Close-Up: An Interview With Elana Dunkelman

Actress Elana Dunkelman joins us on Close-Up Culture to chat about her role in the new police drama series, Alert: Missing Persons Unit.

Hi Elana, You star in Alert: Missing Persons Unit – a show co-created by Jamie Foxx. Can you tell us about the show and what excited you about it? 

Alert is about the investigations of the Philadelphia Police Department’s Missing Persons Unit (MPU). The team works to find the missing, abducted, or kidnapped before it’s too late and reunite them with their loved ones. I’m always excited to get a booking, but this one was extra special. I’ve never been on such a high octane show before! 

You play Rachel, a forensic medical examiner. How did you prepare for the role? 

Surprisingly I know nothing about forensics! In preparation I researched on YouTube and learned about what the job entails. Being a medical examiner is definitely not something I want to do, but I highly respect it! 

Can you tell us more about Rachel and your experience playing her? 

I fell in love with Rachel as soon as I saw that the writers described her as a “bottle of friggin sunshine”. Although she is surrounded by death, she’s very upbeat and positive. She might have a crush on one of the MPU team members, and it was a real treat to get to explore that. 

This drama sounds emotionally intense! Did you find any levity on set?

I filmed my episodes months into production and there was this lovely comradery between the cast and crew. So although the scenes were intense, the time between takes was relaxed and fun! 

What was the most enjoyable aspect of working on Alert: Missing Persons Unit? 

Getting to work with Petey Gibson, who plays C, a forensic anthropologist. Petey was so welcoming and generous. He’s an amazing scene partner and it was such a pleasure to work with him. 

You’ve had voice acting roles in some big games, including Immortals Fenyx Rising and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. How do you reflect on those projects? 

It was a blast working with Ubisoft on Odyssey and Immortals – especially watching online  as gamers play your character. Fenyx especially was a huge part of my life during the beginning of the pandemic. Recording the game gave me something else to focus on while it felt like the world was falling apart. 

What character would you love to voice in the future? 

I would love to play an evil villain in a game or an animation series. I’m usually the sweet, kooky, dorky type and it would be a blast to voice an entirely different kind of role. There’s also a challenge in playing a villain where you need to make sure they have a reason for their choices – a villain doesn’t believe they’re a villain after all! 

What are your plans and ambitions for the future? 

I’m currently working on a Rom-Com screenplay with my writing partner. My focus has been on that as well as coaching fellow actors in Toronto. I’ll also be in the first episode of The Boys spinoff Gen-V on Amazon Prime. It’s an exciting time for me and I’m looking forward to whatever new opportunities come my way!

Photo by Kristina Ruddick

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