Kayvan Novak, star of Chris Morris’ Four Lions, Syrianna and mastermind behind Channel 4 sitcom Facejacker (sister show to Fonejacker), sat down with Wonderland to reveal exclusive details of the new series, forthcoming in February. He talked frankly of his decision to film a lot of it in the US and to introduce a horde of colourful new characters along for the ride.
What made you decide to film parts of the new series in the US?
I wasn’t going to be able to get away with playing some of the more well-known characters in the UK. It would have been very difficult; I can’t really walk around as Brian Badonde now without someone spotting me in the street and shrieking. In America we still had complete anonymity, which was great – we could operate pretty covertly and get some really ambitious hits under our belt.
What locations did you choose for it?
We went out there for two months, we went all over, we started in Los Angeles then went to San Fransisco, then Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, back to LA, back to San Francisco back to Pittsburgh, New York then home. I took 11 flights in total. I really wanted to film the second series in the States, the whole canvas of it is interacting with and winding up these American people. When choosing locations, ultimately it’s all about what the character is going to do – it would have been great to film a hit at the Statue of Liberty, but what are you going to do there? So instead we went to a baseball game, which is very American. Terry Tibbs does his own Jerry Springer style show.
Tell us about the new characters.
We filmed the original characters Brian, Terry Tibbs and Dufrais in America but all the new characters we filmed in the UK. There are a couple of new ones, there’s Augustus the African scammer – he now has a twin sister called Augustine who is quite highly sexed. There’s another character called Ray Fakadakis who is Greek. He’s an ex-con who now works as a career adviser to art history students, he’s a really friendly happy man.
Journeying to your past – tell us your first, and worst, acting jobs
I was still at drama school when I did my first job, playing opposite Ross Kemp in a two part drama as an assassin. Initially I tended to get roles like this, when you come out of drama school it’s like “right who’s he going to play”, oh yeah you can play a terrorist. I don’t categorise jobs as best or worst, I’m equally thankful for all of my roles.
Do you feel you often get typecast because of your Iranian nationality?
You would have to ask a casting director that. I loved playing those types of roles though, I felt sorry for all the white actors in my class who had slightly more competition. Ultimately, you are going to be typecast when you come out of drama school, which is something you should embrace because that’s what is going to pay the bills. I could still be doing the same roles now but I decided to grab my own career and make my own break.
Words: Anna Reynolds