Prynce P: How did you get involved in acting?
Dominic Rains:That’s a long story but briefly I’ll tell you that it was my mother’s influence and my brother Ethan’s push. In my youth, our mother made us take different on-camera classes, modeling classes, things that really just annoyed me at the time and I wanted no part of because it just seemed like showbiz nonsense. I just wanted to play sports and cause trouble, which I did.
It wasn’t till I was in college, where I was studying Biology/Criminology where I was introduced to TV via my brother who told me to try out for a bunch of different small roles in this movie of the week for NBC called Saving Jessica Lynch. I ended up as a supporting character and that role validated my interest to continue. A few months later my brother Ethan and I landed recurring roles on an NBC pilot called LAX which was picked up and we were asked to move. And so started my journey from Texas to Cali[fornia] and a fortunate decade long pursuit of this craft. The rest is history as they say.
Prynce P: What are some movies and other projects that you have worked on?
Dominic: The ones that I was recognized for the most were A&E’s Flight 93 and General Hospital and GH: Nightshift. But the one that I took a lot of pride in started with indie film,The Taqwacores, which went to Sundance in 2010. The Taqwacores represented a new perspective on acting and life for me. It infused the idea that experimental, spiritual and catharsis could all go hand in hand.
Prynce P: What are some obstacles that you have faced being that you are Persian in Hollywood?
Dominic: You mean outside of being an Iranian in Hollywood?You get used to being rejected, not being white enough, that Iranian doesn’t fall into ‘open ethnicity’ unless specified. That you’re too tall, too thin, look too similar to the lead. Maybe the director thinks you remind him of the guy who slept with his wife. Maybe the casting director thinks that egg salad for lunch went bad yesterday and has now missed your whole audition and preparation, or maybe he or she can only see you as one type, “Dominic? He’s played that terrorist right? No, I can’t see him as the romantic type, but maybe the homewrecker!”
I might be exaggerating a bit but it’s not far off. This business is not for the faint at heart. In a business where the actors craft requires and natuarally creates extreme sensitivity to his or her surroundings, an actor must know where to differentiate himeslf, the instrument, from the business.
Prynce P:If you could go back in time, would you still choose to be an actor? Why?
Dominic:No questions asked. Acting has been a very self-reflective journey, sure its acting but Carl Jung said it best: “When an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside as fate.” An actor’s job is to know the inner situation, to accept and understand it, and that has never been an easy place to go, because naturally we don’t go there, we hide, we turn a blind eye, we’ve lost our empathy or have become indifferent. Maybe it’s easier, maybe we want to escape. An actor’s job is to move towards that, to ackowledge that, it’s a gift and curse as you like to say, P.
I associate my drive to understand behavior and untapped potential, to the craft of acting. I’d rather be dead, drunk, or a monk in the Himalayas if I couldn’t have the pleasure of acting- specifically to be on stage. I can live without TV or film; I cannot live peacefully without the stage.
Prynce P: I have seen a lot of your work, simply, I am very impressed! Does playing various characters affect your personal life? Example, if you play an English man in a movie, do you ever just start speaking with an English accent around your friends?
Dominic: Various characters require different inflections, behaviors, emotional breakthroughs, etc. etc. and sometimes to be able to find that rhythm or “tap in”, an actor may persist relentlessly, repetitively. For example, if I was playing an Englishman of upper class, maybe speaking in that lingo will bring about a certain posture, movement, or behavior that will essentially help me find out what the character is all about. And once that door opens, its like being thrown in the biggest play pen you’ve ever been in. At that point you’re just riding the wave, the words flow, movement beckons, the curtains part.
So yes, you might see us do crazy things within our ‘method’ to help us settle in.
Prynce P: What are some upcoming projects that you have on your agenda?
Dominic:I’m very excited about a couple of projects making their way to the silver screen. The first is a project that I’m very proud of,Jinn, which is hitting the theaters nationwide on April 4.
It’s the first film of its type for an American audience that is an American film with an Iranian-American as its lead, me. Yet its not about that. It’s a universal film that speaks volumes to anyone from any background. Because its about facing our fears and fighting through them, even if it takes us to the death. We can and will overcome, that is the essense behind what my character Shawn goes through. It’s a supernatural adventure thriller that will have you curious and rooting to the end.
Also, a project that I am very proud to be apart of is from my friend and fellow Iranian American filmmaker Ana Lily Amirpour, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night. It created gigantic waves at Sundance 2014, and was rated as one of top 10 films at Sundance. This film rocks on so many levels that I’ll just leave it at that. Watch out for Lily, she’s on that next level.
Another project I have coming soon is a short film that my brother and I did together, called Still Here. We have the incredible Shoreh Aghdashloo playing my mother and what a gem this woman is. Just a blessing the way this project came together. It’ll be in the festival circuit shortly with a life of its own.
Prynce P:Now, my favorite question! What is your favorite Persian food?
Dominic:I suck at favorites because I love it all! But hands down, my favorite Iranian food is anything my dad cooks. His food is insane. Anyone who has had my dads cooking will tell you it is unrivaled by anything or anyone.
No but seriously, there are great Iranian cooks out there I know, I just hope they read this and invite me over to prove to me that I’m wrong. I’ll gladly accept the invite.
Prynce P:A lot of people may not know this but you and I have been friends for over 20 years. I watched both you and Ethan move to LA to pursue your dreams and I always get chills when I see you on a show or feature movie. I wish you nothing but success and can’t wait until Jinn is out nationwide as you are making history for us Persians.
Dominic:Thanks Prynce! That’s love baby. We have been family for a long time that to count it in years takes away from its meaning so I’ll just say that I’m beyond blessed to have you in my life. To have grown up amongst some of the kindest, loving, humourous bloaks, friends who year after year make me realize that home is where the heart is, I’m a lucky guy to have you all in my life. To the whole Royal Family, you know who you are, I send you all my love and gratitude for your endless support and love.
Thanks for having me, to those who are reading, thank you for taking the time. Your support means the world, literally.