By Tania Kanaan
As the charismatic Firass Dirani enters the room, one immediately senses his warm natured persona. The 33-year-old Australian actor has worked hard to be in the position he is in today. He ensures to stay passionate and driven for every new role he embraces. His Instagram tag describes him as an “entertainer by blood, innovator by choice, ice-cream annihilator by taste, Rump Shaker by soul and a creator by heart.”
Having graduated from The Actors College of Theatre and Television program, he then went on to secure himself in the significant role of the ‘King of the Cross’ as John Ibrahim in the Australian television series ‘Underbelly.’ This was the beginning of stardom for Dirani.
He has since secured many roles some of which include; Ali, a young Muslim teen, the youngest of a group of survivors, in Pitch Black, Nick Russell, the Red Mystic Ranger on Power Rangers Mystic, Justin Baynie, a former footballer and single father of 3, in House Husbands, Bakhait, a Sheikh’s son in Killer Elite and Vito Rinnelli, in Mel Gibson’s war drama Hacksaw Ridge.
In preparation for Killer Ellite, Dirani was not aware that Robert Di Nero was going to be playing a role. He reflects on the moment he was on a mini bus and found out, “I was jumping up and down as soon as I heard, as I grew up watching this man as a child. He really was a legend to work with.”
Dirani described him as having a relaxed approach and as he gave him the freedom to craft his character. He explains that the director would sometimes allow De Niro to edit the script himself because they would give him the freedom to do so. It was like watching a harmonious score. I would think to myself I want to f*#ing do that!”
Growing up Dirani had a strong vision of success for himself. He had placed a black and white photo of himself beside famous actors, in order to manifest his dreams into a reality. His Instagram caption of this very image sentimentally reads,
‘I was big on projection and manifestation as a kid. Still am. This is me when I was 17 taping myself next to the greats. This pic has been up in a room with my parents for almost 17 years. Ever since I remember I’ve always wanted to entertain others.’
Dirani emphasises the importance of allowing children to explore their imagination and creativity. Expressing deep frustration towards the systems and structures that place both adults and children in a limited category. “This does not allow for originality and uniqueness.”
He explains that in the art of acting, there are some intimate moments that are too difficult to know how the real life character would have exactly behaved and thought in that moment. “It it is important to create space in your mind to breathe and create moments of silence. “That’s where ones creativity and imagination comes in to play and by improvising I can try and create a truthful character.
“To me, the impulse is everything!”
He urges all parents to allow their children to be free in their creativity. Dirani states, “schools should be selling creativity! I remember being outside of my classroom every day. I didn’t enjoy school. I saw my class as an audience.”
Dirani shares his beliefs that all children are born with the gift of creativity and curiosity. “It is an innate trait and that’s what makes us creative beings either emotionally, spiritually, physically and this can be either cultivated and nurtured or crushed.”
It is important to allow kids to be vulnerable and not say men can’t cry these are the rules. Embracing our emotions and vulnerabilities, being vulnerable and admitting that you don’t know the answer is the opposite of ego.
Dirani believes that there is also a negative stigma associated to the creative arts particularly from the older generations, “we have boundaries in the ethnic minorities, from family resistance. I can’t wait to see people blossom in these minorities. This is because of the way that the older generations were brought up. Therefore we can’t be teaching bad habits to our children. I can’t be the only caramel face on television!”
“Why can’t we allow our children to grow organically, just like when a tomato plant wants to grow its own way and you can’t force it to grow a certain way. Parenting should be the same, with more freedom for children. I’m telling you we’ve got it all wrong and maybe I’m wrong for telling you that we’ve got it all wrong. However, parenting is more about freedom of choice and operating at one’s impulses and imagination.”
Young drama student, Hanna Pirara says, “I admire how Firass managed to get to such a successful place as an actor and I’m very inspired by his hard work ethic and creative mind as a fellow Australian.”
Dirani describes the acting industry as intense yet satisfying, explaining that seeking guidance and not having too much ego is important, “ego keeps you in the same spot. If you act with your heart everything falls into place”.
Dirani’s inspirations include Mohammed Ali, Eddy Murphy, 2Pac Shakur, Biggie Smalls, Denzel Washington. He reflects, if you’re not secure enough of yourself anything can knock you down or tickle you the wrong way “Sometimes I feel like people want me to slip up”.
He advises others, that sometimes you need to say no to certain acting roles because they may not feel right. Dirani reiterates the need to follow ones soul over money and maintaining the passion from within, “I’m just as hungry now, as I was for my first job.”
“In the future I hope I am more balanced spiritually, not chasing life as much, hopefully I have limited all toxic things in my life and that I am happy. Then the career will come with that.”