Getting to Know TV’s Most Dangerous Woman

by Natasha Wolff | November 11, 2015 4:00 pm

As rogue Israeli intelligence agent Samar Navabi, Mozhan Marnò doesn’t play one of the many villains on the hit NBC drama The Blacklist, but she’s certainly a unique brand of good guy. Marnò’s character, a mysterious spook who’s joined forces with an American team to hunt down the world’s most nefarious criminals, doesn’t abide by anyone’s rules, and she comes with more than her share of mystery. Here, the actress explains the appeal of the action-packed series and contemplates why, even on her time off, she can’t escape a bit of on-screen doom.

You play a former Mossad agent who’s working with American intelligence to track down some of the world’s worst bad guys. How did you get such a fun job?

I auditioned for the show a number of times before—just for one-off guest stars here and there during the first season. Because I was auditioning for it, I got really interested in what the show was about, so I started watching it and got hooked. I watched the show’s entire first season, and when I saw a bunch of people were getting their throats slit at the end of the season, I emailed my manager and said, ‘Keep an eye out for this show! They are going to be casting.’ And then, a couple of months later, I got another audition. So, for me, it was even before I knew what the role was that I wanted to be a part of the show.

What’s it like for you as a fan to see the inner workings of all the things you’ve been enjoying on the TV screen? 

It’s so nuts! And it’s my second time doing that because I also joined House of Cards[1] in the second season. So, I had been a fan of that show and seen that whole first season before I joined it. It’s been good. Suddenly you’re like in the room that you’ve just been watching and it’s surreal to actually be in that room doing these things! I knew all the actors because I had been watching their work for 20 episodes.

Do you still watch it now that you’re on the series?

I watch it, but when I watch it’s way more analytical. I am just watching for the work and to see how we shot, how it was edited and how it all came together from script to screen. It’s an entirely different experience.

What is it about the role that you enjoy the most?

The writers have conceived of her as tough, very strong and very mysterious—she’s sort of her own agent. You don’t see her getting pushed aside very easily. And as the show has evolved, she has had really interesting relationships with every person on the series.  She is the only character who’s not American and is viewing these scenarios through her own international lens. I think she’s a mystery, but that’s what keeps her interesting. Hopefully people want to know more about her.

What’s next for you?

We film pretty much non-stop, but I am working on a screenplay that I’ve written and I plan to direct. It’s not beginning to shoot but it’s in development. We hope to shoot not on the coming hiatus but the one after that.

After all of the action on the series, hopefully it’s something more lighthearted.  

It’s not lighthearted! Gosh, now that you say that I’m like, ‘Oh, God! You’re right!’ But it’s not lighthearted at all. It’s a drama. No action sequences though. No explosions. Nothing like that happens.

At least you get a break from people trying to kill you.

I don’t think I’ll be in it, so I will just kill off other people—but not myself.

  1. House of Cards:

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