Arian Moayed faced an exciting new challenge with his role in Netflix’s “Inventing Anna” — adapting to the specific rhythms of a Shonda Rhimes show. The actor plays Todd Spodek in the smash-hit limited series, the lawyer of notorious scammer Anna Delvey, a role that required pages and pages of dialogue. While some showrunners don’t mind a bit of deviation from the script, Rhimes prefers her actors to stick to the text. “You have to put on a different element to your brain,” says Moayed in an exclusive new interview for Gold Derby. “Almost Shakespearean, in a way.”
Moayed taking on the role happened to coincide with a play he was working on called “The Courtroom,” which reenacts courtroom transcripts. This helped him delve into those trial scenes in the final episode of “Inventing Anna,” allowing him to access Spodek’s specific flow. “I understood where Todd was doing an objection, I understood how he was objecting, explains Moayed. “I could also sense that he was the life of the room. He had a good charisma of the room and he cracked jokes sometimes and he also was tough and I thought he was just really good at what he did.” The actor also came to understand Spodek’s desire to be taken seriously. “Just like everyone in the show, he’s really trying to prove himself to everyone that he’s not a joke.”
One of Moayed’s biggest standout scenes comes in that final episode, where Spodek and Delvey get into an argument and he unleashes all frustrations on her. The scene was nine pages long in the script, with Moayed and Julia Garner, who plays Delvey, playing out the whole scene from beginning to end. “Every take, we did the entirety of the nine pages, just so we would get the flow of that,” reveals Moayed, heaping praise on Garner for the specific energy she brought to the role. “She’s a monster. She’s amazing at what she does.”
This TV season, Moayed also returned for the third season of “Succession” as his fan-favorite character Stewy. The actor admits that he never really knows what to expect heading into a season of the Emmy-winning HBO drama, which has drawn its own comparisons to Shakespeare. Despite that, Moayed has a firm grasp on his recurring character, who has only grown more powerful with each season. “If I’m gonna win by this much,” states Moayed, of Stewy’s mindset. “I’m gonna pick that side, always.”
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