Playing America’s most wanted man, Abu Nazir, on “Homeland” has made going through the airport a surreal experience for Navid Negahban.
As he tells Gold Derby in the video chat below, when asked by a customs officer what he did for a living, he replied: “Well, lately, I’ve been playing the most wanted terrorist on TV. The moment that the word terrorist came out, you should have seen his face. His eyes popped open, he started smiling and he said, ‘I just saw the season finale, I love the show.’”
However, he doesn’t think dismissing his character as just a terrorist tells the full story. “For us it just portrays a man being put in a situation and he’s reacting to what’s being done to him … It depends on the point of view; how you look at the situation. That’s what determines the label that we are giving to people and personally I don’t like to label people … One of the keys to the success of our show is that we never try to give our audience an answer. We always try to raise a question… and stimulate their mind to think for themselves.”
A prime example of this came in the ‘Broken Hearts’ episode where Nazir makes the case to arrie Matheson (Claire Danes) that the United States also commit acts of terrorism. “It was very important,” explains Negahban, “to show both sides point of view, how they feel.”
And that is something the actor really wanted the show to do before he departed: “When I found out that I’m leaving [being killed off], I said, “Please, just please allow him to say what he wants to say before he’s gone.’”
Looking back, he thinks it was a risk worth taking: “It was something that we have never seen before; it was a point of view that we are always trying to avoid and stay away from it.”