certainly to get inside the head of this individual. Knowing his background of having a family, wife, little kid, a brother and friends. And still be able to commit such a horrible act is unthinkable. But I committed myself 100 percent to the character and really dove into his state of mind, by doing all the research that I could do on the web, watching horrible Jihadi videos that he used to watch, and also having to train with his boxing coach John Allen, who gave me incredible insight to his personal life and his characteristics. But, at the end of the day, what really drove me to portray this character was the absolute hate, disgust and anger that I had for this horrible individual.”

“A majority of young acting students take a course, only skimming the surface of acting, but few have the patience and dedication to hang in for the long haul as Themo has,” said Melikidze’s Acting for Film Instructor at NYFA, Paul Warner. “His passion for the craft, intelligence, and meticulousness in embracing all of its complexities made it clear then, that if Themo was given professional opportunities, that he would excel — not only because he seemed to enjoy the process of building a character.”

“From the Shakespeare classes to acting for film and scene study, I remember all the small details that maybe at that time didn’t seem that significant to me, but when I actually put it into practice I saw how valuable these classes were,” said Melikidze of his time at NYFA. “The amount of people and friends that I made at NYFA is something that is priceless. With this I hope I can inspire and motivate everybody that is attending NYFA, so that they can realize their dreams as well.”

Melikidze also starred in “Beautiful Something” and “The Disturber,” and will be in the FOX series “24: Legacy.”

“Patriots Day” is in U.S. theaters Friday, Jan. 13.

Please note: NYFA does not represent that these are typical or guaranteed career outcomes. The success of our graduates in any chosen professional pathway depends on multiple factors, and the achievements of NYFA alumni are the result of their hard work, perseverance, talent and circumstances.