Fans cannot wait for the Lord of the Rings television series that debuts September 1 on Amazon Prime Video. It takes place thousands of years before the events of the film series and is the most expensive TV show ever made. But who are the actors that snagged major roles in this epic project?
Over 20 actors have starring roles in the first season of the show, including Nazanin Boniadi, 42. Nazanin plays Bronwyn, a human mother and healer who owns an apothecary in the Southlands. She catches the eye of the Silvan Elf Arondir, played by Ismael Cruz Córdova. Nazanin has an impressive acting resume with appearances in shows like Homeland, 24, and Grey’s Anatomy. Learn more about Nazanin’s past acting jobs, as well as some fun-facts about her personal life, below.
Nazanin was born in Iran.
Nazanin was born in Tehran, Iran in 1980 following the Iranian Revolution. At one month old, Nazanin and her parents fled Iran and moved to London as political refugees. She was raised in London and attended an independent school in Hampstead, before she moved to the U.S. to attend college at University of California, Irvine. After graduating, she studied drama at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Her first acting role was on ‘General Hospital.’
Nazanin made her major acting debut as Leyla Mir on General Hospital and its spinoff show General Hospital: Night Shift. She became the first actor to play a Middle Eastern character in American daytime television history. In 2008, she received a nomination for an NAACP Image Award for her performance in the show.
Nazanin appeared in two episodes of Fox’s 24, before she joined How I Met Your Mother as a love interest of Neil Patrick Harris‘ character. She starred in the third and fourth seasons of Showtime’s Homeland and received a SAG Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series alongside her cast. Nazanin also had a recurring role as a villain in ABC’s Scandal and appeared in one episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
She received critical acclaim for her performance in ‘Hotel Mumbai’.
Nazanin played British-Iranian heiress Zahra Kashani the 2018 feature film Hotel Mumbai, which is about the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks. She received a nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role at the 2019 AACTA Awards. The film also starred Dev Patel and Armie Hammer.
She’s an activist.
Nazanin was a spokesperson for Amnesty International USA, which works to protect human rights worldwide. She focused on Iranian youth and women. Nazanin has also been involved in hunger strikes, protests, and speaking engagements in support of human rights over the past two decades. In 2018, People Magazine named her one of “25 Women Changing the World.”
Nazanin used to be in Scientology.
Nazanin followed in her mother’s footsteps and became a Scientologist in the mid 2000s. She even had a brief relationship with fellow Scientologist Tom Cruise from 2004 to 2005. Nazanin reportedly claimed that Tom was “violent” during their relationship and confided in a fellow church member about the romance. She was apparently punished for this and she was allegedly placed on a curfew by the church. She left the Church of Scientology some time after.