MAZ INTERVIEW

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You’ve worked with many Hollywood stars and had roles in different productions.
What image do they have of Iranians in Hollywood? Is it hard to get a role that is not the typical stereotype character?

The actors themselves have been very supportive. I think most actors are smart and curious people (at least the ones I’ve worked with.) Many of the people I’ve worked with can be categorized as artists. They have a political take on the world and like to hear about my Iranian background. As for getting cast in stereotypical parts. When you’re good at playing a certain role people are going to think of you instantly when such a role comes up. Whenver there’s a part for a Middle Eastern guy I tend to go out on it. However, I don’t mind playing the Middle Eastern guy as long as I get to play a variety of part. I’d like to play the Middle Eastern guy who robs the bank and then play the Middle Eastern guy who is a secret service agent (like my character in The Interpreter.) The one part I don’t even audition for anymore is the part of terrorists. I think that there’s a very skewed vision of Middle Easterners in this world and a big reason for it is our depiction as terrorists in film and TV.

You’re also working  on the ‘Jimmy Vestvood ‘ project and ‘Equal Opportunity ’. Could you tell our visitors more about these projects?
Jimmy Vestvood is a script I’ve written with Amir Ohebsion. It is kind of like a Persian Pink Panther meets Bend it Like Bekham. We are in the process of getting the project produced. We hope to have Jimmy Vestvood be one of the first Middle Eastern heros in American cinema. People can check out his site at www.jimmyvestvood.com.
“Equal Opportunity” was just a short film that I donated a little money to. It was written by a young writer I know in LA named Sameer Asad Gardezi. It’s a funny short and I’m happy he made it. I always encourage young writers/directors/actors to create their own opportunities – either by writing a short film or producing a play or doing a one man show or whatever. No one is going to come up to you and just put you in something. You have to create it yourself.

What are your plans for the future?
Going to shoot a TV pilot for Comedy Central called “The Watch List”. It’s like the Chappelle Show, but with Middle Easterners. Dean Obeidallah and Max Brooks (Mel Brooks’ son) created it. People can watch clips of the online version that led to the pilot by going to comedycentral.com and entering “The Watch List” in the search box. I’m also getting ready to pitch a TV show with one of the Seinfeld writers, Spike Feresten. (He’s the guy who wrote the famous “Soup Nazi” episode for Seinfeld.) We’re pitching a show about an Iranian living in LA with his family. It’s kind of like “Everybody Loves Raymond” meets “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” meets “All in the Family.” Also looking to find a production company for Jimmy Vestvood the movie.

It must have been very hard for you lately to get some rest and I’m sure that you like to sleep in on Sundays like all guys. But, is there something or someone you like so much that you’ll wake up for at the middle of the night?
I can wake up pretty fast man. I love to sleep though. I’ve woken up in the middle of the night to watch Iran play soccer on satellite TV. Doo doo roo doo doo – IRAN!

Maziar Jan thank you very much for taking time of your busy schedule to answer our questions and making this interview possible. You’re truly a Persian to be proud of, we wish you all the best in the future and hope to see more of you.

         

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