The Working APA Actor is a bi-monthly interview of Asian Pacific Islander American actors in the entertainment world, whether it be theater, film, television, or commercials. It is an inside look at these actors exploring their passion in their craft and how they balance their personal lives with their work. But more importantly, this column is dedicated to knowing these busy actors a little better as individuals.
Over the past few weeks The Taqwacores (directed by Eyad Zahra) opened in various cities across the nation and in the UK after premiering at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. It is a film that will be dubbed as “that film about punk Muslims” but it is so much more than that. At the heart of it all, it is a film that explores the concept of identity and truly expressing oneself without any restraint. The film also opened at the 2010 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and swept the awards as it nailed Best Film, Best Director, Best Ensemble Cast, Best Script, and the Audience Award.
Starring in the leading role is Bobby Naderi, an Iranian American actor who I had the pleasure of meeting when the film first premiered at the 2010 LAAPFF. Bobby will take the honor as the first person to kick off our new column, The Working APA Actor.
Tell us about yourself!
I was born in Tehran, Iran 1984, which was during the middle of the Iran/Iraq war. Due to the war in my homeland, my mother and I were frequently forced to move during my adolescence, which eventually landed me in Vancouver, B.C. in the early 90s. It was there that my mother, a painter herself, decided to push me towards the arts but I was too busy running wild in the Vancover streets, getting into streetlights and being a kid. After getting into some serious trouble in my late teens, I shifted my focus to basketball and then from that into acting. After a brief study at LA City College and then at Douglas University in Canada, I headed to LA to begin my professional career.
When did you know for sure you wanted to be an actor? What inspired you to become an actor?
When I realized how challenging and beautiful the journey could be..I was like sign me up! What inspired me to become an actor was making my mom laugh or embarrassed as well as seeing films and performances which really effected me.
When you act, how do you get yourself into character? We want to know!
Orson Welles said “Rip all the layers life has put on you and you will find a saint sinner rapist doctor king etc inside you”. So that’s what I try and my process which is always evolving as a student to the craft.
What has been your most memorable experience as an actor?
Being on the set of The Taqwacores.
When it comes to auditions, what has been your most awkward/fail one you have had so far?
All auditions are awkward.
Acting requires a tremendous lot of work, both physically and mentally. How do you keep yourself active and level-headed?
Spending as much time living LIFE as possible…trying to experience as much as possible.
Does your Asian community play any determining factor in your decisions as an actor? (ie. taking on roles that may be deemed “stereotypical”)
Not yet..everything I have done I really enjoyed and had a lot of artistic respect for.
What advice would you like to give to aspiring actors?
Tough skin, work ethic, balance…be persistent, very persistent! Be humble and finally, be hungry to learn and explore.
BONUS QUESTION: If you were in a zombie apocalypse world, what would be your weapon of choice and why?