PAUL KARMIRYAN [VERONICA MARS]
Actor and dancer Paul Karmiryan charmed his way to TV in So You Think You Can Dance a few years back. Now, he currently stars as Alex Maloof in the 4th season of the TV series Veronica Mars along Kristen Bell.
In this exclusive interview, read through as he shares his acting story, how dance influenced his performances, his role in Veronica Mars, his character Omid from Complex’s In The Vault, and his dream to play a tribute to a real person’s life story.
Tell us about your story. What’s your story?
Growing up, even though I was a shy and quiet kid, I always had a passion for telling a story; expressing myself in various creative ways, and entertaining the people around me. But it wasn't until I was in my late teens that I started to pursue my passions. I was eventually bitten by the performing bug and knew it would be a huge part of my life forever.
I am someone who has a passion for life and all the beautiful things that come along with it. That includes all the lows as much as it does the highs. I love to learn and observe the world around me. I feel like I always have room to grow. I always strive to be the best version of myself and to just be a good human being. I see the best in people and always gravitate towards making people smile and feel better. I love my family, my friends, and the people that surround me, unconditionally.
Which came first, dancing or acting?
I started training in dance first, at the age of 17. But my passion for acting had been boiling in me since I was very young, I never had the opportunity to act on it until I was in my mid 20s.
How did acting start for you? What inspired you to pursue acting?
I have always gravitated towards acting, movies, and television ever since I was young. I would be glued to the TV and I would be completely immersed in the movies and shows I was watching so much so that I wouldn’t even notice people calling my name or anything happening around me until the commercial break. But I never really knew how to step into the industry and acting world.
As a dancer, I always connected dancing to acting because one was storytelling through words and the other through movement. And I have always been a storyteller through my movement. After I did SYTYCD (So You Think You Can Dance), a casting director approached me and referred me to some acting schools. After my first acting class, I was never the same. I completely fell in love with the craft. I became obsessed and would spend majority of my days and weeks in class or doing research on how to be better or I would just simply watch shows and movies to learn from the best.
“Body language and mannerisms are essential for refining a character and making it come to life.”
How does dancing and being a performer in general influence you in your career as an actor?
Awareness of the movement of my body in connection with a dance partner and performing has definitely contributed to my acting. I believe an actor being in tune with his/her body is very important. Body language and mannerisms are essential for refining a character and making it come to life; not to mention the Choreography in a scene that is needed, especially when working with a scene partner in an intimate storyline. There is a subtle communication on a physical level when you communicate with a person, and as a dancer I feel more comfortable and clearer when I portray that in a scene.
Can you walk us through your acting process? How do you get into your character?
Every role I have played has involved a different process and preparation. I have had the opportunity to play many roles which speak different dialects and languages. A lot of times I will take those character traits and bring them into my everyday life to settle it into my body. For example, I had to speak in a British accent for one of my roles, so anytime I would go out into the public or restaurants. I would speak in that accent to the waitresses and other people. It was my test to see if it was believable or not. Besides that, I usually do much research and digging into every character I play, I believe details are everything when it comes to bringing a character to life.
Let’s talk about Veronica Mars and your character Alex Maloof.
Honestly, at first, I had never heard of the show and had no idea what the series was about. But I quickly became a 'marshmallow'! I thought it was so cool that the show had such a strong fan base and that the fans funded the return of the show through Kickstarter! And after watching the previous seasons and being a part of this newest season on Hulu, I totally get it. It's such a great show and I can't wait for everyone to see the revival! I play the role of Alex Maloof; my character is one of the pieces to a big puzzle in the show! He is an entitled star athlete who comes from a wealthy family and is the brother of a Congressman. Unfortunately, I can't reveal much more, and you guys are going to have to watch to find out!
What’s the best thing about playing him?
I had to learn how to speak Arabic for the role because there are many instances where I communicate with my 'on-screen' family in the language. It was very challenging to learn in a short period of time, but also a very fun process to take on. Besides that, the MOST important thing and all I can say is... Shaka ;)
(watch to find out what I mean)
Tell us a little bit about your character Omid from Complex’s In the Vault.
Omid was one of the most enjoyable characters I have had the opportunity to create and play. He had so many layers to him. He is an entitled Persian prince with a dark secret, but also juggled many personalities. Not only did I have to prepare a British accent for the role, but I had to learn how to speak Farsi. We just finished Season 2, and he is a full 180° different character from Season 1. Stay tuned for the release!
What’s the best highlight of your career so far?
Ah! It's hard to give this question a specific answer because I have had the opportunity to have such a diverse career, between my dance and acting world's. And I truly take on every opportunity I had, big or small, to the fullest. I believe the people I meet and the experiences I have are worth so much more than the title of the job itself. My growth on the various versions of So You Think You Can Dance has definitely been near and dear to me because of the family I have created on that show. In addition, working with my buddy Ed Sheeran in his various music videos and working with Kristen Bell on Veronica Mars have definitely been very memorable.
Who are your acting idols?
Wow. So many. And this list grows everyday with every new project. But to list a few: Robin Williams, Meryl Streep, Anthony Hopkins, Heath Ledger, Philip Seymour Hoffman.
This changes by the day. But as of now, I would love to play tribute to a real person's life/story. And also, the little kid in me wants to play a Marvel Superhero.
If you were a book, what book would you be and why
A Dr. Seuss or a 'Where’s Waldo' book, because I'm a kid at heart. Or a self-help/motivational book because I am a huge advocate of the power of a person's psychology.