Fantasy allows us to comfortably explore our existential longing: Nazanin Boniadi
New Delhi: In times of darkness, fantasy genre gives viewers a sense of hope as well as answers to some of the basic questions about humanity, believes British star Nazanin Boniadi, who features in Amazon's sprawling new series "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power".
The Amazon original show is adapted from the appendices of author's JRR Tolkien's iconic The Lord of the Rings book series.
Boniadi, best known for starring in series such as "General Hospital", "How I Met Your Mother", "Homeland" and "Counterpart", said stories based in the fantasy genre are timeless and relevant for any society at any point of time.
"The beautiful thing about fantasy is it allows us to comfortably into a world and explore our existential longing: 'What is it to be human?' The most basic human dilemmas are personified by the archetypes of these characters.
"It belongs to all of us. It's timeless. And I think that's what resonates with me with fantasy, that in a time of darkness, it gives you hope. It allows you to escape and potentially it allows you to answer the most basic questions about humanity," the 42-year-old actor told PTI in an interview.
Set thousands of years before the events described in Tolkien's novels, "The Rings of Power" follows major stories of Middle Earth's Second Age -- from the forging of the rings, the rise of the Dark Lord Sauron to the epic tale of Numenor and the Last Alliance of Elves and Men.
Boniadi features in the show as Bronwyn, a single mother and human healer from the Southlands of Middle Earth.
The actor said she could personally relate to her character, whose journey in the show is one about redemption.
Boniadi was born in the aftermath of the Iranian Revolution and her family fled Tehran for London when she was only 20 days old.
"I always say that if there was ever a fantastical version of myself, Bronwyn would be it because she's a healer. Also because of my advocacy work for human rights. She really resonates with me because she really taps into her inner strength to help the Southlander redeem themselves.
"They overcome the shackles of their past. And so I drew a lot of inspiration from the brave women of my homeland Iran, who I think are on the forefront of the move to democracy and freedom," she said.
Being a part of an ensemble cast like that of "The Rings of Power" makes the actor really proud, she added.
"In particular for this project, because there are 22 serious regulars and they are all such phenomenal actors, it just makes me very proud to be in this company. And to watch it as a group for the first time, the first three episodes, we kept looking at each other."
The actor particularly praised Tyroe Muhafidin, the young actor who plays her rebellious son Theo in the series.
"I was so inspired by my co-stars and Tyroe, you're going to fall in love with him, he's so good," she said.
Muhafidin said he became a fan of Tolkien's work, which was earlier adapted for the screen by filmmaker Peter Jackson in early 2000s with his "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, after he bagged the role in the Amazon series.
"The films came out in 2001 to 2003 and I was born in 2005. So I'm younger than the films themselves. It kind of wasn't my generation but my dad always had it on the TV. I would walk in, watch a little bit and work it out.
"But I never really fully concentrated on watching it or reading anything until I got the role. I did a little bit of a dive and I saw all the messages and the timeless theories of hope and trust. I fell in love with it. I would say I'm a fan now," he said.
The Rings of Power also features Morfydd Clark, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Owain Arthur, Robert Aramayo, Ismael Cruz Cordova, Trystan Gravelle, Sir Lenny Henry, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh and Joseph Mawle.
Sophia Nomvete, Lloyd Owen, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, Leon Wadham, Benjamin Walker, Daniel Weyman and Sara Zwangobani round out the cast.
The show is currently streaming on Prime Video in five languages English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam.