At first, Zadegan, knew only that she would be First Lady of a fictional Middle Eastern country. “I’m a researching actress,” she says. “I pored through many of the accounts of famous political families.”
She decided they have muted reactions. “For a life in politics, emotional people need not apply.”
That’s fortunate, because her character has had a lot of reasons to crumble. Within 14 hours, she’s learned that her husband was having an affair … and their daughter was captive … and their daughter had escaped, barely surviving a bomb … and now the worst: Terrorists will release a radiation bomb in Manhattan, unless her husband is handed to them; he may volunteer to do it.
She was considering possible accents, when the show hired Anil Kapoor (the game-show host in “Slumdog Millionaire”) to play her husband. Zadegan adjusted her accent to fit.
She found herself playing a different generation. “I’m really not much older than my daughter (Nazneen Contractor),” she says. That could be fixed with hair, makeup and acting.
She may not be an Amazon, but she’s certainly hardy. She stands 5-foot-9 and looms larger.
“I’m a heel girl – three, four inches.” That’s fine for “24,” a world of big roles for (sometimes) big people.