Homeland star Navid Negahban shares his thoughts on humanity, Hollywood, and more.
Fresh from his lauded turn on Showtime’s award-winning drama Homeland—he played multifaceted bad guy Abu Nazir—Navid Negahban is content but also preparing for what’s next. Born in Mashhad, Iran, and now living in Los Angeles, he began acting at age eight and has also appeared on television’s 24 and in the film Brothers.
Taking advantage of his time in the District (and looking dapper in a gray three-piece-suit) he took a break from visiting family and friends, like professional connector Mark Adelman and Voice of America’s Rudi Bakhtiar, to sit down with Capitol File. See his thoughts about Hollywood and humanity below. Then watch him on tonight’s CSI/CSI: NYcrossover event: he plays Zane Kalim—a criminal who has some important intel for the show’s Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise).
On his role as terrorist leader Abu Nazir
“Playing the character, especially someone who is so multi-layered, it was great. What I loved about it was that the creators and the writers, they were so brave and willing to go into territory that most people were afraid to go [to]. Just creating this character and allowing the character not to be a caricature of a villain, that was very important for me.”
On the importance of being open-minded about others (in real life)
“The main message is that you are free to do whatever you want to do, as long as your freedom doesn’t take away from someone else’s freedom. One of things that’s happening—we are labeling people. But all of us are one; it doesn’t matter where we are coming from. The love inside us is the same.”
On whether he worries about being typecast
“The character that I’m playing in [a recently shot episode of BET’s] The Game has nothing to do with a terrorist. He’s a very wealthy man who has worked very hard to get where he is. Personally, I don’t mind playing a villain. I started with comedy…I love comedy, but I don’t mind playing a villain.”
On what it’s like to play the bad guy
“Everyone says, ‘Okay, you are playing a villain.’ But when you are playing a villain, you are not playing a villain. That person doesn’t look at himself as a villain—he’s actually the hero [in his mind]. And the hero to the audience is the villain to him. I never play a villain. It just looks like it when the film is cut!”