The 38-year-old star has inhabited many characters in his career as an actor, but his turn as Prophet Joseph in a series with the same name gained him international acclaim. He has never come out of the spotlight since then.
Zamani made his cinematic debut in 2009 with ‘Aul’. Since then, he has appeared in a number of movies, including ‘Queen’, ‘Hotline’ and ‘Little Black Fish’, which all were screened by ifilm English TV.
Below is the partial translation of an interview with the actor conducted by ifilm Dari.
ifilm: Do you think you were the best option for the role of Prophet Joseph?
Mostafa Zamani: I kind of feel that the role needed an actor who says his lines without noticing the camera and behind-the-scenes crew. Those who are professional actors cannot be indifferent to such things. There were scenes where I felt I needed to speak from my heart. In many scenes, I did not think of the character I was playing. Actually, I did not play Joseph; Joseph was part of me.
ifilm: What special feature do you think your look had for the role?
Mostafa Zamani: The story of Joseph is a spiritual one. The idea of outer beauty always shifts according to every individual’s viewpoint. So, absolutism is better to be put aside. There are some faces which convey intimacy without necessarily being charming, and this all goes back to the humanity of an individual.
I think that late Farajollah Salahshour was looking for such a characteristic in an actor; and in that case, I had confidence in myself. Albeit, there were some candidates for the role who had a very attractive physical appearance but not the energy the director was looking for. If not, I see myself as good-looking as ordinary people.
ifilm: Did the director lead you in every detail or did you also bring your own ideas into the role?
Mostafa Zamani: Mr. Salahshour held the idea that everything had to be proceeded according to the director’s vision, not the actor. It is sometimes necessary that all the actors perform their roles in the same level; not all of them agree to do that though. The actors, who were selected for the project, knew this is important to the director. My role, on the other hand, had no pattern to follow. I was simply to play the role of someone who is at the highest level of humanity. So, I tried to follow the director’s lead. But, it was not like we as actors did not have a voice.
ifilm: Given that playing the role of Yusuf did not follow any specific pattern, it seems that depicting a powerful picture of this character has not been an easy task, has it?
Mostafa Zamani: The role of Joseph had to be played by someone who had experienced emotional agony. I can say with confidence that in prison scenes I was 70 percent playing myself. Or the scene where I talked to Prophet Jacob, I pictured my own father in front of me because I have an intimate relationship with my parents.
ifilm: How many times have you read the screenplay to ‘Prophet Joseph’?
Mostafa Zamani: Almost 13 times
ifilm: Did you also have religious studies for your role?
Mostafa Zamani: Not actually but I read different books like the Quran.
ifilm: What was the first sequence you played?
Mostafa Zamani: The first scene was in prison where I was told the news that Zoleikha gave the order for my punishment. This was the first sequence I played.
ifilm: Did it happen to shoot a scene more than once?
Mostafa Zamani: Yes, a lot
ifilm: Wasn’t Mr. Salahshour reluctant to shoot again?
Mostafa Zamani: No he wasn’t.
ifilm: Hussein Jafari, who played the childhood of Joseph, has a family connection with you. How was he picked for the role?
Mostafa Zamani: Yes, he is my cousin. We reunited after two years in a ceremony, and I got the feeling that his face shared the innocence needed for the childhood of Joseph. So, I introduced him to the team and he was picked for the role after passing the test.
ifilm: Have you ever imagined yourself as an actor before?
Mostafa Zamani: Nothing is a far-fetched dream for me. To me, everything is achievable. I think being selected for the role of Joseph was something I was destined for by God. Sometimes, it is necessary to let our goal go and make the effort without caring so much about the ultimate goal; and I tried so hard in my life.
ifilm: The story of Prophet Joseph is undoubtedly the most beautiful story about earthly and extraterrestrial love; and as mentioned by the holy book of Quran, it is “the best of stories”. We would like to know your own idea on love.
Mostafa Zamani: I think the whole universe is based on being in love. The only thing important to God is being in love. I usually do not look for things beyond me; rather look for them around me, for instance I seek out love in my parents. To play the emotional scenes, I sometimes called my mother. Hearing her voice made everything easy for me because I love her so much; and I can see the pureness in my parents' love for me. This helps me get rid of any outside tension.
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