Born in Dubai of Iranian heritage, Darius trained as an actor in New York City, resulting in becoming a featured cast member on two current television series: Apple TV+’s “Tehran” (filmed in Athens), and Netflix’s “Sex/Life Season 2” (Toronto). He had his first movie shot in Indonesia, with additional location shoots in Hungary, the United Kingdom, and the United States after auditioning over Zoom from Dubai, where he had moved during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He has trained with Terry Knickerbocker throughout his career – most recently at the Terry Knickerbocker Studio – and turns to Terry for coaching on his many roles.
TKS: How did your role in “Tehran” evolve?
Darius: I auditioned for it from my home in Dubai, but the role has grown since I auditioned. It became much bigger than I originally thought. For the second season, which starts on May 6 on Apple TV+, Glenn Close has joined the cast, and it’s exciting to have such a legendary actress join the series.
TKS: Has your part in “Sex/Life Season 2” evolved as well?
Darius: That part evolved when I was cast. The role of what is now Majid was originally written to be a Mexican man, and somewhat older. But the casting director didn’t find the right person, so the audition was broadened, and I was selected. The part was, therefore, changed about a month before shooting began.
For me, it’s a wonderful opportunity to play a romantic lead, and it’s exciting that both “Sex/Life” and “Tehran” have big followings. As an actor, you want your work to be seen, so the size of the audience matters. I was very proud of the work that I did in a 2017 TV mini-series for National Geographic called “The Long Road Home,” but it never generated the following that had been anticipated, and that’s disappointing.
TKS: How did you start training with Terry Knickerbocker?
Darius: I first studied with Terry when he was teaching at NYU, and I was a college student there. After college, I secured an agent and began auditioning. After a series of unsuccessful auditions, my agent said that I needed more training, which I did not want to hear. But she recommended that I continue with Terry, who was then teaching with William Esper. I enrolled in a two-year training course with Terry, and my career was enhanced immediately. When Terry subsequently opened the Terry Knickerbocker Studio, I enrolled in several master classes there, and I now turn to Terry for coaching on every part that I play.
Terry’s approach is immensely reliable, and that’s why I depend upon it to this day. When I’m taping a television series, the director calls the shots and has the final say. But it’s enormously useful for me to have thought through the role and the scenes with Terry in advance, especially since there are so few rehearsals – and even if that approach changes on set. I may work on the scene with Terry one way, and the director may have a different view, but it’s hugely helpful to be prepared. Having a solid plan in place makes me feel confident and ready, even if I have to change it later. It enables me to be ready to play when I go on set.
TKS: Did the master classes help even after the two-year training?
Darius: Absolutely. At the Terry Knickerbocker Studio, we talk about our bodies as being our instruments, and that instrument must stay in tune. With every training, my ability to use that instrument improves, and I gain more and more confidence in my ability to use it.
As an actor, I look for interesting characters to play. Those characters do not emerge in a single scene; they emerge across scenes. Each scene reveals a little more, and each scene requires me to use my instrument differently. That’s where my training with Terry has been so crucial. The script provides the words and the instructions, but you must create the behavior. Through my training with Terry Knickerbocker, I know how to create the behavior needed for every role and every scene.
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