Inside The Interrogation Room with Amir Arison, Agent Aram Mojtabai
I don’t know about you, but I adore Agent Aram Mojtabai on The Blacklist. He’s meek but earnest, cautious yet daring, stern yet compassionate, somewhat naive but downright brilliant. A wonderful and challenging mix for any actor to take on. Amir Arison took on that challenge and boy, has he delivered!
Over three seasons, fans have watched Aram grow into a force to be reckoned with on the task force. When Arison took on the role, he had no idea where the character would take him and no idea where he would take the character. Blacklist fans love Aram and for good reason…perhaps the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.
Want to know more about Amir Arison? Let’s step Inside The Interrogation Room.
How did your acting career begin? What was your first acting gig?
I did a play in the 3rd grade where I had 2 lines and thru my mom’s encouragement I joined the drama club, but it really was in the 6th grade when I got the bug, I played a scientist who invents a robot friend in a play called “My Robot Buddy” and I remember thinking if I try my line this way, it could work better and then it got a huge laugh – that’s when I knew this was for me, I’m gonna be an actor.
How did your role on The Blacklist come to you?
Through an audition – I certainly didn’t know then how great the series would turn out or how much Aram would grow!
What about the character of Aram do you like best?
Humor. Intelligence. Heart. Dedication. Optimism.
Do you identify with the character?
A lot. We aren’t the same person exactly, but there is plenty of overlap.
Why does Aram seem terrified of Red?
Because Aram is very aware of what Red is capable of!! And Aram will never forget being kidnapped from his home and held at gunpoint (Season 1) – thankfully it worked out then, but in a world of conspiracies and counterintelligence, who knows if someone could successfully frame Aram like they almost did back then – just look at what Liz is facing with The Cabal framing her for Katakurt’s actions. Plus, No one truly knows Red’s angle, and Aram is always aware of that fact.
Why does Aram address him as Mr. Reddington when no other cast member does so?
Respect. (And maybe a touch of fear.)
To what length do you think Aram would go to help Liz, or even Raymond, to clear her name?
I believe Aram would do practically anything to help/protect Liz as well as the task force who have become like family (that includes Cooper, Samar, even Ressler to some extent). Aram cares for Red too but I think Red can probably take care of himself – although I’m sure Aram would certainly help Red too if called upon.
On one hand, Aram seems very law abiding and by the book. On the other hand, I think he is very fair and probably the least likely to jump to judgment or conclusion. Do you think a situation, say like the one Elizabeth is in, would ever cause him to work for someone like Raymond one day, instead of the government? To cross over?
Aram has already done a counter trace on ‘sweater vest’ and tapped the number they were tracking (Tom’s) without a warrant…and it felt “amazing” so Aram has dipped his toe so to speak on the dark side…but he had to, the cabal has infiltrated the government…so nothing is black and white. That’s a big theme of the show, what is right, good, or just is never always clear. And there are compromises and often huge sacrifices when trying to do the right thing. Red tried to protect Liz from the dark side. We all are tested one way or another. Regarding if Aram would ever work directly for Red, we’ll have to wait and see!! He is our informant now so he technically works for us but who really dictates those terms…In many ways the FBI is doing Red’s bidding. We work for each other.
We are beyond thrilled that The Blacklist will be airing a season 4! However, we also know that all good things eventually come to an end. What is something you would like to see happen for or to Aram before the series concludes?
Love. Aram doles out a lot of hugs, I hope someone hugs him.
Will we learn more of Aram’s background in coming episodes?
I think we will learn more about Aram’s character in coming episodes but nothing in particular about his background yet.
What episode are you currently working on?
Wrapping 313 today, starting 314 tomorrow.
Is Aram in love with Agent Navabi?
Crush is probably better word. He cares a lot for her. But obviously it’s gotten complicated.
It never became romantic, Aram might have hoped it was heading that way but alas, that’s not looking so likely at the moment.
Is James Spader an intimidating actor? If so, does that add or detract from your acting performance?
James is an extraordinary actor as we all know and it’s a gift to work with the best. His command, focus, and attention to detail is infectious.
Where would you like to see the character of Aram go as the series progresses?
I trust the writers and producers will come up with something better than I could ever imagine. I just never want to get stagnant – for both myself and Aram to continue to be challenged.
Does Aram have pivotal role in The Director Part 1. Are you pleased to see more action for your character?
Oh yes, definitely thrilled, and this episode was by far and away the most challenging one I’ve had on the series to date – and I worked my tushy off on it!! Hope it comes out well, it’s a phenomenal script by Daniel Cerone.
Does Aram believe Reddington is a hardened criminal or someone on a noble mission for the greater good?
Well, we’ll have to wait and see. Aram is aware that Red always has an angle. Self interest? Survival? Lizzie? All of the above? None of the above? Who knows for sure – that’s one of the things that’s so exciting about his character and the show. But whatever his angle, in the meantime, he is helping us stop all these Blacklisters and that is undeniably part of the greater good as far as Aram is concerned. Does the end justify the means? Or perhaps even more appropriate – does the Means (capturing bad guys) justify the end (Red’s ultimate angle)?
Do you watch the series or avoid it?
I watch. Watching is a great teacher.
What is your opinion regarding the possibility of Megan Boone’s pregnancy being written into the show?
No spoilers here, but regarding Megan, I’m so happy for her and Dan, she’s been glowing!
What has been your biggest challenge thus far in the series?
It’s a big show that takes almost 10 months a year to shoot, just staying healthy and prepared takes a lot of energy and focus. It’s a marathon. And everyone on the series, cast, crew, writers, producers work really hard. It’s a huge collaborative effort.
Is there something acting in you consistently strive to improve?
Always!! We can always do better. No matter what you do, or how far along you might be, there is always something to learn or improve upon in my opinion. And Acting can be very mercurial, the second you think you have it or know it, it will trick you. You have to listen and learn as much as you have to know where your headed, or where you think your headed. You have to stay open!
Do you have any movie projects on the way?
A film called “Jane Wants a Boyfriend” comes out this spring, it’s very sweet. I wrapped a dark comedy called “Before The Sun Explodes” this past summer, and a short film I directed called “Fortress” is just starting to hit festivals now.