Maybe you’ve seen this week’s guest, Arian Moayed, playing the role of Stewy on HBO’s Succession. Or in the breakaway hit, Inventing Anna, as Anna Sorokin’s lawyer, Todd Spodek. Or, Agent Cleary in last year’s megahit, Spider-Man: No Way Home. And, you’d think, “wow, he’s everywhere, how lucky is he!” And, you’d be half-right. Arian is everywhere these days. But, luck? Not a chance. There is something much bigger at play. I’ve been blessed to call Arian and his beautiful family friends for many years. He is one of the most generous and kind-hearted humans you could meet. With a stunning work ethic, fueled by genuine passion. And, like most actors, he spent years being told “you can’t do that.” But, to him that just meant, make it happen on your own terms. “Do” your way through it. And that ethos, in his case, came from a very different place than most. From his earliest years, it was a way of life.
Arian’s family fled Iran under threat of violence when he was a child, taking a years-long journey that split the family between different countries, and eventually landed them just outside Chicago, where they set about building a new life in a radically different world. Acting became a fast passion, a way to express his feelings, his passion, and experiences and, in short order upon becoming an adult, his career. But, Arian also realized that he often thought and saw things differently, he wanted more control, more ability to tell the stories he felt needed to see the light of day. Stories that others often turned away from. And, he also saw a way to tap the power of performing arts to awaken a sense of compassion and shared humanity in others. But, he knew he’d have to build his vision, his way, from the ground up.
So, while honing his craft and acclaim as an actor, he also began devoting more and more energy to writing, producing, and teaching. Co-founding the theater/film production and arts education venture, Waterwell, his heart is most boldly on display in guiding the growth of teachers and 6-12th graders in New York City’s free theater training program, and exploring not just performance, but citizenship, service, equality, advocacy, justice, and what it means to be human. We all need more of that these days. Arian is constantly pushing the envelope of what’s possible. Not because he’s any more fearless than others, but because he knows that fear is a signal that what he’s doing matters, and that it’s up to him to turn that emotion into action and impact.
We’re so excited to share this Best Of conversation with you today.
If you LOVED this episode:
- You’ll also love the conversations we had with James Victore about meeting rejection and adversity and taking on a “just watch me” stance.
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