Last week, we shared an interview with up and coming actor Sirena Gulamgaus, this week, we shine the spotlight on her older brother, Noorin Gulamgaus.

Noorin was able to do something that doesn’t happen often in the industry. He landed his first role in a big budget film without any representation. That film was the 2014 remake of Robocop and featured prominent actors such as Joel Kinnaman, Michael Keaton, Gary Oldman and Samuel L. Jackson. After that role and experience on set, he decided that acting was his path and set out to learn more about perfecting his craft.

He currently can be seen in the Netflix hit film Code 8 Part II, had two supporting roles in the Academy Award and Golden Globe nominated film, The Breadwinner, which was produced by Angelina Jolie, and soon will have his biggest role to date in the upcoming Bill Guttentag directed film Afghan Dreams. On the small screen, he joined the prestigious group of actors who have appeared in an episode of a Law & Order series, his being the newest addition to the Law & Order universe, Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent. He’s also appeared in the Jason Priestly led series Private Eyes, Northern Rescue, and the MGM+ series Chapelwaite.

We sat down with Noorin to talk about acting, being a member of the Law & Order universe, what his “process”, if any, that he has to prepare for roles and how he uses his experience so far in the business to help his younger sister navigate the waters of Hollywood.

Pop Culture Principle – When did you know that acting was the career that you wanted to pursue?

Noorin Gulamgaus – When I was fairly young. I always wanted to be many things and I could never stick to one thing. When I realized acting was a possible career, I knew I wanted to do that because it allowed me to be and do anything. That’s the beauty of it! But I became more serious about acting near the end of high school. Before that, it was more of a hobby.

Pop Culture Principle – One of your most recent roles was an episode of the new series Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent. Can you tell us about your work in that episode?

Noorin Gulamgaus – Hey it’s cool to add Law & Order on the resume. It’s feels like a rite of passage! Although a small part, it was great to be back on set during a time when the industry was in an unhealthy state. I played Office Jamie Khan, a young rookie who fills in the detectives with information of a crime. When I auditioned for the part, I was told there’s possibility that this character may show up more than one episode. So I’m putting it out there in the universe and hopefully they ring the phone for season 2?

Pop Culture Principle – Law & Order is such a historic franchise and many actors consider working on any of those series a rite of passage. How important was it for you to not only land that gig, but also at the same time, realize that you are now part of the Law & Order universe?

Noorin Gulamgaus – Oh God! I think we all believe it’s a rite of passage. I didn’t even see this next question. I mean, it sure is! As mentioned before, it’s cool to have it on the resume. It’s as if, you’re a part of the cool kids group.

Pop Culture Principle – You also had a part in the recent Netflix release Code 8 Part II. Can you tell us about your role and what it was like working on that film?

Noorin Gulamgaus – That film was a phenomenal experience. Aside from all the success it has had since it came out and what Robbie Amell, Jeff Chan, Stephen Amell, Chris Pare, and the rest of the team had gone from the very beginning to have it where it is now, is just unbelievable. Hats off to them! I play one of Stephen’s characters psyke runners. That was a lucky opportunity because at the time I was in drama school and luckily when I got the part, my teachers allowed me to go off for a few days to film that. Extremely grateful for that experience and everyone who made it possible. Also, working with my sister, I mean doesn’t get any better, does it?

Pop Culture Principle – You stepped into the worlds of animation and voiceover work with the animated film The Breadwinner. Can you tell us about that project and your character in that project?

Noorin Gulamgaus – Again, I feel like no matter what project or part I’ve done, I’ve always been blessed with great opportunities. This is another project that I feel lucky to have been a part of. I got this job right out of high school, which was a nice way to dive into the world of acting! I voiced two characters on this film, Idrees and Sulayman, both very important part of the storyline. It’s very different than acting in front of a camera or on stage but I loved my time making it. I hope I can do more of these.

Pop Culture Principle – The Breadwinner was your first voiceover project. How do you prepare mentally, emotionally and physically for this type of role, knowing you will not have other actors to feed off when filming?

Noorin Gulamgaus – It involves your imagination, which I think if you’ve done theatre and been on a stage then it is extremely helpful. Luckily right before this film, I had been doing theatre in school and I was able to use my experience to voice these characters to life. I’m sure it would’ve been difficult without my theatre background, I might’ve not even been cast. Who knows?

Pop Culture Principle – How important was the authenticity of this project meaning that many of the cast members were Afghan?

Noorin Gulamgaus – I applaud the team who made every effort to cast authentically. There’s so much talent out in this world, that it does not make sense when productions decide not to try their best to cast authentic. We need to give people of color the spotlight to shine. Often you hear that the right person couldn’t be found and decides to move forward with a more experienced actor, which I think is funny. If you find authentic talent, but realize they may not be as great, maybe try working with them and giving them the time and space to find the confidence.

Pop Culture Principle – Angelina Jolie was one of the producers of The Breadwinner. How important was it to have her name attached to the film when it came to getting the project noticed and nominated for awards?

Noorin Gulamgaus – I think it was great to have her attached because it brings more attention towards the project and you always need someone with a big name to make things happen. But the script was great, the cast was amazing, the creative team was outstanding. Everyone was on their A-game. There was no doubt that this film wouldn’t get the attention it deserved. At the end of the day, if you have a great piece of work, people will appreciate it and give it the attention it deserves.

Pop Culture Principle – You also has the chance to appear in an episode of the Jason Priestly led Canadian series Private Eyes. Can you talk about your experience working on that series?

Noorin Gulamgaus – Oh wow, that was a long time ago. It was a fun being on that set. Funny story – when I showed up on set, the hair team decided to cut my hair, which I did not want at all! Eventually, they did. And maybe an hour later when I had to start filming my scene, they put a winter hat on me. You should’ve seen how upset I was.

Pop Culture Principle – You appeared in the 2014 remake of the film Robocop which starred Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman and Michael Keaton. What was your experience like playing the character Navid?

Noorin Gulamgaus – Another great project. I got that part without an agent. They were searching all over to find this part. I’m not sure how far they were looking but I know it was a long time before they found me. Long story short, I auditioned for this part and two weeks later I got the part. I always dreamed about being an actor and working in Hollywood films and at the age of 15, my dream had come true. To have your first acting gig on a film like RoboCop, is out of this world! I missed a lot of days of school, although on film it seems like a day of filming. If it wasn’t for this part and film, I honestly don’t think I would’ve been acting. This film gave me a reassurance that I should be following my dreams and gave me the confidence and hope that I could do this.

Pop Culture Principle – You have an upcoming film called Afghan Dreamers directed by Oscar winner Bill Guttentag. What can you tell us about that film and your role in the film?

Noorin Gulamgaus – This was my first leading part in a US film. Everything else I had done was cast by Canadian casting, but this was casted by the Betty Mae team, they’re behind all the great projects, such as HBO’s Euphoria. This film is based on a true story. I play a real person. I met up with the actual person and had over a 4 hour chat at a Starbucks. It was a surreal experience. I cannot wait for this film to come out because it’s a special one. We filmed it in Morocco and Hungary and I couldn’t have asked for a better location, cast, crew or script. I’m proud of this one!

Pop Culture Principle – Being an actor can be difficult because you can deal with a lot of rejection. How do you stay motivated to press on and how do you stay grounded as a person?

Noorin Gulamgaus – Great question! It’s a game of rejection. Constantly. But you need to have a thick skin. I always say that if there is anything else you can do besides acting, then go for that, because you’re better off that way. But if there is nothing else you can do and acting is the only thing you see yourself doing, then go for it! But go big! It’s a tough business and you need to always be ready for anything. I love cinema and theatre and the arts, so no matter how upset or down I am from a rejection, when I sit and watch something, I’m given a sprinkle of hope. Which is why I always end up back to grinding and trying to find ways to be better in any way.

Pop Culture Principle – Your young sister Sirena is also an actor. What advice have you given her when it comes to navigating the crazy world of acting and how protective of her are you when it comes to this industry?

Noorin Gulamgaus – I’ve been in this game for a while and I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t and how should one take care of themselves. So everything I know, she knows and I always make sure she makes the right choices. It can be a scary place when you’re young!

Pop Culture Principle – What advice would you give to any up and coming actors who want to be in this business?

Noorin Gulamgaus – I’m always looking out for these questions from other actors. But I’d say, if this is what you want to do, go out in the world and learn the craft. Whether it be theatre school or watching all the great performance on film or reading all the great plays. Just absorb and treat it as if you’re preparing to become a doctor or lawyer. I don’t think you can wing it in this industry. You may get lucky once or twice but to have longevity, you need craft.

Pop Culture Principle – Many actors we’ve spoken to who have been in the business for a while have developed a “process” when it comes to preparing for roles. You are still carving out your path in the industry, have you developed your “process” or is it still a work in progress for you?

Noorin Gulamgaus – I don’t have some concrete process that I always rely on. I think I’m fairly young in my acting career. It depends on the audition or project and so therefore, it’s all over the place. There’s certain things I like to do, to help either with the character or grounding myself. Whether it be meditation or playing with scents or music. But I don’t I want a process, because then everything becomes mundane and choreographed. Best to keep it always fresh! I used to think that there is always a blueprint to follow like any other career or job, but I’ve come to the realization, that its not with acting.

Pop Culture Principle – As you continue to progress in your career, do you hope to widen your talents and move into writing, directing and producing?

Noorin Gulamgaus – I hope so. I have written before and do liken to the idea of writing and also producing. There’s a lot that I’d love to do and I hope I’m able at some point in my life.

Pop Culture Principle – Any other upcoming projects you can tell us about?

Noorin Gulamgaus – There may be… Only time will tell.

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A big thank you to Noorin Gulamgaus for taking time out of his day to chat with us. Be on the lookout for his upcoming film Afghan Dreams!!

**First two headshots courtesy of Kristina Ruddick**

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