Ali Hadji Heshmati
3rd February 2023
Photographer & Editor in Chief: Owen James Vincent
Interview & Digital Editor: Pankhuri Bhutani
Styling: Sorcha O'Brien
Grooming: Rita Nieddu
Cover Design: Emily Curtis
This British-Iranian talent made his explosive debut starring in Amazon Prime’s British spy thriller series “Alex Rider”- a live action adaptation of a best selling novel series just like his latest project on Netflix.
Currently under the spotlight for his portrayal as George Karim in the latest book-to-television adaption of Jonathan Stroud's worldwide best-selling supernatural series ‘Lockwood & Co.’, Ali Hadji-Heshmati has already garnered an impeccable amount of love and support from the extremely devoted fan base of the books as well as the viewers tuning into Netflix and Complete Fiction’s latest offering. The show follows three teenagers running a psychic detective agency destined on unraveling the dangerous mysteries of their world.
We recently had a chat with our latest cover star- Ali Hadji-Heshmati to discuss all things ‘Lockwood & Co.’, as well as this very exciting new chapter in his life!
Top & Trousers: Zara / Shoes: Doc Martins
Hi there Ali. Thank you for joining us on ReVamp! How are you doing? How has the start of this year been for you so far?
Thank you for having me! I’ve been well thank you. It’s been nice to have Bad Education and Lockwood & Co. come out within the same month.
First of all, huge congratulations on your recent project “Lockwood & Co.”! The way you have established George’s character is absolutely surreal. Before diving further into insights regarding your recent endeavor, I’d love to know if you were familiar with the wonderful Jonathan Stroud’s work before auditioning for this role?
I wasn’t familiar with the books before auditioning, but when I got the role I read all of them to prepare for the shoot and I absolutely loved them. I remember being on a night shoot on the Thames with Jonathan and bombarding him with questions about the ending and backstories and spin-offs at about 3am in the morning.
Your character is initially perceived to be extremely peculiar when it comes to his behavioral and conversational patterns yet at the same time there’s that sense of genuineness and authenticity in him that sets him apart from the other two members of the show. When you were first offered that script, what was your initial impression of George?
My initial impression was that I loved George. I loved how unusual he was, how passionate he was, and how intelligent he was. I think I’ve seen character’s similar to George become the comical side-kick with no troubles of their own but I love how you see George’s struggles at the center of the series.
Was there anything about George that you specifically added while portraying him which wasn’t initially in the script? If not, is there anything that you really wished you could add to George’s character had you been given the opportunity to do so?
I think naturally as an actor you add small things here and there but the scripts were already so well thought through. There’s a few moments where George’s Iranian heritage comes through which I was asked about. In addition to that, something quite random that I wanted to get in was George cleaning his glasses with his T-shirt. It’s something that happens a lot in the books so I wanted to make sure we had it a few times in the series too.
How was your experience like working with the brilliant Ruby Stokes, Cameron Chapman as well as all the talented people affiliated with the project?
It was a pleasure to work with Ruby and Cameron and we often say how lucky we are that the three of us are close mates. They’re both so talented and I’m so proud of their performances in the show and so excited to see what’s next for them. Personally, I always cherish how fortunate I was to work with so many talented people, and I learnt so much from the two of them as well as the entire cast and crew.
Any memorable behind the scenes you’d like to share with us?
I remember that me, Ruby and Cameron ended up playing so many random games. We played a ridiculous amount of Heads Up and we also had this game in Ealing where you would try to throw a salt bomb (the projectile was used to fight ghosts in the show) into a paper cup.
Jacket: Vintage Lakeland / Top: H&M / Trousers: H&M / Shoes: Zara
I’m very curious to know what your primary source of research was in terms of portraying this character. Was it exclusively based on the script and books itself or did you seek out any other real/fictional figures to observe and pattern down their behavior as a source of inspiration as well?
When I auditioned for George I didn’t have access to the scripts and I hadn’t read the books, so based off of the scenes I was given I took a lot of inspiration from Ben Whishaw’s portrayal of Q in the recent James Bond films. Then, as I read the books and scripts (which I found to be very similar in how they depicted George as a character), I found that they were so well mapped out and detailed that they were doing a lot of the work for me.
There are a few people close to me (or people I’ve bumped into) who I took inspiration from in different ways but overall, I found that me and George have a fair bit in common.
Trousers: Karl Kani x Smiley from Rich London Show Room / Shoes: Zara / Top: No Land / Shirt: Vintage (Stylists Own)
How is this anticipation period going for you, Ali? Now that the show’s release is almost on the verge, any nervousness or excitement you’re feeling as of this present moment? What sort of response are you hoping to take away from the viewers?
Naturally, I’m a bit nervous but mostly, I’m very proud of everyone’s work in this first series and all the hard work that went into it so I’m excited for people to see it. I hope viewers enjoy it and I hope they see themselves in the three heroes. Also, I hope that the fans of the books are happy with the adaptation; the fans of the books were people who we always kept in mind during this production and definitely wanted to please.
Lastly, I would love to know if you have any upcoming projects in the pipeline for this year? Is there any message that you wish to convey to your fans currently reading this interview?
Don’t have anything in the pipeline currently. I hope people enjoy Bad Education on BBC iPlayer and 'Lockwood & Co. on Netflix!