Oddly enough, Arian Moayed enjoys the sweat, grease, and grime of productions based in New York City. Three of his ongoing projects—. It marks Strong’s first Broadway role since 2008, when he starred in A Man For All Seasons. Before this news dropped, Strong came to visit his pal Moayed (head’s up, KenStewy hive: They see each other quite a bit in real life, even if their scenes together are cut from Succession) and see him in A Doll’s House.
“I remember going up to him and being like, ‘When are you going to get back up here?’” Moayed recalls his interaction with Strong after A Doll’s House. “He was like, ‘I can’t do it, I can’t do this again.’ Lies! Cut to a month later, when this is happening. He’s perfectly cast for this.” Like any actor, however, Moayed says that “I’m sure [Strong is] going to be shitting bricks too.”
Unfortunately, Strong and Moayed won’t cross paths on Broadway, as Moayed’s stint in A Doll’s House will end on June 10—the night before the Tony Awards, at which he’s deservedly up for his second Best Featured Actor in a Play nomination.
“Hopefully we’re not hungover at the Tonys!” Moayed jokes. “There are 30 minutes of the play where [co-star Jessica Chastain and I] are literally two inches from each other, loving and hating each other at the same time. I’m definitely going to miss that challenge, sparring with such a legend.”
Another show that’s about to close its curtains: Succession. Writing these words fills me with sadness—say it ain’t so! Only one episode in the HBO show’s fourth and final season remains, and the hour-and-a-half-long doozy of a finale will air this Sunday.
“Knowing how it ends, seeing some of the ending, I am both so happy and incredibly sad,” Moayed says. “We end with such a big bang that will feel, hopefully, satisfying to everyone. [Fans] are going to have a series of emotions that are epic in nature—huge and full and satisfied. Jesse Armstrong’s statement about this class and this world and money and capitalism—[the finale] really zeroes in on what he’s trying to say.”
Though Moayed only has a recurring role in the story of the brutal Roy family, Stewy has become quite the fixture. The character has developed (and, thoughtfully, interacts with) an avid fan base on social media, where his minor role has exploded into a fan-favorite thanks to clever lines and a snarky performance. He’s particularly popular on Twitter, where fans rioted in protest when his character was present at Logan’s (Brian Cox) wake but not his funeral.
“These episodes are full, full, full,” Moayed says, explaining that he was originally supposed to be in last Sunday’s episode. “There were a bunch of scenes in that episode that were cut out, which happens. Luckily, that was the first time that happened for me, which is nice.” But the moment we lost sounds like it would have been a good one: “We had a lovely scene with Jeremy and I, a little bit with Ewan [James Cromwell] and Stewy.”
Stewy fans, rest assured: “I am in the last episode,” Moayed confirms.
The actor also urges his fanbase to keep supporting him once Succession ends, of course. After viewing Stewy’s final moments on the show, why not go see You Hurt My Feelings? “If the Stewy hive goes towards a Nicole Holofcener addiction, I am happy to be that conduit,” he says.
Going out to support your favorite actors is especially important right now, as the threat of a Screen Actors’ Guild strike looms, which would take our favorite stars like Moayed out of work and onto the picket line for an immeasurable amount of time. If the studios won’t come to the contract renegotiation table, though—which Moayed unfortunately predicts will happen, akin to the ongoing Writers’ Guild strike—striking be necessary action.
“We’re in an existential moment right now. Are we going to really continue to let others get all of the goods while everyone else is fighting for survival?” Moayed says. “We live in a world very much like Succession, where it seems like so many at the top are getting so much richer while everyone else that’s putting the work and the hours in to make that content are not. We’re not asking for too much here!”
Until his world is possibly turned upside down, though, Moayed continues to hunt for stories that will challenge him. Any of those New York-based productions, which keep him on his toes, will do. But he holds himself to a pretty high standard when choosing his next projects.
“The guiding post for me is this old Iranian/Zoroastrian philosophy, called ‘Good thoughts, good words, and good deeds,’” he says. “In a weird way, as I’m getting older, I realize I’m picking the stories I want to tell by having that mantra. Does this story have good thoughts, does it have good words, and does it have good deeds? If it doesn’t, or if it’s just evil for evil’s sake, that’s not something I’m interested in. If [Mark] is just a terrible actor—I’m not interested. If Stewy hates everyone and just wants to get ahead, I’m not interested.”
Moayed has, at the moment, selected the following stories: that of a headstrong businessman, who cares deeply about his twisted CEO best friend; an actor who is strong enough to secure callbacks but never land the part; and Jessica Chastain’s controlling husband. You wouldn’t be telling him any white lies by saying he’s nailing all three.