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Hey, Homeland fanatics — don’t miss our chat with Navid Negahban, the actor who scares us silly as Abu Nazir. He filled us in on about Nazir, playing evil and how to scare the s*** out of people with one small “Nicholaaasss.”
How do you get in the mindset of playing a terrorist?
To me, the way I’m playing him, I’m not calling him a “terrorist.” I don’t think any terrorist looks at himself as a terrorist. And that’s how you play it. You find out what he’s fighting for and you try to stay honest to the character’s inner desires and belief system.
“Homeland” goes to lengths to make otherwise “bad guys” like Brody, Tom Walker and even Vice President Walden appear multidimensional and empathetic. How do you think people feel about Abu Nazir?
What we did just opened the window for people to see the other side. It’s not just black and white. What has been happening here in America — we are so separated from the rest of the world, that sometimes everybody who doesn’t look like us is a “foreigner.” Sometimes when you go deeper in the psyche, you realize that we are all the same. There’s no difference in us. The same way you care about your family, so is the guy sitting in Afghanistan, caring about his family. We just need to be fair and honor someone else’s belief system.