Kosher meets Halal

Interview with Iranian American actress Shiva Rose


Kosher meets Halal
by Lalé Shahparaki Welsh

Shiva Rose Gharibafshar, daughter of Iran’s beloved talk show host, Parviz Gharibafshar with first wife Rose, is a fascinating Iranian American actress once married to Dylan McDermott. The couple, who are parents to daughters Colette and Charlotte, are reportedly separated as of last summer which only adds to her charm since in spite of the emotional upheaval normally contrived by such an unpleasant scenario, Shiva has prevailed as a devoted Mom, a fashion magnate, a die hard political activist (who’s even been arrested twice for anti war protests --once with her baby!) maintains a regular blog on the Huffington Post, and managed to squeeze out a movie recently in only 23 days! The movie, David and Layla, which opened in New York LAST WEEK (Feb. 15th) has already won 6 awards at various film festivals, and continues to gain momentum. Inspired by a true story, this romantic comedy by Kurdish Iranian Jay Jonroy, is about 2 Star-crossed lovers, David & Layla like Romeo & Juliet but with Jews and Muslims in New York to make it allegorical. This film is bound to stir up controversy. [Trailer][Photos]

Making a full feature movie like David and Layla is quite an achievement specially for Iranians in Hollywood. But it was made in only 23 days! Can you tell us about the difficulties you experienced in making this film? Any memorable trials and tribulations you’d care to share?

Making David and Layla was challenging since it was shot during the hot humid summer months in New York City and Brooklyn. It was difficult trying to keep our makeup looking fresh. It was also a crazy schedule shooting long hours through the night. I’m so relieved that the film looks as good as it does, thanks to our amazing director of photography, Harlen. Now we can look back and realize all the hard work was worth it. I suppose one day that seems to stand out the most, is our first day of shooting that was done in a slaughter house. It was so hot, and sticky and the smell of death and blood was rampant. It was especially challenging since I am a vegetarian, and I had to act as if I was buying a chicken to slaughter. But then, it was Layla’s world and that made it bearable.

You’re half Iranian and half American. How has that affected your ability to get parts in Hollywood?

it is very interesting seeing what has changed in the industry regarding middle Eastern actors. When I first began acting, parts for Iranians were very very rare. Now it seems middle Eastern characters are becoming more mainstream, The only issue I come across is that I may not be Iranian looking enough for some casting directors. Of course as Iranians we know this is ridiculous since Iranians have much diversity in the way they can look from one region to another. I also have an issue playing terrorist types. So sometimes this can limit what kind of roles I can be up for

Given the political climate in the country at the moment, this film is a timely look at other cultures. Do you feel it can or has made a difference in the way voters may react? If so, how. (Please elaborate as you wish).

I’m sure this film can give Americans another view on what an Iraqi citizen is like. I play a Kurdish refugee, and many people in the states don’t know the historical context that colors the lives of Kurds. Hopefully this film can also shed light to the Kurdish plight

Your father is the beloved Iranian talk show host, Parvis Gharibafshar. Back in the 80’s (?) I remember him bragging about his daughter who was in a play at UCLA. Did you always want to be an actor and/or did you feel a sort of obligation to carry on in your father’s footsteps/or did he try and talk you out of it?

Yes, I have always wanted to be an actor. Since watching old movies as a child and being involved with theater. I’m sure growing up on television sets with my father added my comfort level. My father never tried to sway me away from being an actor, but he made sure I knew how vital an education was. I attended UCLA which is also where my father went.

I’m sure every Iranian girl out there thinks the same thing: What was your father’s reaction (or yours) to your somewhat unconventional love scene in David & Layla?

Yes I was very worried about the love scenes in David and Layla however, I had to keep reminding myself that as an actor my job is to tell the writers story as best as I can. It is still very difficult to watch those scenes and when my father was in the theater I had to leave. I suppose even being a woman in her thirties, with two children, still doesn’t take that shyness away

In additional to being an actor, you’re a mother and you seem to be have an avaricious interest in fashion (I’ve heard about the cool fashion parties at your house). But you’ve also been arrested for your political beliefs. (which I think is even cooler). Can you tell us about that?

I am involved very much in the fashion world. I suppose fashion is my hobby. I have such a deep attraction to vintage clothing. For years people thought it was a bit eccentric, but now vintage is really popular. I will actually be designing a line of rings called Braydon-Rose that is very vintage looking. They are called princess rings and have multi colored gems. Hopefully this will evolve into a clothing line.

I am also very political though now that the tide has turned against the Bush administration, I don’t feel as compelled to get arrested. Years ago I really felt as if my screams against the war in Iraq were falling on deaf ears. My first arrest was five years ago before the war started. My most recent was last year where I had to spend 8 hours in jail.

I’m not sure why I get so passionate about was. It is probably due to being a mother and feeling the pain of all those people who have lost their loved ones for nothing but ego, oil and politics. Now I try to raise money for various organizations. My favorite now being No More Victims. They are an incredible group that brings Iraqi children who have been maimed by US bombs here for surgery or treatment. You can watch the moving video on them on

What’s next for you professionally? Are you going to do the TV cooking show you’ve talked about , or write that book? What would be your thesis?

I am also currently doing a play in Los Angeles called The Time Of Your Life. Later this spring I will be in the play My Antonia based on the book by Will Cather. These plays are both really lovely works that illuminate humanity.

The film premieres in San Francisco on March 7th, with a private screening sponsored by BeyondPersia on Saturday March 8th . Meet Shiva Rose & Writer/Producer Jay Jonroy for an in person Q & A. For more information email or visit



Chicago gathering this Thursday 28th to see this Movie

by Amir Khosrow Sheibany (not verified) on

This Thursday is the last night the movie is showing in Chicago, and a group of us are getting together to see the film.

Not sure if this will be arranged by Shabe Jomeh or /Chicago, but in any case if you fancy watching the film with another bunch of Iranian's,(to continue the gossip and nonsense in the comments section of this page) see you this Thursday.

Be omide didar
Amir Khosrow
PS. FYI: From the preview of the film, that I saw last week, this seems to be a higher quality piece of work that the sorts of student productions that have been coming out of Iran recently.

PPS. Any connection between this Ms. Rose and Javid Jahanshah’s mother?. A link from Rose family via Ghaotbee & Diba families to the Pahlavi family would answer some questions as to JJ’s anti-Shahanshahi oghdeh’s, trials & tribulations. Would remind me of the Star Wars Episode where we find out Darth Vader is actually the father of shahzdeh’s Luke & Layla.


Finally an uplifting film, that works!

by Anonymous9999 (not verified) on

Why is it most Iranian films seem sad and depressing? As if this is the only way to get a message across. The obvious sometimes backfires, and I have yet to see one of these depressing films and ever get any kind of positive message or even a resolution out of them. "Marmoolak" with it's subtle mixed message was able to get more across with the deft use of humor. In David & Layla, we get more than just another cross-cultural love story, we get a range of emotion that helps us connect first with the characters, then their cultures, and finally the politics that surrounds us daily, and tries to take over. This film shows with it's sexy, funny, dramatic way, that politics should NEVER even be allowed into this discussion. And that Humanity is above all, the prime governing factor. Bravo!


Immediate and unconditional deletion of Arabian Gulf from Google

by Anonymous on

As you might know, recently Google has submitted the fake Arabian Gulf name to the Google earth... here we have a petition objecting to this unauthorized fabrication of a name with the history of doc over 5000 years...

As you may know the fake Arabian Name was made in 60s by Jamal Abdolnase and has not historical or international factual base.
you can see about it at too: // as well as more on the Persian Gulf and the controversy... .

Recently a precious collection of historical documents been gathered in a book on Persian Gulf's historical back ground since 3000 BC... as you can see it used to be mentioned as SINUS PERSICUS in the historians jots by all valid resources... :

Here is the petition : //

The simplest thing we can do which costs nothing is to sign that and if possible populate in on ur webpage to invite other friends to do the same ASAP...

Thank you!


Iraq-Iran war, Iranian Journalists, Muslim Women, Spice & Sex!

by Iconoclast on

Read about David & Layla's background:

Iraq-Iran war, Iranian Journalists, the surprise Shiva Rose, Stereotype Muslim women vs. the liberated dancing, wine-drinking Layla who gracefully celebrates her rich Iranian and Kurdish cultures, and...Spicy Food and Sex!  Interview of writer, producer, director:


JAN JANRAY aka Jalal Jonroy

Let's Focus on the Positive. What happened?

by JAN JANRAY aka Jalal Jonroy on

Last Friday, I posted a Comment here entitled "Let's Focus on the Positive' about Persian American Hollywood actress Shiva Rose (Layla) in David & Layla film.

It got posted. The next day it disappeared.

Anyone saw it? 

Could perhaps admin shed some light to please tell us, what happened?  Merci.

Jan Janroy aka Jalal Jonroy


Interview with Iranian American actress Shiva Rose

by zaniar (not verified) on

Excellent job,I have seen David and Layla twice, And I very much enjoyed the movie and Shiva Rose's amazing performance. I truly recommended to all Iranian to see it.


Iranian elements of David & Layla

by Iconoclast on

Read about Iranian elements of David & Layla such as the music of Kayhan Kalhor, Ali Akbar Moradi...the vocals of avant guard Iranian composer/singer Sussan Deyhim...and the Iranian background of the writer/director at this blog: //


Jealous people are ugly

by Proud Indeed (not verified) on

For some reason, I feel more proud of being Iranian when I see people like the lady in the film than when I see jealous Iranians. I really don't know her and her father well, but she makes me proud indeed.


Hey Wise a@@#

by doodooli (not verified) on

Why are you so angry? Did you miss your therapy session again? Are you the only real Irooni here? What you say does not have much to do with the truth. My good friend you would not know the truth if it hits you in the head. Take your negativity and venom somewhere else. You need help.


To All With False Prides

by Wiseman (not verified) on

Why is it that many so called Iranians, like Kazem & etc. hate the truth & are always running away from the reality???
Gharibafshar & "clowns" like him were dead even when they were presenting people with trah programs on TV in Iran. In fact he was part of the gang who were running the TV network there. What did he ever do any good in his life that he should be remembered as "alive." In fact it was because of corrupt people like him that the country went to the path that we see the results today.
As for his sweet very old daughter you could ask her whether or not she was following her dad footsteps when she got separated with 2 children to get into stupid acting as her dad did when he married "Zoya" now the forgotten singer & also dead!!


wiseman you are an idiot!!!!so call yourself something else!!!

by kazem (not verified) on

Her dad Gharibafshar is alive you idiot.Therefore your credebility is floshed down the drain moran!!!


New "Excellent" review of Shiva Rose. Why wasn't she nomiated?

by Iconoclast on

Wait till you see Shiva Rose's amazing performance as Layla in David & Layla! Now this quote in Chicago Tribune on the occasion of  David & Layla premiering at Gene Siskel Film Center on Friday Feb 22:

"Rose boasts classic beauty, stoic dignity and an ability to pull off her character's (Layla) rare but striking angry outbursts."

As recently reported at, Shiva Rose is currently the most consistently praised Iranian & Middle Eastern actress working in Hollywood.

'Excellent' praise in 100% over 20 reviews including The Washington Post, The Variety,..:

"Excellent", "Star-making", "Breakthrough Performance", "Excels", "Winningly Charismatic',  Effortlessly Sexy", "Gracefully Luminous", "boasts classic beauty, stoic dignity"...

Why was our unique Persian Rose not nominated for an Oscar? Why was not David & Layla not nominated for any Academy Awards or even Golden Globe Awards?

Could it be, unlike Persepolis (a good and welcome film) David & Layla dares to refer to Ariel Sharon's destruction of Lebanon, Israel's and Henry Kissinger's past roles in the bloody mess in our beloved Middle East?

Or, could it be the 'equality' in the Jewish Muslim theme of David & Layla? And our Rose (Layla) manages to educate a Jewish man about our Iraniandiverse cultures... 

And for  the fist-time ever on screen, a Muslim woman get a Jew to convert!

Layla is a Kurdish refugee born in Halabja on the border with Iran whose genocide by Saddam's gas was captured by Iranian video journalists. When see the film in the end it is dedicated on screen "For the LAYLAs of the World." Shiva/Layla represents the oppressed women of Iran and the Islamic world.

And the director is not a Turk bu a Kurdish British American whose great grand parents were  born in Iran. 


The trailer looks good, and

by ali (not verified) on

The trailer looks good, and iy was made by a Turk (not a Jew for a change.)



It seems like Wiseman is

by buffaloshit (not verified) on

It seems like Wiseman is missing a pulse not Gharibafshar.

ladan K

Oy "wise"man

by ladan K on

For one thing Gharibafshar is alive and well! And for another, what the hell are you to know she has no talent!? You haven't even seen her film yet! Have you?

She seems very sweet and smart in this interview and gettiing any movie made is a hard enough task for anyone, let alone an Iranian here in Hollywood. I'm proud of her as an Iranian woman.

Can't you find in you to be supportive? What's wrong with you?





by Anonymously (not verified) on

Boy are you full of piss and vinegar. Calm down. She is another Iranian that can use your support. Heck, I'll support you if you are any good. I can see you are wasting your time and really not getting anywhere...LOL.


Wasting Her Time

by Wiseman (not verified) on

Like father like daughter. Once her late father, Gharibafshar, was boasting about his daughter marriage to a little known actor, Dylan!
Now she is wasting her time to get somewhere on her own! She is too old for that & is devoid of any talent. Her dead father could not have become anybody in Iran if it was not because of his connection to the corrupt Ghaotbee & Farah Diba family. Just as a reminder to her.


heart warming

by doroodtoall (not verified) on

I feel that we are continuesly making headway in becoming a part of the American society by contributions from people such as Ms. Shiva Rose. Thank you Shiva Jaan for representing us very well here.

ladan K

I Like Gharibafshar, her dad

by ladan K on

Where can we meet her? Will there be a party after the screening?