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Interview: Black Bird’s Sepideh Moafi

by Charles Trapunski

Oftentimes, when we are transfixed by a performance in a series, we think to ourselves to note that this performance is first-rate. On rare occasions we look into possibly booking a junket interview or even mentioning in passing to the performer that they were a standout in the role. If we actively seek out the opportunity to dive in depth into a memorable character and role, this comes about extremely rarely. Therefore, we were more than thrilled to speak with the astounding Sepideh Moafi of the chilling Apple TV+ limited series Black Bird. Moafi plays FBI agent Lauren McCauley and we’ve never seen a show or a performance like this. McCauley is in some parts flirtatious with Taron Egerton’s hulking Jimmy Keene, but also scolding, sometimes seemingly mocking of him, defiant, willing, and it’s a tough role in which to get a handle. The series is ostensibly about the incriminated Keene going deep undercover to extract a murder confession from Jimmy Hall (Paul Walter Hauser), into the unsolved killing of a young girl. Moafi acts almost like a conduit for the audience into the extremely dark examination of masculinity from a powerhouse creative team, including novelist turned showrunner Dennis Lehane.

We spoke with Moafi from Lehane’s L.A. home, as the Brooklyn-based actress was in town to attend two premieres of the show as well as a cast watch (and to film the upcoming third season of The L Word: Generation Q). She provided a deep dive into the series, including which scene triggered her during a cast Zoom table read, how she couldn’t even watch the series on a first go as she was “too close” to the filming experience in New Orleans, but went back to watch her own work, which happens “rarely”. She also discussed how as the only woman in the main cast and a woman of colour, her very presence on the show transports the viewer away from the overwhelming maleness, how she worked with a trainer to transform her physicality, and how a little distance allowed her to jump back into what was clearly a transformative experience. Believe us, you will be transfixed as well, and please do watch the series and the interview below with Sepideh Moafi.

New episodes of Black Bird are released Fridays on Apple TV+

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