Sepideh Moafi – Falling Water
By: Jamie Steinberg
Q) What are the recent projects that you are working on?
A) I’m preparing for the second season of HBO’s “The Deuce” and possibly doing a musical off-broadway very soon. I can’t talk much about that since my team and I are working to see if we can make it work, but the potential tickles me. I’m dying to get back on stage.
Q) Please tell us what is new this season on “Falling Water” and about your character Alex Simms.
A) This season is very different from last season. The creative team (most of which are new this season) have taken the juice from the first season and hyped up the drama and action. The show maintains its astonishing cinematography, but there’s a lot more action, and the characters get tangled up in some crazy shit!
Q) What made you want to be a part of the show?
A) I loved the premise of the show; the interplay between the dream world and the so-called real world and how interconnected we all truly are. This Jungian play on the dreams fascinates me. To top that, the creative team and cast are genuinely good, honest, generous artists and people. You don’t always get that in this line work. People really care on this show and that energy translates so beautifully on set.
Q) Talk a little bit about your audition for Alex.
A) I actually was just talking to a friend of mine about how I felt like I kind of bombed my audition for Alex! There were three scenes and I felt like the character was in the pocket, meaning she came really easy and I just got her (which doesn’t always happen so easily). But for whatever reason I kept flubbing lines in a certain section during the second scene. The casting director (whom I adore) said, “How about let’s move on to the third scene and we’ll come back to the second?” So, we did. I got the third scene in one take and then when we went back to the second scene the same thing happened! Finally, I said, “Just send it.” A week later, I got the offer.
Q) What have you found challenging about your portrayal?
A) There were various challenges along the way. I think the first big challenge was playing a character who’s so by the book. When we first meet Alex she is a no bullshit, balanced, non-spiritual woman who keeps everything in perspective quite beautifully. I can relate to the no bullshit part of her, but the rest not so much! In the beginning she won’t even entertain Taka’s (Will Yun Lee) premonitions about the dreams. She thinks it’s a bunch of hocus pocus, whereas Sepideh would be all about that shit — am I aloud to say shit? In the beginning, Alex is able to create a healthy divide between her personal life and her work, something that’s always been a challenge for me. Once I discovered and connected to the reasons behind her characteristics, she and I became one.
Q) Was there anything you added to her that wasn’t originally scripted for you?
A) I mean, yeah. We always do, to a certain degree. With Alex, she was written as a pretty simply gal. While it may seem like a bit of a paradox, simplicity can be much more challenging to portray. I always load the backstory for how each of my characters’ mental architecture is constructed. In episode five, we hear more about Alex’s backstory and how she ended up working in homicide. As always, I used the script as my map and then I used my research and imagination to create the events that had occurred in her life which amplified her emotional response to the events of that episode. That was the moment for me that put me in the fly zone, meaning the place where I’m no longer spending much time thinking about who she is, but knowing she’s settled within me and feeling completely free in her skin.
Q) When joining the show, was there someone you were really looking forward to sharing a scene with?
A) I love playing with anyone new because anything is possible. Honestly, I was just excited to get in the ring with a bunch of new badass actors who really care about the story and their characters. Although I have to say, I was excited to work with David Ajala because we were friends from another series we did together, Black Box, but we never had any scenes together. It was nice to get in the ring with David throughout the season.
Q) What have been some of your most memorable moments from filming “Falling Water?”
A) Ah! So many! In episode four, Taka enters my dream and that entire sequence is simply astonishing. There was a different energy that night. Will and I loved working together so the chemistry between us was always great, but there was sense of freedom from the drama in that dream sequence. I don’t want to spoil too much, but you can definitely see the joy in the scene. Another memorable moment was a scene I did with a wonderful guest star named Parisa Fitz-Henley, who plays my girlfriend Christy on the show. It was a pretty heavy scene and I remember feeling like it was the first time I had an emotional scene that felt so easy. The dark situation was actually fun to play. That’s a testament to Parisa, who is an incredible actress and our brilliant director, Michael Goi.
Q) What do you think it is about the series that has made it such a fan favorite program?
A) The fact that it blurs the line between reality and dreams and provides the escapist drama people crave while leaving them with some food for thought. It entertains while stirring our inner philosopher. Personally, if a show or film doesn’t leave me feeling and thinking, it doesn’t hold my attention. I think the characters are really relatable, and the subject matter makes you wonder…
Q) You are a part of social media. Do you enjoy the instant fan feedback you receive to episodes?
A) I appreciate it, that’s for sure. I enjoy knowing people are enjoying something I’ve been part of and contributing to other peoples’ enjoyment. So, in that case, yes. Otherwise, I do try and detach myself from outside feedback, whether it be good or bad. It can get you in your head.
Q) What advice would you give up and coming actors looking to get started in the industry?
A) Enjoy the process. Obsess over the process. Fall in love with the work. I genuinely think these are the most important things. I often tell my friends and family this career path feels like living a video game and while I absolutely love it, it can wear on you. Build a lifestyle and support system that allows you to get super cozy with rejection and cultivate detachment. I should say loving detachment, where you put everything you have into your work, your whole heart and being and yet you’re able to let go. More than anything else, just be the best YOU that you can be. So often people try to mimic others because they think, “Well, if they did it and are successful, I can be too!” Not the way it works. Authenticity is a MUST in this industry—and really just key in any aspect of life. That along with hard work, heart and a strong will to persevere, no matter what.
Q) Is there anything else you want to be sure fans know about this season of “Falling Water” or about Alex?
A) Buckle up and invest in a teddy bear because your dreams are about to get cray-cray! [smiles]