Originally born in Tehran, Iran, the breathtaking actress Nazli K. Lou is a force to be reckoned with both on and off the silver screen. Her most recent film For the Birds has brought to light the traumatic and true story of a young Iranian woman named Atefeh, who was wrongly accused and put to death in a public execution. Read more about this gifted actress in our interview below!
PL: Can you tell us a little bit about the film and television projects you’ve done?
NKL: I was cast in an independent feature film called Parts of Disease where I play the wife of a potential terrorist and FBI agent who is heavily involved in an investigation.
I also starred in the film For the Birds, which has been incredibly successful on the festival circuit. The film has won several awards and was recently screened at Cannes.
PL: Can you tell us about the making of the film For the Birds, and some of the festivals it’s been to?
NKL: It was a challenge to prepare for this part, but my entire being was dedicated to perfecting this character. I play a 16-year-old girl who is getting publicly executed; not only is she a minor, but she is also innocent.
We wanted to make sure we captured the essence of the girl, so there were a lot of rehearsals and discussions that went into the character’s development. As the lead, I had a lot of one on one time with the director, which made the filming process go smoothly. On the first day of shooting I arrived on set and it was still dark outside. I will never forget the moment where I stood in front of the justice sign and the feeling that ran through my body. I knew I could not change the past, but I was thankful to have the opportunity to do this tiny act that will hopefully change the future.
Our movie won best short at Cleveland Film Festival, Spokane Film Festival, Best Female Director at both the Directors Guild of America and the World of Women Cinema in Sydney.
The film was also an Official Selection at the following Film Festivals: Cannes, Montreal, Vancouver, Sedona, Rome, Bend, New Port beach, Hollywood Reel, New Film Maker LA, Cinequest, Denmark, and the list growing each month.
PL: How did the fact that you were playing a non-fictional character affect your feelings about the role and your overall preparation for the part? (ie: were you more motivated to bring the trauma and truth of the character’s experience to life etc.)
NKL: I wanted to portray this character in a way where the audience could feel the every emotion that was going through this child who was wrongly accused of crimes against chastity and was executed with no chance of having legal representation nor her family informed of her sentencing. Yes, it did affect my feelings and made me more determined to make sure I delivered the message.
PL: How do you feel about the finished product of For the Birds?
NKL: I am very pleased. As you can imagine, just like any other project, we had complications during shooting the movie. However, I can’t stress enough how much all the cast and crew did to make this movie happen. It was almost like the purpose of this movie was pulling us all together to give our 100%. Of course the response we have had so far speaks for itself.
PL: Can you tell our audience a little more about the film Parts of Disease, and how you prepared for the role?
NKL: Four Graduate students travel to various sites of US terrorism for a school project. After one of them disappeared, and was discovered to be linked to people on the terrorist watch list, there is suspicion that he may have been plotting a terrorist attack of his own.
I had to create the character of Kalila who is a Middle Eastern woman married to a potential terrorist and also an undercover FBI agent. Obviously she is torn between decisions and plays a very significant role in how the story evolves.
PL: Your roles in theses films are very different, what made you choose to participate in them?
NKL: When I auditioned for the film For the Birds I was very touched by the story. I felt like it was my obligation and duty as an Iranian woman to use my skills to bring the story to the attention of the world and raise awareness about child executions, which are still happening in many countries around the globe today. What better way to bring such horrific act to the attention of people than through the power of film.
PL: You get approached all the time to work on projects with people, what makes you pick one role over another?
NKL: Its important to me who I work with, and what message I am conveying.
PL: What do you feel has been the most important role of your career?
NKL: My part in For the Birds, because of the film’s message, as well as the amazing cast and crew. Everybody involved in this project did an excellent job and I believe that we were all touched by the story and that is what brought us together.
PL: As for genre, what is your favorite? (Comedy, Drama, Horror, etc.)
NKL: I am open to all genres, however I have been involved in dramas mostly. I was recently selected out of approximately 600 people to be a part of the Persian version of SNL. So I am very excited about that. I am too scared to watch horror movies, but I would love to be in one. Maybe after a part in a horror movie my fear of watching them will disappear too.
PL: What projects do you have coming up?
NKL: My SNL Persian comedy that will be broadcast internationally on a weekly basis.
PL: Can you tell me a little more about the show? Has the name been announced, and will you be a regular star?
NKL: We are at the early stages of creating this show. Very similar to SNL style, so we will have skits and involve current affairs in our work. Yes I will be a regular and am very excited to explore comedy.
PL: What do you hope to achieve in your career as an actress?
NKL: Difficult question. Basically to do the best I possibly can. I think for any job or career to succeed you must deliver your best efforts and fight your battles. It is important to me to be part of projects that make a difference, whether they aim to raise awareness or serve as entertainment.
PL: Why did you choose this profession?
NKL: I love the fact that I can tell a story and bring a character to life.