Shohreh Aghdashloo attends The Expanse press room at Comic Con 2017 on July 22 in San Diego Convention Center, California

If you’re a fan of The Expanse, then you already know that Season 3 of the seriously engaging science fiction drama begins on April 11 on SYFY. If you don’t know why that’s such wonderful news, then get thee swiftly to SYFY, Amazon Video, YouTube, iTunes, Vudu or Google Play to get up to speed with Seasons 1 and 2! It also can’t hurt for you to dive into the eponymous series of novels, short stories and novellas the show is based on, by author James S.A. Corey (aka writers Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck).

Boasting an impressive and diverse ensemble cast (Steven Strait, Dominique Tipper, Cas Anvar, Wes Chatham, Frankie Adams, Chad L. Coleman and Terry Chen among others), one character in particular seems to take viewers by surprise: UN Deputy Undersecretary Chrisjen Avasarala. Taken first with her quick, dry wit and the language of a sailor, what tends to follow is a deep appreciation and fondness for her, as she fiercely defends Earth’s place in the solar system while building alliances to stave off escalating threats to humanity from within and without. Played with sublime finesse by the deservedly multi-awarded Shohreh Aghdashloo, Avasarala has easily been elevated to a fan favorite, not least because Shohreh has endeared the role to herself with her passionate delivery and that unmistakably sumptuous whisky brushed voice.

Are you one of the legions of fans who have fallen under Shohreh’s genuine charms and want to know more about her? Then I invite you to check out our interview with her at last year’s San Diego Comic Con. She was so gracious to make time for us in her whirlwind afternoon of press and panels, but if you know Shohreh, you know that’s just the kind of person she is – generous, kind, caring and funny (to say the least). It’s hard to believe you can love her even more, but come on, who hasn’t been there with fast food hamburgers?!

The Expanse returns to SYFY for Season 3 on Wed, April 11, 2018 at 9/8c.


Whedonopolis (W): When are you the happiest?

Shohreh Aghdashloo (SA): When I see people smiling; the sky is clear; there is no war; there are no refugees; there are no barriers; we have broken down the ghettos and we are all living peacefully next to one another. It is only then and there that I would be truly happy from the bottom of my heart. Otherwise, I cannot laugh fully or be happy 100% when I see there are still people who need help and we’re not sharing.

W: What is your greatest fear?

SA: What is my greatest fear..? My daughter. Her future. I hope that she’s going to be as successful as she wants to be. I hope she’s going to be as useful as she has to be. And I hope that she’s going to live a healthy, happy life. That’s my ultimate wish in this world. My other wishes, dreams, have come true.  I asked my mother once, “When am I going to be fully, 100% sure that my daughter is going to be fine?” and my mother said, “Never! Until you die.” Being who she is – I call her Mother Courage, so you can imagine – she’s right. She’s right! That is something that you can never, never forget.

W: Most mothers would feel the same way, right?

SA: They do.  Mothers are mothers. Children really are like parts of our body. Like my daughter, every time she catches a cold, I call her and say, “Are you okay?” and she says “Mom, how do you know that I’m not feeling well?”  I say, “No wonder why my arm was in pain. It is, absolutely – the connection is there. The physical connection, the mental connection, you know, the universal connection. It’s all there. It’s just for us to feel it.

W: What is your earliest memory?

SA:  My earliest memory would be my grandmother in pastel colors, with her curly blond hair, out in the backyard, laying out the trays of sweets and tea, and it’s right before dusk. We’re expecting grandpa to come and tell us stories about the Second World War. Since I was 5 years old, I can clearly remember because all the stories were so elaborate; my grandpa would elaborate on the stories and that’s why I still remember some of those stories about the Second World War. I’m wondering if they were true? (laughs) But he did such a great job – he was a great storyteller.

W:  If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would it be?

SA: My father. I wish I could bring him back to life. I wish I could have (him) for even 48 hours. Just give me 48 hours with him again so I could just sit there and watch him and be proud of being his daughter. I hope he’s proud of me.

W: Who would play you in the film of your life (assuming you couldn’t do it)?

SA: If I couldn’t play my (own) life, who would do it…  Well, there are so many amazing Iranian actresses, but in this case it doesn’t have to be Iranian, she doesn’t have to be Iranian. She could be South American, Israeli. What I keep saying is the fact that with all these advanced technological gadgets, us living next to each other, breathing diversity, there should be no problem in telling our stories together regardless of our background and the color of our skin or our accents. I’m just hoping that a wonderful actress will portray my life! (laughs)

W:  What did you want to be when you were growing up?

SA:  Since childhood, I’ve wanted to be an actor. And I’ll tell you why: (when) I was 7 or 8 years old I started looking at the members of the family, finding out how they behaved, and then in our family parties, I would mock each and every one of them. And I did such a great job it made my uncle call my mother and (ask her) to “Tell Shohreh not to do me in the future”. (laughs) I did such a great job! I always wanted to be an actor. Always. But what made me believe that I was going to do this was Gone with the Wind. I was 16 years old and we went to the Caspian Sea. My uncle lived there, and he had 6 daughters, just like Pride and Prejudice. [He had] a huge ranch and it was a very mainland style of living. We all went to see Gone with the Wind, and when we got out I told my mother, “I am going to be an actress”.  Any my mother said, “Not under our roof. It’s not going to happen in our house.” But I fought for it. I fought for it.

W: What book changed your life?

SA: My God, what book changed my life? The Stranger by Albert Camus. I’ve read all of Camus’ books. I’m in love with The Stranger and The Trial, but what I love about The Stranger is that because I was very young – I was 14 or 15 years old – I came across this line that any young generation who is not a rebel, is an insult to his own generation. I took that away and it formed my personality. It was customary in Iran to read (Gustave) Flaubert or Camus, and it was a sign of intellectuality. You wanted to read these books and be able to talk about them [at] your parties. Intellectual people would say (tosses head theatrically), “Yes, I read Camus” or “Yes, I know Camus”. That’s why. (laughs)

W: What is your guiltiest pleasure?

SA: What is my guiltiest pleasure? Hamburger. (laughs). I love McDonald’s! (both laugh). I can’t even tell you how much! My daughter says, “One of these days the paparazzi are going to take a picture of you with half a McDonald’s (burger) in your mouth”!  I can’t help myself, I love it. And it’s always drive thru. I just get it and I can’t even wait, I start eating it while driving. And as soon as (I) stop at a red light, I have some French fries. I can’t let go of the French fries! (laughs)

W: If you could go back in time, where would you go?

SA: Late 18th century. When the progression starts – when technology starts its progression, when the modern world starts to be, to become.

W: Thank you so much!!

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