Shila Ommi Talks ‘Tehran’ Season 2 and the Power of Storytelling [Interview]

Season 2 of Israeli spy thriller Tehran is well underway. In a series of masterclass performances, Shila Ommi remains a standout, playing Naahid Kamali. 

Tehran is part of the current slate of Israeli television to achieve critical success in the United States, Canada, and around the world. Fauda, Shtisel, and most recently The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem are just examples of the variety of shows fans of Israeli TV have to choose from. 

As Tehran Season 2 continues, I had the opportunity to speak with Shila Ommi about her character, and her experience on the show. We also spoke about her working relationship with Shaun Toub, and her lifelong talent for voice acting.

Right from the beginning, Ommi emphasizes how important it is to have female characters take centre stage in media. “It’s so important to see more stories about women because you’re seeing more stories about yourself”.

Shila Ommi and Glenn Close in “Tehran,” now streaming on Apple TV+

Her character on Tehran, Naahid, is the wife of Agent Faraz Kamali played by Shaun Toub. Tehran isn’t the first time Ommi and Toub have collaborated on a project. They starred together in an episode of Little America as husband and wife also.

Interesting, Toub’s characters in both projects are named Faraz. Ommi spoke about how her friendship with Toub has developed overtime. When asked if she hopes to work with him again on future projects, her answer is a resounding, “I hope so!”.

Because Tehran is an Israeli project, I had to ask Ommi about her experience working on an Israeli production. “Because of working on Tehran, I realized how crazy I am about Israelis!” She also watched the show Fauda to get a sense of what to expect from Tehran, since the shows come from the same creators. 

I also had to get the about Ommi’s work on “NOPM: Special Forces”, an animated series. On it, Ommi provides the voices for each of the characters, male and female. “As a child I had an affinity for voiceover” she explains.  “I just did a very deep voice (for NOPM: Special Forces) but then did different variations”. Pitches were then adjusted after recording. This series makes for fascinating listening, and is an insight into Ommi’s talent.

Photo Credit: Apple TV+

Ommi was also commissioned to write a play by the Los Angles Department of Health. With COVID protective measures in place, she had to get creative. Actors were filmed separately, and through the magic of editing, made to look like they were carrying on a conversation in real time. This was a topical project, considering how profoundly mental health has been impacted during the pandemic.

Ommi was also kind enough to provide Persian music recommendations, and emphasized how important music and art are to a culture. She spoke about the Persian language being incredibly melodic, and naturally lending itself to music of all varieties. 

For those looking to become acquainted with ancient Persian music, she recommends Shajarian. For those looking for more modern, pop music, she recommends Googoosh, a Persian pop icon, Ebi, Andy, Dariush, and Nanjou to name a few. There are many Persian artists exploring different music genres including rap and hip-hop. There’s even a Persian rap artist named Justina! Ommi was in a YouTube video, entitled “A Century of Iranian Popular Music in 4 Minutes”. It’s worth checking out for those looking for an introduction. 

Finally, when asked about her future projects, Ommi is mum. “You’re going to hear my voice and see my face a lot in the next few years” she says. She has several current projects in the works, coming soon. Hopefully, fans of Tehran will also get a Season 3 where we can see Ommi reprise her role. 

When asked if there was any possibility of seeing Ommi in an upcoming Marvel project like her co-star, she laughs. “From your mouth to God’s ears!”.

What are your thoughts on Tehran Season 2 so far? And what Marvel superhero would you fan-cast Ommi as? Let us know in the comments below!

Tehran Season 2 airs Fridays on Apple TV+.

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