‘Chicago Med’ Actor Dominic Rains Recalled Hearing Explosions as a Toddler During the Iran-Iraq War

Chicago Med is doing something right. Fans love it. The show is in its sixth season, and there’s no end in sight.

Medical dramas are extremely popular when done right, and Chicago Med is done right. But the show is doing something else right, something that’s harder to see. It’s changing expectations for actors. Dominic Rains was born in Iran, and moved to London as a child. But his character on the show is as far from that as it gets. 

Dominic Rains played a ‘fixer’ in ‘Burn Country’  

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In 2016, Dominic Rains starred in the film Burn CountryHe would win awards for his performance, including Best Actor at the Tribeca Film Festival.

The movie itself reflected a lot of Rains’ own experiences. In it, he played an Afgani ‘fixer’ fleeing war in a sleepy California town. A ‘fixer’ in war-torn places like Afghanistan is a person who accompanies foreign journalists and filmmakers. 

The movie’s director, Ian Olds, wrote the movie as a kind of tribute to a ‘fixer’ he knew personally. While filming a documentary in Afghanistan, Old’s ‘fixer’ and friend was captured and executed by the Taliban. Olds wrote the continuation of his story, as a way of seeing what his friend’s life would have been like if it weren’t tragically taken from him.

Rains knew what life was like in a war-torn world, and he also knew about being a stranger. That made him perfect for the role in Burn Country, and the movie launched his career. 

As a child, Dominic Rains fled from war 

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According to an interview in Harper’s Bazaar, Rains felt like his childhood gave him some experiences that aligned with his Burn Country character. His family fled Iran during the Iraq-Iran war in the 1980s. He doesn’t remember much of war, since he left at two. But he remembers enough to understand the trauma of a ‘fixer.’ Rains remembered bombs going off, and “getting hauled into closets to stay safe.”

Despite the fact that he was only two, that kind of uncertainty can affect anyone at any age. 

Then there’s Rains’ family. Even though he was out of danger at 2, his family was still dealing with the trauma of war. He used his father for inspiration for his character. “He was a big part of my preparation, because I saw this man who had to leave his country and make ends meet and provide for his family. There was a lot of added pressure. It had to mean something, just like Osman says in the film: ‘This isn’t just me coming. It has to mean something.'”

Dominic Rains wasn’t afraid of being typecast 

Dominic Rains as Crockett Marcel
Dominic Rains as Crockett Marcel | Elizabeth Sisson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

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After his role in Burn Country, Rains was in danger of being typecast. He was a young Irani-American playing a Middle Eastern, some people may have gotten the idea that he’s a one-trick pony.

Nothing could be further from the truth, and Chicago Med gave Rains the chance to prove his range. His character on the show, Crockett Marcel, is a Louisiana-born resident, complete with a Bayou accent. 

Rains shines in the role, just as much as he shone in Burn Country. The Chicago Med producers looked past Rains’ resume and personal history, and cast him based on talent alone. That’s something a lot of producers wouldn’t do. It’s a tactic that ends up making for a better show, as the most talented actors are the ones who make it on screen. 

For his part, Rains thought Burn Country was more important than the danger of typecasting. “Yes, I’m an American and I am very much a western boy, and I identify with being an American, but I am also grateful for the vast, rich culture that I was born into in Iran. That’s beauty and that is part of what this is and I accept that. I’m willing to take on whatever of that region, as long as there is substance to it.”