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Interview – Afsaneh Dehrouyeh – ‘Tyrant’ – A Feature Film


Posted September 25, 2016 by

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Interview – Afsaneh Dehrouyeh

British actress Afsaneh Dehrouyeh has not long been out of drama school and is already making her mark on the entertainment world.  This actress is starring as the fearless and reckless student Mahdiya Kattan, in Howard Gordon’s Middle Eastern drama ‘Tyrant’.

The storyline of this TV drama develops around a man who is the dictator’s youngest son. Along with the members of his American family he returns to the Middle-East, to his home country, torn apart by a horrible war. The intricate plot and a stellar cast makes Tyrant a great watch and a real fan favourite.

British-Iranian actress Afsaneh Dehrouyeh began her acting career at the tender age of 11 at the Playhouse Theatre in Cheltenham. After gaining a BA Hons in Drama and Theatre Arts at the well-respected Goldsmiths University in London, she went on to train at the International School of Screen Acting in London.  Afsaneh went on to star in ‘Fressia’, Britain’s first film about Islamophobia, as Muslim activist Khadija.  Now she stars as the strong willed university student Mahdiya Kattan, in the much loved series ‘Tyrant’.


To begin with, lets talk about your latest release ‘Tyrant’, which is now in its third season- what is it about?

Tyrant is set in a fictional Middle Eastern country called Abuddin. It focuses on the culture and politics of the Middle East, but with dramatic effect for entertainment purposes. It portrays the power struggle of a country that fights for democracy, and how that can affect people of all ages and backgrounds, from the local university and the palace, to caliphate territory. It’s fascinating how by the third season, the lines between what makes a person good or bad are so blurred that you question morality and how people make judgements in society. At the end of the day, everyone is fighting to survive.

How did you get involved with the project in the first place?

My agent got me the audition for Tyrant. A lot of the casting happens in London by Ros and John Hubbard because it’s shot in Budapest.

Tell us about the character you play; Mahdiya Kattan…

Mahdiya starts off as student at University, but she struggles with accepting that it’s where she is supposed to be. She believes there’s more out there for her but she doesn’t know what. Some political decisions made in Abuddin like controlling where people are allowed to pray, causes her identity struggle to become clear to her, and consequently she leaves everything behind to join the Caliphate. She ends up falling in love with the main antagonist, Ihab Bin Rashid and thinks she’s found her calling in life. She knows that she is getting up every morning to fight for a cause that is everything to her and she’s also about to get marry the man she loves. But unfortunately it doesn’t end up working out the way that she wants it to.

What are your influences as an actress?

Everything that influences me generally definitely influences my acting, it’s all useful. I’m influenced by the people I surround myself with on a daily basis. I surround myself with good, positive friends that are creative and inspire my drive to create more. I make sure that I learn something every day, whether it’s watching a film and studying the performances or reading an article about someone I look up to or a book- True and False by David Mamet is always a good one to go back to and I love all of Anthony Meindl’s books. Even if it’s just taking fifteen minutes out of my day, it’s so worth it.

Where & when can we see ‘Tyrant’?

Tyrant airs on FOX every Monday at 9pm.

What is the next step for you? Do you have any other projects in production?

I co-founded my production company Scadoo Pictures, nearly a year ago and our first short film is currently in post production. We’ve started submitting it for festivals and have other projects we’re now working on. I will also be acting in a film called Pegah by Javid Rezai. I play the title character, she’s grown up in a traditional Iranian family in England and she has come to a point where she is gaining independence, discovering who she wants to be and what she wants.  She hits some unexpected hurdles along the way.


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