Anthony Keyvan chatted about playing major recurring character Rahim in Season 2 of Love, Victor, inspired by Becky Albertalli’s novel, Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda.
With the return of Love, Victor on Hulu for its second season, there are new faces to introduce. One of the newcomers is Anthony Keyvan, whose character Rahim is a major recurring presence throughout the season.
Read on below for Anthony’s full interview with Courageous Nerd about his audition process. playing the role of Rahim and what’s next.
Welcome, Anthony and thank you for taking the time to speak with us.
Anthony Keyvan (AK): Thank you for having me.
People will be getting to know you as ‘Rahim’ on Love, Victor. How did your acting journey first start? Was it always something you wanted to pursue?
AK: Yeah, since I was a kid… since I could talk basically, I was always singing, dancing and performing. My parents didn’t really know what to do with that. They’re pretty traditional and thought I was just going to do sports like every other American boy. I had other plans. So, one day my Dad took me to the LA Auto Show because I’ve always loved cars and we were approached by this person who was advertising their acting studio. She gave us the whole spiel, like, “I could make your kid a star, come join my acting studio.”
My parents first were like, “Yeah, whatever, sure.” I pretty much begged them for hours and hours on end until they finally enrolled me. I was doing classes with them for a bit. Eventually, I auditioned and got a talent agent for Commercial and Print. That’s how I started in the industry. I started doing commercials, modeling for Target, Ross… things like that, catalogues. Then, I transitioned to film and TV a few years later when I was about 8 or 9.
Prior to Love, Victor there was the 2018 feature film Love, Simon and Becky Albertalli’s novel, Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda. How much of a fan were you of this universe before becoming a part of it?
AK: I was a fan of the film Love, Simon and a fan of Love, Victor. I actually auditioned for Season 1, I’ve talked about that in other interviews. So, I was familiar with the universe and with the project. I was a big fan, so being on the show in Season 2 is definitely a little bit of a dream come true.
As Season 2 of Love, Victor progresses, Rahim becomes gradually more important to the overall plot. When were you told how Rahim’s storyline would play out? Was it something you knew going in?
AK: No, actually when I got the call about the character going into casting and everything, they gave me a breakdown of what the character would entail, how many episodes they’d be a part of and the plot line for this character. I knew going into it what it would mean, playing Rahim. They only wanted to bring me in for the latter half of the season, they needed a way to introduce me so that it wasn’t such a shock in episode 6 when I started off the show.
Throughout Season 2, many of Rahim’s seasons were with Victor (Michael Cimino) and Pilar Salazar (Isabella Ferreira). Were Michael and Isabella involved in the audition process for Rahim, to ensure there was good chemistry?
AK: They actually didn’t have any chemistry reads whatsoever, which is pretty rare in the industry. Every time I’ve auditioned and tested for larger parts – in more than one episode or an ensemble with the rest of the cast – they would usually have a chemistry read where they work the material with the other actors, to see how they work together and look on camera together. But, they didn’t do that with me.
I feel like they probably made that decision because the creative team, producers, the network – they all knew me before. I had done a pilot for Hulu prior and tested for the series in Season 1. I feel like they were already familiar with me so they didn’t need to do that. You’re right, it is rare that that doesn’t happen. They really took a chance on me and it couldn’t have worked out better because we’re all really good friends now.
In the early stages of Victor and Rahim’s interactions, it appeared as if they were platonic friends who could understand each other based on similar experiences with their sexuality and coming out. How much do you think Rahim needed that relatability with someone else?
AK: I think a lot and I think Victor needed that relatability as well. It’s something he didn’t really have with Benji, coming from a white upper class family, fairly supportive. He couldn’t really understand or grasp the severity of the situation that Victor was going through with his parents. Whereas Rahim knew exactly right off the bat how Victor was feeling and how he could relate to that because he was going through it himself.
Many of Season 1’s characters are reflections of those in Becky Albertalli’s story; Simon and Victor, Leah and Mia, Blue and Benji, to name a few. Coming into the established show, were you thinking about where Rahim would fit?
AK: I didn’t really think of that, I just knew that the writing team is amazing at their jobs. They know what they’re doing and I found it really refreshing that they were looking for another perspective of someone of a different cultural background in coming out. It’s not just Latino people coming out, it’s not just white people coming out. It’s people all over the world and the more representation we have, the better, I feel like.
No, I didn’t really think about not being a reference to another character or person in the universe, I think this was the Love, Victor team’s way of shedding light to another person, another cultural background and their version of coming out.
We have previously interviewed your co-stars Anthony Turpel (Felix) and Bebe Wood (Lake), whose storylines are largely separate from Rahim’s in Season 2. Should the show and your character continue, who would you want more scenes with?
AK: I’d love to have scenes with Rachel Hilson, who plays Mia, Mason Gooding who plays Andrew and Bebe, because I didn’t really get to work with any of them throughout the season. We would see each other after work or have scenes filming on the same day, but at different times. We would see each other at work and hang out after work but never got to really work with them. I think they’re all extremely talented actors. I think it would be really fun to play off of them and figure out a dynamic on-screen.
Fans of Love, Victor will know by now that Rahim becomes acquainted with the Salazar family through Pilar, his friend and colleague. As the actor playing Rahim, how do you think he felt when Pilar discussed Victor and his experiences coming out?
AK: I feel like the way Rahim has been explained to me is that he’s always been a student at Creekwood, he’s just never been introduced before. Rahim knew what was going on about Victor even though he hadn’t come out to the whole school yet, because of Pilar. We had worked together in the summer at the pretzel stand, so I’m guessing that Pilar probably confided in him about things that were going on with Victor.
After Episode 2 when he came out to the whole school, he probably felt like, “Okay, now’s the time I can ask Victor for advice.”
Once you had filmed the entire season, what scene were you most looking forward for people to see?
AK: I was most looking forward to seeing the reaction to LGTBTQ people in the Muslim community. I was excited to see… Rahim is really one of the first Muslim, Iranian, LGBTQIA+ characters on a major network. So, I was excited to be one of the first and get to see how people would react to having someone like that, that kind of representation on-screen.
I was also excited for the fans to meet Rahim and hopefully love him. It’s a little bit mixed reviews right now. I was just excited for it to be out there and for people to take something from it.
Aside from Love, Victor are there any projects you can discuss at this time?
AK: None that I’m working on currently, but I am also on this other show called Generation on HBO Max. I had a couple episodes on that and Season 1, Part 1 is already out. Season 1, Part 2, which I also have another episode in, is coming out on [June] 17th. I think that’s kind of it for me.
To round this off, what would you want to say to fans of Love, Victor based on the reaction you’ve seen so far?
AK: Thank you! I want to say thank you for your love, support and interest in the show because… we have some really die-hard fans. That’s really something special. If you’re tweeting and waiting at midnight for the show to drop, those people I’m just really grateful for. Thank you for welcoming me and taking me in as part of the Love, Victor family.
Thanks again for taking the time, Anthony. Take care and stay safe!
AK: Thank you, you too. It’s been great talking to you.