Chatting with THE BLACKLIST’s Amir Arison: A Light Spot on a Dark Show

Photo Credit: Caitlin Mitchell

Photo Credit: Caitlin Mitchell

Amir Arison plays Aram Mojtabai on The Blacklist, and he’s pretty excited about his character. Perhaps it’s because Aran is lot like Arison in real life. He says, “It’s not exactly like me, but in terms of other roles that I’ve done on television shows, I would say it’s the closest to my own persona in that I’m the guy that wants to do well at work, likes to have fun, but takes his work very seriously; likes to laugh, but also likes to get to business – sort of in that way. The voice doesn’t seem that far away from the way that I talk in day to day life. But, it is a character. It’s not exactly like me. There are some things that are exaggerated, or notably different, but compared to any other role I’ve done on television, it definitely feels most at home.

“There are a lot of things I like about Aram, but I think probably the thing that I enjoy the most about playing him is that the writers are allowing me to throw out a lot of my own humor on a show that’s pretty serious. I like to be kind of a light spot on a dark show. Also, a great thing about the part is that I get to have a bunch of cool scene partners. I love the entire cast. And, every now and then, I get to interact with James Spader (Raymond “Red” Reddington).”

The Blacklist - Season 1No role comes without its challenges, and Aram is no exception. Arison confides, “It depends episode to episode, but, sometimes there are really complicated cases, and you’re shooting out of order with a lot of technical information. I enjoy that. I like the complicated. I enjoy getting in there and figuring out who knows what and how we found that, what this means. Getting into that sort of reveals character. So what I’m working on is kind of verbalizing all this complicated jargon and trying to figure it all out as specifically as possible.”

Arison admits he loves what the writers and producers are doing with his character, but if he has anything at all to say about it, he says, “I think it would be fun to go into Aram’s personal life, to see him interact with his family. Also, there’s one episode where he talks about some of his online dating disasters. Maybe he goes on a date, and his date turns out to be a spy or something; or, maybe he and Agent Keen grow into something more than besties.”

The Blacklist - Season 1Arison says he approaches roles he plays “with a theatre point of view. Theatre is my home, it’s where I come from.”

He also had a three-episode character arc on Girls as Kevin Mimma. No word yet on whether he’ll reprise the role next season.

Coming up for Arison is a Christmas comedy called Merry Friggin’ Christmas. Arison says, “I think it’s coming out this holiday season. The project stars Robin Williams and Joel McHale, and it’s about a father who wants to save Christmas for his son, who still believes in Santa Claus. It has an A-list comedy lineup, including Oliver Platt and Lauren Graham. I play an Afghan immigrant who speaks very little English. I house sit for the family while they are away on Christmas vacation. It was a blast to shoot.”

The Blacklist - Season 1Another project Arison has on the horizon, which he is currently filming, is Jane Wants a Boyfriend. “It’s a little indie dramedy that I did, sort of a romantic drama comedy about a young girl named Jane, who has autism. Her older sister, Bianca (True Lies’ Eliza Dushku) is sort of a little bit overprotective of her and worried about her. And, Jane (Louisa Krause) wants a boyfriend just like her older sister has. The older sister is engaged to my character, Rob. We have kind of an ideal relationship, but it’s sort of stressed out because of the overprotection issue. My character’s best friend also wants to ask Jane out, but Bianca tries to shield her from that. We don’t want him to break her heart or any of that stuff. Anyway, that’s the premise of the movie. It’s really, really sweet. I saw a cut of it recently, and I’m really proud to be a part of it.”

The Blacklist returns to NBC tonight at 10/9c with an all new episode where Liz and Tom seem to finally have a little “heart to heart.”

Cheryl has been a freelance TV/film writer for more than 10 years. Simultaneously, she has worked in PR for Bon Jovi Productions in NYC, PolyGram Records (also in NYC), and Rogers & Cowan Public Relations. Cheryl has published articles at, “Sci-Fi Entertainment” magazine, and “Soap Opera Weekly.” She was also a credited researcher for English author Denis Meikle’s JOHNNY DEPP: A KIND OF ILLUSION. Cheryl enjoys writing for the entertainment industry and meeting new people. She is also an animal lover.