Interview with SHAZAD LATIF | Passion and Love for Acting
Shazad Latif grew up in London. He is of English, Scottish and Pakistani descent but considers himself a citizen of the world. In his early acting career, he played Clem Fandango on “Toast of London”, Tariq Masood in the BBC TV series “Spooks” and he is also known for shining on “Penny Dreadful” and “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”.
In the recently released film “The Commuter”, Latif stars as Vince appearing in several scenes interacting with Liam Neeson. Shazad also can be seen starring on CBS All Access and Netflix portraying Lieutenant Tyler in the hit series “Star Trek: Discovery”, and in the indie film “Profile” directed by Timur Bekmambetov, which is premiered at the 68th Annual Berlin International Film Festival in its Panorama section.
Needless to say, Shazad is a passionate actor which is reflected in how he executes challenging and complex characters. Humble yet confident he shares with The Hedonist his love for acting and his vision of success.
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius
- When and how did you decide you wanted to become an actor?
I always envisioned myself doing acting from young. I did Romeo and Juliet when I was eight and remember getting the costume on and I thought, “this is fun.” My mother kept a diary of the best movies she saw like ‘Tuesday, just saw Dog Day Afternoon, Al was great’, and my father changed the film reels in the cinema, so I was surrounded by good movies from young. Too young perhaps. I remember watching the baseball bat scene in Goodfellas way too young.
- You have worked both in TV and film. How different is the process for you working in TV versus feature film?
The process is the same for me except that film has way more time. TV is far too rushed. This has changed a little with the money TV has recently. But I prefer the process of making, say, an indie movie to a large-scale production. It feels more tender and quiet and relaxed.
- Becoming someone else is part of your routine as an actor. What do you feel when you bring a character to life?
It’s hard to say what I feel when acting as another character. Hopefully I’m feeling the emotions of whatever character I’m playing and not thinking about it too much. I’m always trying to get back that feeling that you have as a child. They have a glaze over their eyes and really believe their play. That’s what we have to do as adult actors and it is what kids do so effortlessly.
- You are currently starring in the CBS All Access hit series “Star Trek: Discovery” embodying two characters – Lieutenant Ash Tyler and Voq. Can you tell us a bit about this dual role and how you prepared for it?
The dual role was exciting and scary at the same time. I locked myself in the apartment I was staying in and just tried things out for two months. As well as all the normal prep and research and reading one does for a role. But the play time and experimenting is the real preparation. Then letting go on the day and creating and staying in that imaginary world on set and when they say, “Action”. Preparing two different styles was also fun. The voice and classical style of the Klingons and the naturalistic emotional side of Tyler and blending the two.
- What is the most complex character you brought to life on screen so far?
Definitely Tyler and Voq.
- Do the characters you are playing influence you as a person in any way? If so, how?
Yes, I think so. You can get caught up in moment to moment emotions on the day without realizing. And also, for a long period to think about one thing it can change your behavior for good and bad. During Penny Dreadful in Ireland, I spent a lot of time reading dark horror stuff and in a hotel room alone with whisky is a dangerous combo whilst exploring one’s dark side.
- What is your biggest desire at this moment?
That the indie film I just did “Profile” makes a little splash at the Berlin Film Festival and that I learn how to breathe properly.
- Which A-list actor or director would you love to work with and why?
Asghar Farhadi directing wise. He is the master of making a family drama feel like an action movie.
- How do you envision your future as a creative professional?
As an actor who has the ability to be in the films I want, indie movies and big movies. Working with the best directors and producers, and also producing and writing my own work.
- Being an actor requires a lot of energy to focus on different parts of the process. Do you have any habit that sets up your day to make it successful?
Habits. I have started cold showers in the morning. I do chakra frequency vocal warm ups. I walk a lot. Yoga. Laughing.
- Based on your filmography, your career has been a succession of opportunities that allowed you to grow quickly. What do you believe is your secret for such success?
I believe I have worked hard and have always trusted my abilities and envisioned myself where I am but also have been lucky and have had other people believe in me.
- The Hedonist Magazine’s motto is “You can be, do and have anything you want,” words by Abraham Hicks. What is your take on such a statement?
I agree, but only circumstances willing. It’s easier for some than others in this life. But my late father always used to say, you have to grab the bull by the horns. The belief and visualizing are everything, I think. And never giving up. Never.