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Amir Arison was not originally a series regular in The Blacklist. The actor auditioned for a small part in one episode of season 1, but, as fans know, the producers liked him enough to promote him to the main cast from season 2 on. However, Arison, who plays Aram Mojtabai, originally didn’t even want to audition for The Blacklist.

'The Blacklist' star Amir Arison, in character as Aram Mojtabai, wears a grayish green jacket.
Amir Arison | Photo by: Scott Gries/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Amir Arison plays Aram Mojtabai in ‘The Blacklist’

In The Blacklist, Aram Mojtabai, played by Amir Arison, is an FBI cyber expert who previously worked for the NSA. The show introduced Aram in The Blacklist Season 1 Episode 3 when the FBI is hunting a high-ranking Chinese spy, Wujing. Aram helps the team by ensuring that Liz is not found out as an FBI agent when she goes undercover.

From that episode on, Aram gradually got more screen time and a more significant role in the show.

The Blacklist, which is now in its ninth season, features Amir Arison as a main character, which might not have been possible if the actor wasn’t convinced to audition for the show.

The actor was originally uninterested in auditioning for ‘The Blacklist’

Amir Arison admits that he was not thrilled about auditioning for The Blacklist. During an interview with The Actor’s Audience, Arison said, “The character’s original name was Morgan Hackett, not Aram Mojtabai. It was a small guest star. It was a computer guy. And the only description of his character was he loves his gadgets more than his goatee.”

He continued, “I didn’t want to go in because there was nothing on the page that was really special about it. It was just a guy delivering some computer information.”

But Arison’s agent insisted that he try out for the part. Arison confessed, “I just felt like there was enough on my reel like that… that they could just look at and decide if they want me or not. My agent at the time, they were like, ‘Just go in, this is NBC’s hot new show.'”

Arison also remembered that the casting office for The Blacklist was the same one that had taken a chance on him a year prior for a show called Zero Hour. He said, “So, I was like, ‘You know, they really honored me and saw some stuff in me that I don’t always get a chance to be seen for if I’m typecast. They weren’t typecast, so let me honor them. They’ve given me an appointment. It’s a real honor.'”

So, Amir Arison went to the audition for The Blacklist, and the rest is history.


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The writers were inspired by Amir Arison to make his ‘The Blacklist’ character funny

As Amir Arison mentioned, he initially only had a small part in The Blacklist. But when the producers saw his hilarious audition, they were convinced that they needed Arison in their show long-term. He said, “I remember preparing for [the audition.] And I was like, ‘Anyone can do this… So what can I do that makes me enjoy it? I’m going to do what I never get to do. I’m going to have as much fun with this as I can. Maybe I’ll improv. I’m going to bring humor.'”

And he definitely provided the laughs. Arison shared, “I remember the reader jumped a line, and she was about to restart. And I was like, ‘It’s OK. We’re downloading. Hold on.’ And just improv-ed. And they started laughing. I just did everything that was written and threw in a couple of sprinkles of [improv].”

The director in the audition room then told Arison that if it were up to him, he would get the part. Two weeks later, Arison learned that he got the part. And as his episode count grew, Arison got scripts that included more and more jokes that fit in with the humor he brought to his audition. Now, he’s a series regular and has left his mark on the show.

Fans can see Amir Arison in The Blacklist Season 9, which airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.