Faran Tahir : “I Don’t Access Roles With A Political Or Personal Agenda”

[Wednesday, 6th April’16]: While working on his latest performance Othello at the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington D.C., Pakistani-American Hollywood actor Faran Tahir was interviewed behind-the-scenes interview by The Islamic Monthly where he gave an insight on his passion for acting and why he believes in the power of this art form.

Faran started the interview by sharing details of his tough schedule while performing Othello: “My schedule is very fluid. Basically we have eight shows a week, so Monday is the only day off. Rehearsals were around 8-10 hours every day, so theatre is an intense thing. Once you are in it, you have to immerse yourself and just do it. Literally, all other life has to be on the sideline unlike film and television where you can have some down time”.

Describing himself, Faran stated that he is a storyteller and his medium of telling a story is by entering a character and creating a world. He shared some more information about his background, saying: “I come from three generations of people in the performing arts so maybe it had a profound influence on my thinking, but that real passion (for acting) come from my own core.  It comes from me wanting to share or be part of stories. An actor’s job is to find some level of empathy with the character”.

A very interesting piece of information Faran revealed about what engages him while preparing for a character was that for him, the character’s shoes are very important. “It tells you how the person walks, how the person stands. The idea of entering someone’s shoes is a literal one and a philosophical one. I like to know what shoes the character is going to wear. It’s going to change a lot about the guy. Personally, it’s an enriching process to be able to put myself in somebody’s shoes and find some level of a connection”, says Faran.

He further added that being in other people’s shows would help in finding empathy with them which has the ability to solve a lot of the issues that we are facing currently. When it came to discussing Faran’s character selection process, he said “If I see a role that is so steeped in stereotypes, then I don’t take the role because I feel that is a disservice to myself and to the society. I’d much rather not work than work roles which don’t humanise or see people for all that they are. We all operate in many shades of grey. I don’t access roles with a political or personal agenda”.

The complete interview can be viewed here:


About Faran Tahir

Faran Tahir (born February 16, 1964) is a Pakistani-American film and television actor. Tahir is best known for his act as Raza, the leader of a terrorist organization, “The Ten Rings” in Iron Man (2008). In 1985, he appeared as Bolshintsov in U.C. Berkeley’s production of A Month in the Country. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a BA in Theatre before acquiring a graduate degree from the American Repertory Theater’s (A.R.T.) Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University.

He made his film debut playing Nathoo in the Disney’s 1994 live-action version of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. He has since appeared in such films as Picture Perfect (1997), Anywhere But Here (1999) and Charlie Wilson’s War (2007). He also played the male lead in the 1999 independent film ABCD. In 2008, Tahir played the role of the villain Raza in the Marvel Comics-based Iron Man. He played Starfleet Captain Richard Robau in the 2009 film Star Trek. In 2013, Tahir played President Patel in the science-fiction film Elysium.

Tahir has guest starred on many television series, including Alias, The Practice, Family Law, The Agency, NYPD Blue, Lost, 7th Heaven, The West Wing, Walker, Texas Ranger, The D.A., 24, Monk, Justice, Cold Case, Chuck and Warehouse 13. He also co-starred with Robert Beltran and Chase Masterson in the 2005 Sci-Fi Channel original movie Manticore. He also starred in the medical drama series Grey’s Anatomy as Isaac and appeared on the CW series Supernatural as the Egyptian god Osiris in the seventh season’s episode “Defending Your Life”. He appeared a Ruslan Denisov in The Blacklist Season 2 Episode 11, as Detective Terrence Amos in How To Get Away With Murder Season 1 Episode 10 and as Dr. Alan Kobrine in Backstrom Season 1, Episode 9.  He is also played Frank, Cliff Barnes’ right-hand man in the reboot of Dallas. Tahir starred in the ghost horror film Jinn.

He appeared in JAG in the episodes “Ice Queen” and “Meltdown” which served as the two pilot episodes for the series NCIS. Seven years later, Tahir appeared in the spin-off NCIS: Los Angeles.

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