Exclusive Believe (NBC) Interview: Nick Tarabay Talks His New Role, Why You Should Watch the Series and More

Tonight, Monday, March 10th at 10/9c, NBC will launch their new supernatural drama Believe, a collaboration between executive producers J.J. Abrams and Alfonso Cuaron. The series centers on a little girl named Bo (Johnny Sequoyah), whose supernatural abilities make her a powerful weapon in the eyes of certain groups. Nick Tarabay, best known for his role as the gladiator Ashur from Starz’s Spartacus series, plays CIA agent and Black Ops specialist Niko Zepeda, a constant threat to Bo and her caretakers.

TV Equals recently chatted with Tarabay about his new role, how he sees Zepeda and much more. Check out the interview below.

TV Equals: Zepeda is described as a constant threat to Bo and Tate. Would you characterize him as a bad guy or just a man committed to his job?

Nick Tarabay: I never judge my characters. I see Zepeda as very dedicated to his job and the work. If there is a job to be done, he will do whatever it takes to make sure it is done. Right or wrong, it isn’t of any relevance to him. You know how in the military you don’t question things, you just follow orders? For him, he is part of this program that has this great cause. The program’s goal is to create peace, and whether someone is executing this for their own reasons, that is irrelevant to him. He is a very black and white kind of guy. There is no gray area.

My experience as an actor has been you discover the character as you go. I’ve seen characters start out one way and then become something else by the end. I think it’s challenging in a good way. There is a great element of surprise that I love when I approach a new project.

TV Equals: What has been the most challenging part of Believe so far?

Nick Tarabay: Discovering and getting to know Zepeda. For me, as an actor, when I approach any character, for me personally, I try to find their heart. That’s very important to me, what do they long for the most? Once I find that out, it’s easier for me to find their weaknesses, what makes them tick, what makes them happy. The first thing that jumps off the page at you about Nico is he’s the bad cop, but when you read it again, it’s about finding out the layers underneath him. The challenge so far is to not just play what’s on the page, but to find out what’s going on within him.

TV Equals: Bo is being safeguarded by a group called The True Believers. Are their motives pure, or do they want to use her for their own gain?

Nick Tarabay: Without giving too much away, they are protecting her. They want to make sure she is alright, but having said that, I’ll put it out there that on the show, no matter who you think the good guy or the bad guy is, that doesn’t mean they don’t make mistakes. Their history or the past comes to haunt them.

TV Equals: Alfonso Cuaron is known for creating these visually stunning worlds. Do you think the aesthetic of Believe will set it apart from other network dramas?

Nick Tarabay: I think so. Alfonso did the pilot, which I’ve seen, and it almost looks like a film instead of a TV show. You look at it and it could be sci-fi or a drama…and the way they operate the camera you almost feel like you’re really there while the series is going on. It’s very real, very raw. The audience will feel that they are standing or sitting right next to us as they watch.

TV Equals: If you were going to pitch Believe to our readers in your own words, what would you tell them?

Nick Tarabay: They should watch the show because I’m in it…no, what I love about Believe is that it raises a very simple question asked by everybody: what is it that we believe in and how far would we go to make sure we get what we want? It’s a beautiful love story, and ultimately it is about faith. Belief is at the core of everything we do in our lives. I would sum it up as, what do you believe in and how far would you go to make sure those beliefs come true?

TV Equals: If your character from Spartacus, Ashur, and Zepeda were in a fight, who would win and why?

Nick Tarabay: So far I would root for Ashur, but that is because I don’t know my character on Believe as well, so I’d have to say Ashur. I mean this guy’s smart and Ashur is probably the most powerful guy, the one you never see coming. The only thing Zepeda has over Ashur is he is stronger; he can take a hit very well.

TV Equals: If you could guest star on any show, what show would it be and why?

Nick Tarabay: That’s a big one. Actually, there is a new TV show in the making, Gotham. I would love to be part of that. I love comic books, so something like that would be awesome.

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