Iranian born actress Shiva Negar recently landed a breakout role in the upcoming Hollywood blockbuster American Assassin. The spy film is based on Vince Flynn’s 2010 novel of the same name and is directed by Michael Cuesta and produced by Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and Nick Wechsler. Negar will be starring in the film alongside Dylan O’Brien (Maze Runner and TV’s Teen Wolf), Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights) and Oscar nominee/Golden Globe winner Michael Keaton.
Negar was born in Iran, however, at a young age she and her family moved to Turkey and later Canada. In a recent interview with Newsday she recalled how as a young girl in Iran she looked older than her age but was too young to wear hijab. As she tells it, “I was too young to be covered up, but I looked older, and that kind of became a problem. People would ask, ‘Why isn’t she covered?’ And my mom’s like, ‘No she’s not at that age yet.’ So, my mom — and I think this is hilarious — cut my hair . . . super short . . . so when we walked down the street people just thought I was a boy.”
At a young age Negar showed interest in the arts, playing guitar and piano at recitals, and singing at various competitions. Her love of the arts continued into her high school years as she performed in a variety of plays. Determined to pursue her passion she later decided to move to Los Angeles where she juggled film school, auditions and college. Negar graduated from York University with a degree in Psychology and a post graduate in Events Management & Public Relations.
Negar, who had a role in the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation TV series Four In The Morning, will play the role of lethal Turkish agent Annika. CIA black ops recruit Mitch Rapp (O’Brien) and his mentor Stan Hurley (Keaton) receive an assignment to investigate a wave of random attacks on both military and civilian targets. After discovering a pattern of violence, Hurley and Rapp join forces with Annika to stop a mysterious operative who wants to start World War III in the Middle East.
The demanding physicality of the movie and her character in particular, pushed Negar to get in great shape: “I’ve taken boxing and Thai boxing — I’m pretty active at the gym.” In addition to getting in great shape, she also had to learn how to use a gun correctly: “We were in this huge warehouse, where they set up a long hallway with different rooms on each side, and we’d hide behind the wall . . . then enter the rooms, shooting the first target you see. Like a laser game.”
When Negar was asked about the character of Annika, she commented, “In a world dominated by men, she’s right there with them, doing all the dirty work. But there’s more to her.”
American Assassin is scheduled for release on September 15, 2017.