Q+A with a Rising Star : Nima Jafari

By Iman Sadri

Nima Jafari Headshot

July 14, 2019

Nima Jafari is an up and coming Iranian American actor. An alumnus of the prestigious American Musical and Dramatic Academy, Nima has appeared in The Infidel among other projects. He aspires to become a lead on a multi-camera episodic. We have seen Nima performing live alongside Ziba Shirazi on stage. He has a bright future ahead of him in Tinseltown where his talents will go to full bloom. To get caught up with Nima Jafari we did a Q+A with him in Los Angeles.

Nima Jafari is an alumnus of prestigious American Musical and Dramatic Academy

Iman Sadri : Thanks for taking the time to speak with The Persian Observer. Please describe your early life and education prior to college.

Nima Jafari : I was born into a nuclear family though we’re a peaceful bunch. I was the last one, my sister, the heart and soul of my universe is 5 years older than me. Was luckily injected with sports & music through my father and my mother filled our home with poetry, beauty and wonderlust. We would regularly rescue cats and dogs because Hamedan is a cold city. I am the only Hamedani in my family. Everyone else is Tehrooonie Gherti.

In school, they taught us boyhood and lessons. After school, we learned life playing soccer on the streets or in the backyard with plastic soccer balls that 3 of them would make one decent ball to play with. I of course, didn’t always get to play. Many a time I was sitting by the window watching my friends and studying… that resume to get out of Iran didn’t come easy.

Nima Jafari in Infidel

IS : What inspired you to pursue acting / drama ?

Nima Jafari : Since I was 3 years old they would tell me jokes to say at family gatherings so the family instilled the spirit of a comedian in me. It helped a lot that they were all poets and musicians and writers as well. And lucky for me it stayed with me until I graduated from Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific with an I.B. Diploma with Theatre as a higher level subject. By then, the stage had became a home away from home for me and I was learning to get used to it. With the aid of Marina Benedicts undeniable grace, brilliance and light, I nailed my audition in Vancouver and became a proud alumnus of The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles. Because of AMDA, I got to live for 7 months in NYC too which was another theatre bootcamp to itself. When we learn how powerful stories are and why a pen is mightier than a sword, then to master the art of telling a good story becomes a very fun and rewarding game. And I certainly didn’t come here to be right…I just came to play!

Nima Jafari at an industry event.

IS : What were some of your favorite films and TV Shows growing up ?

Nima Jafari : I loved The Lion Ling and The Mask as a little boy. There was a Japanese cartoon called The Footballers or as they call it in America Captain Tsubasa – we routinely skipped school to catch it. We would also watch a lot of David Attenborough documentaries.

“To master the art of telling a good story becomes a very fun and rewarding game.” – Nima Jafari

IS : Was there an actor that inspired you to follow drama / acting ?

Nima Jafari : Big Al (Pacino). Still does.

Nima Jafari at an industry event.

IS : Can you elaborate on some of your drama / acting experiences in college ?

Nima Jafari : AMDA gave us room to make glorious mistakes. I made a few. That’s why after graduation, I felt ready to take on the world. When we did a reading of “Angels in America” , even though I read for a part I would not play until I’m 40 years old, still it came with a sense of play and wonder. When there is the safety of school, we don’t learn to take risks though… I learned that at Theatricum Botanicum.

Nima Jafari headshot.

IS :What are some Film + TV projects that you would like to audition for ?

Nima Jafari : I was a huge fan of the Big Bang Theory which just shot their final season. I see myself as the token funny one on a multi-cam comedies on TV however as a film actor, I’d be honored and lucky to portray men who lead.

“I see myself as the token funny one on a multi-cam comedies.”

IS : Where do yourself / what are some of your career goals after college ?

Nima Jafari : Ha! Right here. Right now. Hopefully tomorrow too.

IS : What is the key / tips to memorizing lines ? Learn that story the character NEEDS to tell. At the end of the day, it’s about how good the writing is. If the writer captures the heart of the story and writes with a flow, then ‘memorizing’ becomes like learning your favorite song — so easy. No tricks or shortcuts, just a little curiosity required to fall in love with this beautiful wild thing called the Human Experience.

Nima Jafari at the Price for Freedom Premiere.

IS : Can you describe your experience of working on Infidel ?

Nima Jafari : Infidel was a very sensitive time in my life. I had lost my closest uncle a few weeks before we started working on the play , so it was a huge relief to get on stage and allow the Muse to sooth my aching soul. The play itself has caught the essential core of any hostage crisis and the on going battle between religious extremists and those who… cultivate history.

I had a blast working on the play (not sure if everyone else had as much of a good time) but I got lucky. Ted Monte is such a great actor to work with because of his meticulous attention to detail. The play could have been much darker and way more intense but we got it up and sold out shows.

Islam is a religion of Peace (for those who want to understand) and that has been deliberately misconstrued through time but Chritopher Vened’s play masterfully points a finger at the politics and narrative surrounding the subject. Very relevant and timely. Muhammad Ali was a great example of a Peaceful Muslim and he didn’t have it too easy either.

Nima Jafari on the set of Suzi Khatami’s Andisheh Live TV show.

IS : Can you describe your experience of working on A Homeless Odyssey ?

Nima Jafari : Burt!! What a blast! One of the coolest and most playful casts I’ve ever worked with. Some seriously talented artists… even Hansford !!! Things were stressful and hilarious backstage. Ronnie Marmo is unapologetic and blunt in his direction (sometimes too blunt…but hey, he’s a NY Italian-Jew so what are you gonna do?) which is refreshing and nice to see (especially in LA) but I gotta say, I’ve never worked with a writer that is as dark and humorous as Sam Henry Kass. What a beautiful man.

Nima Jafari on set.

IS : Imagine you’re 100 years old and reading your Wikipedia profile. Describe some career / personal highlights you would like to see on there

Nima Jafari : If/when I’m 100 years old, I hope people are using sources much more reliable than Wikipedia to read all about it… but what/why would they be reading? to see how I’ve managed to maintain a balance between the arts and athletics for years on end, as well as noticing my patience and passion for human contact. An array of sports fundraisers as well as humanitarian events , all aimed at solving issues like global warming and poverty. I’d like to open up a few boarding schools where the children are required to learn sports and music.

Nima Jafari headshot.

IS : If you could play the biopic of any historical figure who would you play and why ?

Nima Jafari : This one I’ve been thinking about for a straight week:

Rumi. Rasputin. Imam Ali. Diego Armando Maradona. Bahá’u’lláh. Jahan Pahlevan Takhti. Mahmood Ahmadinejad

It’s always a much more interesting challenge to portray a character based on a real-life hero. In the arts, there is no perfection. But when playing someone, there is always the real life version of them to refer to. True actors shine then. Rami Malek got an Oscar for playing Freddie Mercury albeit Too Soft if you ask me… I can win mine too if they give me a chance. That’s not a threat it’s a promise.

Follow Nima Jafari on Instagram @RealNimaJafari and on Twitter @NimActor. _______________________________________________________________________

Iman Sadri is the founder of @LASmieMagazine and @ThePersianObserver