With roles ranging from Shakespeare’s Othello, to a concerned father trying to escape Syria with his family, to a playboy arms dealer, to the legendary Captain Nemo, Faran Tahir’s career seems to be bursting at the seams. One of the only Pakistani-actors in the world’s top film industry, Faran comes across as humble, caring and motivated. A trained and seasoned actor who moved from the theater stage to the silver screen, Faran talked to Kamil Chima about life in Hollywood, his journey starting out and his aspirations for the future
How were you introduced to the world of acting? Did you have any mentorship in your early days?
My family in Pakistan has been involved with the performing arts for three generations so my introduction was a natural one. I guess the mentorship also came from there by default as I grew up being part of a family of very talented people.
Over a long career you have now worked with so many of the top actors in the world. But everyone has to start somewhere. What was a fan moment for you starting off?
I started off in theatre and then moved on to film and television therefore I would not call one specific moment as the turning point. It has been a gradual expansion into different mediums and I have appreciated every step of my journey because it gave me the chance to learn a lot.
When was the first time somebody recognized you on the street and how did you react?
It was probably after one of my first stage plays. To this day, it is a humbling feeling. Espe-cially for someone to take time out of their day to say a kind word.
Which actor or director have you most enjoyed working with and why?
I have been lucky enough to work with some wonderful actors and directors throughout my career. All of whom have made me grow and I am very grateful. I always enjoy my work and have never faced a situation where I have not liked working with anyone.
What is it like working in Hollywood and rubbing shoulders with the who’s who of American society?
It’s funny but when you are working together all that does not matter. Everyone is so focused on trying to give all they have to the project. Of course I feel blessed to be a part of the Hol-lywood fraternity and my experience has been a positive one. Everyone I have met and worked with in Hollywood has been talented and I have found good in all.
You’ve performed at an international level and you also possess a trans-cultural identity. How does this figure in your acting?
Your own experience with life, culture, society gives you the ability to draw from all of these aspects. I certainly have tried to use all these as my resources to enrich the characters that I play.
Do you feel you are typecast due to your ethnicity? If so, do you feel it holds you back in any way?
Sometimes one is offered roles of a similar nature. One just needs to be careful not to keep on repeating similar roles too much or it becomes artistic suicide. I try to bring as much diversity in my roles as I can. For example, this year my roles have ranged from Shakespeare’s Othello, to a concerned father trying to escape Syria with his family, to a playboy arms dealer, to the legendary Captain Nemo. Variety is the spice of life.
With mainstream shows such as ‘The Night Of’, ‘Quantico’, and ‘Master of None’ all with South Asian leads, do you think American audiences are ready for a South Asian lead in a mainstream feature?
Audiences are smart. They want to watch content that is interesting, fresh and captivating. If that comes with a South Asian lead then so be it.
What movies do you find yourself watching on a Sunday evening after a hard week?
I think the little boy in me is still alive so anything that will get my adrenaline pumping. The last movie I watched was Jason Bourne.
What do you specially like about Pakistan?
The ability we all have to be hospitable and generous.
What are your future aims and aspirations? Any projects in Pakistan that we should know about?
I would like to keep finding diversity and challenges in my work. There have been instances when I have been offered projects from Pakistan. Would love to work in Pakistan provided it’s a good script and the logistics can be worked out.
And we look forward to seeing farhan play the lead in a Pakistani production!