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Interview with Faran Tahir: Pakistani-American Muslim in Hollywood


Best known for his role as Raza in Iron Man and Captain Robau in Star Trek, Pakistani-American actor Faran Tahir talks exclusively to Anousha Vakani for Jeddah Blog about his career, his upcoming works and his recent acting workshop conducted right here in Jeddah.

faran-tahir

Faran speaks to Jeddah Blog

Faran Tahir comes from a family of actors and writers, so we asked him what it was like growing up around artists and to what degree that influenced his decision to get into the acting field: “Your environment can of course have a significant influence on who you are, although no one in my family pushed me to pursue this as my career, on some level, I always knew that this is what I wanted to do.” His father, Naeem Tahir, an actor, scholar and dramatist also appeared in the immensely popular Pakistani movie Khuda Ke Liye. In a 2013 interview with Geek Mom, Faran Tahir explains that he loves stories; whether he’s reading them, attempting to write them or bringing them alive onscreen, as it has been a part of him and his family for decades.

Faran Tahir as Raza in Iron Man

Faran Tahir as Raza in Iron Man

Faran Tahir has appeared on stage, alongside drama and films. He has acted in episodes of Law and Order, The West Wing, Charmed and Grey’s Anatomy to name a few. His films include Picture Perfect, Elysium and Escape Plan. When asked which the better experience was, he replied, “To me, it depends what story we are trying to tell. Different stories require different mediums.” He adds that he doesn’t have a favourite role as, “The way I see it is that one should always give everything one has got to every role otherwise you are doing that character a disservice.”

Faran Tahir as Captain Robau in Star Trek

As Captain Robau in Star Trek

The actor also admits that he is careful when choosing roles that may represent religion in a negative light, he goes on to say that while there are challenges to being a Pakistani Muslim in Hollywood, “There are times when one wants to not be labeled as anything but just ‘actor’. However, things are changing. There are better and more layered roles. Part of it is because we are increasing in numbers and because the market has become more global.”

Faran Tahir in Escape Plan [3]-1

Faran in “Escape Plan” with heavyweight icons of action Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger

We asked him about his latest venture Flight World War II opening in cinemas tomorrow, “It’s a science fiction movie. I play a pilot of a commercial airline. We take off from Washington DC for London and are hit by a freak lightening storm which throws us back in the past. The passengers and crew then discover that we are now flying over Nazi Germany during World War II. It is my job to bring the passengers and my crew home safely.”

The trailer for Flight World War II can be viewed below.

About other future projects, “I just did a CBS pilot for the series Super Girl. If that goes to series I might have a recurring role on that. I am starting a movie late summer called The 11th, and later this year, I will go play the title role of Othello in Shakespeare’s Othello.”

Jeddah was great. It has a wonderful artistic pulse. I would love to return if I am invited again.

Faran conducts acting workshops on and off, and he recently conducted a workshop in Jeddah on the invitation of the US consulate, “It is my way of connecting with other artists. It is important that we share our knowledge and experience. Jeddah was great. It has a wonderful artistic pulse. I would love to return if I am invited again.” Stay tuned for the release of Flight World War II on the 2nd of June, which, judging by the trailer, is going to be a thrilling ride.

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