What are the recent projects that you are working on?
I just wrapped the finale of “24.” We were shooting a little longer than we expected. I am also working at the Marc Taper Forum on a really great play called “Bengal Tiger” and we run through the 30th of May. Then, I’ll be heading up the Frameline Festival where my film Elena Undone opens. Shortly after that, the film I worked on last year will be released called Unthinkable.
What can you tell us about the final season of “24” and about your character Dalia Hassan?
I love this season! I love it so much. The character of Dalia has really grown so dramatically over the course of the season. She has gone from bitter wife to worried mother to martyr’s wife to widow. Now, I am a world leader. That’s what’s been going on all in one day. I watch the show and I watched the show before being on it. I think it is just a great show, but is just unbelievable this season. They have taken the show up a couple notches this season. The next few episodes coming up are just terrific.
What made you want to be a part of the show?
I didn’t know it was going to be the final season of “24” when I started working on it. What really made me want to be a part of it was that I loved the show. I think it is one of the absolute best shows on television ever. At the time when it first came out, it was really ground breaking and to be a part a show that sets a standard for television is a wonderful opportunity. Besides that, I always look at the character first and the biggest real draw was Dalia Hassan. This is a character I wanted to play all my life and I didn’t realize I would get the opportunity to play her so early in my career. I thought it would be later. She’s such an elegant and strong woman. It’s a real joy to research her and create her with the writers. I always saw her as this way in my head and then the character came my way in the shape of Dalia Hassan. I was really eager to jump on it.
What about the role did you find challenging?
She’s so different than the person I am in real life. All of the challenges make it interesting, just on physicality alone. It’s so specific. There are ways in real life that I sit that Dalia would never sit. All of those things made it challenging, but also interesting. Every script that I got and every episode I would look for the scenes and would say, “Oh my gosh! How am I going to say this?” Because of the emotional ups and downs in the course of the season, I’ve always tried to remember that it was just happening an hour ago. When you watch the show, you wait from week to week so it kind of seems like a long duration of time. Really, their lives happen in a day and there is so much that goes on. Those things are challenges, but also exciting. The more that I would research her the more interesting she would become. Finding that research also became a challenge because the first time became a standard I would want to meet.
Was there instant cast chemistry when you began working together or did it take some time for everyone to gel?
It’s kind of a surprise, but there was instant chemistry. I think the show is so wonderful and everyone who works on it from the writers to the producers to the crew to all the actors. You have all these Broadway trained actors on the show. They are not people who fell off the turnip truck. These are studied and experienced folks. I think everybody who works on the show recognizes not just the importance of the show, but also the wonderful writing. You don’t come across wonderful scripts every day, but when you do then you know it. The writers are such fans of the show and I think that in turn makes it so easy for you to do your job. You just show up and everybody is doing their part. So, you just have to do your part. It’s so much easier when you don’t have to worry about anybody else. You don’t at all on “24” because everyone is on top of their game. I think that’s why perhaps our chemistry was so instant. Kiefer shows up on the set and he’s “Jack,” the guy. He doesn’t have to be so caring, but he certainly is. He shakes everybody’s hand and calls them by name. I think that in turn creates a happy environment.
What was your most memorable moment from filming “24?”
You’ll just have to wait and see coming up my most memorable moment. There are so many memorable moments, but I would say it was my last day of shooting. Some people had already gone, but the scene work was wonderful. It was the culmination of what we have been working towards, in regards to my character. It was kind of the culmination of what had been going on within her emotionally, all day long. To see all of that come to fruition and to be able to work on that was wonderful. Everybody was on set that day with all of the producers and it is kind of a family over there since they have been working together for ten years now. I didn’t want to leave because it was bittersweet. It was a sweet wonderful moment combined with it being my last day.
Why do you think people have continued to tune in to watch the show?
It’s just as I was saying earlier about it being a groundbreaking show with the style of it. When it first came on it was so different because it was so new that it definitely interested people. People don’t just stick around for novelty though. The show is backed by incredible actors and amazingly talented writers. The way they keep you so intensely riveted at the end of each episode…Just reading it when I would get it, at the end of the script I would not be able to wait. It’s the way they keep the suspense heightened. I have friends that are really fans of the show and some of them will wait until the end of the season and buy the DVD collection because they can’t wait. I think this season they did a really cool thing in that they aired a couple of the episodes back-to-back. It kind of helped fans who couldn’t wait.
Where can people go online to learn more about you?
I have a Twitter page, which is @Zadegan. I also have an Internet Movie Database page. I do have a Facebook page. I was trying to stay off the grid for a little bit, but it was too much fun.