Hailing from an arts and literature background, the Pakistani-American actor Faran Tahir is going to be starring in American TV show ‘Hawaii Five-O.’
Starting his career he played Nathoo in the 1994 live-action version of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. Later, in 2008, Tahir appeared in Marvel Comics-based Iron Man as the villain Raza. He is famous for his role in the 2009 Star Trek film in which he played the role of Starfleet Captain Richard Robau. However, his most recent project is The Mad Genius Project which is expected to release sometime in 2016.
Faran has not only made a mark on the big screen but is also considered an explicit television actor. He starred in a memorable episode of Grey’s Anatomy where he played the role of Issac – a well-liked lab technician at Seattle Grace Hospital, who happened to be Muslim. Another famous role he played was that on the CW series Supernatural as the Egyptian god Osiris.
Born in Los Angeles, Tahir is an FC College, Berkeley and Harvard alum, who pursued a full-time career in acting. His family has been a part of the arts and literature for four generations, with his maternal great grandparents who published the first Pakistani magazine for women in the late 1800s. His parents are renowned actors, writers, directors in the Pakistani industry as well as his brother Aliis who is an actor and director.
In an exclusive interview with Pakistan Today, Faran tells us about his role in Hawaii Five-O, upcoming projects and his experience in Hollywood.
Pakistan Today (PT): Tell us a little about your theatre career?
Faran Tahir (FT): I have been associated with theatre for over 20 years now. I believe it is one of the strongest medium of acting. Just recently, I played the lead in an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s classic play Othello in the United States.
PT: How did you end up in this field?
FT: Walking down the memory lane, I always wanted to be an actor. I realised this dream during my late teens and have been pursuing it since then. And I didn’t pursue any other avenues, it has always been acting.
PT: Being a Pakistani in Hollywood, how difficult has it been making your name?
FT: The challenges that I have faced have been more or less the same that any other aspiring actor faces. I have never felt my struggles have had anything to do with my ethnicity.
PT: What has been the most challenging/rewarding role so far?
FT: This has always been a hard question to answer. I will say that most roles in live theatre that require emotional honesty are much harder. You have to bring the same energy, honesty, and commitment every night. I have done stage plays that have run six months at a stretch. To be able to give everything you have for eight shows six days a week can be very hard.
PT: Did the Muslim stereotype affect your career in any way?
FT: I don’t think so. If you see my body of work, I have played a variety of roles throughout my career. Stereotypes are now diminishing from Hollywood in any case. The approach towards sensitive topics is much more balanced because the audience understands that nothing is black and white. The audience enjoys watching complex roles.
PT: Tell us a little about your role in Hawaii Five-O?
FT: I play the role of Lucky Mansour who is a suave, polished and very wealthy Egyptian-born businessman.
PT: How has it been shooting for the fifth season of Prison Break – what locations did you shoot at and what was the experience like?
FT: It was a great experience. We shot in Vancouver, Canada which is beautiful in its own right. We then moved to Morocco. The cast/crew members and I did a lot of fun activities such as ATV riding on the Moroccan sand dunes and going out for dinners.
PT: Any interesting/memorable incident on sets with your co-stars that you would like to share with us?
FT: This is a very difficult question. Every team that I have worked with has been very special, which is why the time spent with them has been memorable. I am lucky to have gotten the chance to work with so many generous and amazing actors throughout my career.
PT: What’s your take on the Pakistani film industry? Do you think it’s on its way to revival?
FT: The Pakistani film industry is doing great. I see a lot of amazing and very diverse projects coming out.
PT: What would you say to aspiring actors who want to make a career in Hollywood?
FT: I would say, stay true to your passion and keep yourself dedicated to your craft. There is no other way to success than hard work.
PT: Any plans of working in Pakistan anytime soon?
FT: I would love to work in Pakistan, given the project is interesting and the logistics can work out.
PT: Any message for your fans?
FT: I would just like to say that be humble and more empathic towards others. There is a lot of negative news coming out these days, and we all need to unite against these dark elements of our society to emerge stronger.