In television and film, Faran Tahir has long been relegated to projects that cast him as “that Middle Eastern guy”. Look through his resume and you’ll find a laundry list of typecast characters dating back to the early 1990s like “Mr. Halawi”, “Dr. Singh” and “Mr. Khan” on select episodes of 7th Heaven, Family Law and Law & Order, among many others. It’s a shame, really, because the classically trained stage actor (who comes from a well-known theatre family in Pakistan) is rather extraordinary. Thankfully, the last few years have been kind to the 47-year-old thesp, with appearances in Charlie Wilson’s War, Iron Man and Star Trek making him a bit more recognizable to American audiences and opening a few doors.
The next door that Tahir will walk through will be that of Warehouse 13, Syfy’s hit series about a secretive South Dakota facility that houses supernatural artifacts that the U.S. Government has collected over the centuries and the pair of U.S Secret Service agents charged with retrieving the missing objects and investigate reports of new ones. Entertainment Weekly reports that Tahir will appear in at least two episodes as Adwin Kosan, one of the mysterious and powerful “Regents” tasked with keeping the Warehouse safe. Adwin, who arrives to handle an escalating crisis, makes a shocking pronouncement that threatens to tear apart the team. Season 2 (which premieres on July 6th) already has a gaggle of genre-saavy guests, including Bionic Woman Lindsay Wagner, Firefly‘s Sean Maher and Eureka‘s Neil Graystone; a roster that Tahir rounds out nicely.
I always enjoy seeing more ethnicity on the airwaves, so this news makes me giddy. If a show like Lost can thrive with a multi-national cast, there’s no reason that other program’s can’t make it work, too. A colorful set of characters can go a long way and it’s only a matter of time before production companies and distributors realize that they can strengthen the international appeal of their product by simply thinking outside the box in terms of casting.