Pezh Maan impresses in FOX’s anticipated new series ‘Deep State’
Pezh Maan sees himself as more than an actor. He is a storyteller, with a responsibility of not only entertaining audiences, but moving them. He embodies various aspects of humanity, educating audiences on circumstances they may not see in everyday life. This is a learning experience for the actor as well, who is given free rein to experience a gamut of emotion that he otherwise never would have.
“It’s now such an integral part of my life I can’t see myself doing anything else. I like the work, and the people who are drawn to this particular way of telling stories. One thing we all have in common is the need to tell stories and actors are charged with bringing stories to audiences in a collaborative endeavour that can move people. It’s a very invigorating activity and I find it hugely inspiring. It’s also a lot of fun,” he said.
Maan’s commitment to has craft has earned him a large amount of recognition in the United Kingdom’s film and television industry. His enthralling, antagonistic portrayal as Blofeld’s Chief Analyst in the 2015 James Bond blockbuster Spectre captivated audiences around the world. In the thriller Unattended Item, Maan’s terrifying performance led the film to many of its awards. He has appeared in television programs such as the BBC’s iconic series Eastenders, as well as FX’s hit show Tyrant. One of the most decorated projects of his career came during his role as Houtan Vosoughi in the award-winning French series The Bureau, in which Maan plays an Intelligence officer responsible for investigating and arresting foreign agents who have penetrated Iran. Now, in the upcoming show Deep State, Maan is using his experience and channelling it into his character that audiences in over 50 countries will have the opportunity to see.
Deep State is a grounded, visceral thriller. It moves between the deeply personal story of a family man, Max, fighting to escape his past and the violent, and the dark excesses of government and global corporate power. A a retired Secret Service operative and member of elite British/America team called The Section, Max is brought back into the game and coaxed back into the field to try to shut down an Iranian missile program. The situation is complicated by Max’s estranged son, Harry, who has followed his father into the espionage world and as the series opens may have died in the line of duty. He finds himself at the heart of a covert intelligence war and a conspiracy to profit from the spread of chaos throughout the Middle East. This new American series will be aired on FOX this Spring, and stars Mark Strong (Kingsmen, Miss Sloane) and Joe Dempsie (Game of Thrones).
“I think in the climate of global turmoil that we live in, where international security is threatened from so many different factions, an optimistic and bold look at the world of international espionage that attempts to get close to the motivations behind people’s involvement on all sides can only be a thought provoking and entertaining experience. The beauty of dramatic fictional depictions, as opposed to documentary style exploration of this kind of material, is to be able to imaginatively explore scenarios that can throw up some interesting new perspectives on the crises that we are all affected by. Sometimes that imaginative distance can offer new insights that an objective analysis of the facts can’t achieve. Whether that is achieved or not ultimately lies with how the audience responds to the show, but this show is very ambitious in the terrain it attempts to explore,” said Maan.
In Deep State, Maan plays the role of Kazem Gul, an Iranian Secret Service Agent investigating the corruption within the highly charged and delicate environment of governmental offices. Kazem is the character who swiftly brings to justice the main perpetrator of the treachery against the government. He has been a longstanding acquaintance of the suspects and as such is able to gain their trust to a degree that ultimately becomes their downfall. He is also responsible for one of the most explosive and violent sequences in the whole series. This is where his power is revealed in interrogation scenes and sets the tone for the subsequent turns of events that bring the story to a satisfying close.
“Pezh is an artful actor, serious about his craft and very generous with himself on set. He created a safe environment that enabled us actors to achieve our best work,” said Armin Amiri (Factory Girl and The Wrestler), the actor of whom Maan shares most of his scenes.
Kazem is a military police investigator with a stern disposition and shrewd political skill. Because of such a role, Maan was required to extremely adept when using a handgun. To do so, he had ballistics training with French military personal, and worked on creating the character with the threat of fatal violence ever present. This entailed meticulous handling of the semi-automatic Beretta, a standard issue police handgun, and its firing. When practicing and shooting, they were using blanks, but the handling, loading and firing of the gun had to be as dexterous as possible for Maan to authentically portray a senior military officer. He practiced for hours, allowing for the process to become ingrained in him to the point of instinctive. Firearms are used in the climactic moment of the episode.
To further prepare for the role of Kazem, Maan watched several American made feature films with a militaristic nature, such as Black Hawk Down and The Hurt Locker, to see how others have portrayed an operative in foreign terrain. He also increased his physical training schedule to add some muscle and get leaner. By the time of the shoot, he was in a shape that made the rest of the character choices plausible in the physicality he was expected to portray.
“I find that the discipline of a military character with this much responsibility requires me to shift into a similarly disciplined schedule in the immediate run up to the shoot. It helps with concentration and getting that energy right of a man in a high stakes situation running against the clock,” Maan described.
With the similar role of Houtan Vosoughi in The Bureau and his recent work in Eastenders, the casting director of Deep State had seen Maan’s previous work and wanted him to audition. Not only is he immensely talented, they were looking for an actor with a Mediterranean look. It wasn’t long until he was offered the role. Maan immediately wanted to come on board after reading the script, as he felt the characters were meticulously drawn and the dialogue original, modern and left a lot of room for interesting interpretations.
“I’m thankful that wanted to have me on board this special production. There was definitely an air of excitement in the whole team that was infectious, and it felt like we were embarking on a very high-quality project full of ambition and innovation, taking procedural type dramas to another level of creativity. I’m very excited to see the final cut when the series airs,” Maan concluded.
Deep State premieres this Spring on FOX and be sure to check on Maan’s gripping performance.