Arian Moayed’s web series is perfect for these dark and dangerous times.
Though best known for playing Stewy Hosseini on the HBO series “Succession,” Moayed is the writer-director of “The Accidental Wolf,” a thriller that perfectly embodies the 2020s with its twisty plotlines about military cover-ups set against a backdrop of racial and cultural tensions, presidential conspiracy theories and (potentially) manmade epidemics.
Yet the scripts written by Moayed for the show, which streams exclusively on Topic, have often proven to be ahead of its time too, considering the latest chapter of “The Accidental Wolf” was filmed in 2018 and 2019, with the first season written in 2015 and the genesis of the series dating back to 2011.
“I get that a lot in my work of like, ‘Oh, my God, how did you know that (was going to happen)?” Moayed, 41, said. “I wish it could be like I feel great about (being right but) the world is a (expletive) (expletive)box. … It’s bizarre.”
The Emmy-nominated series, featuring a top-notch cast that includes Laurie Metcalf, Denis O’Hare and Judith Ivey, centers on Katie (Kelli O’Hara), a wealthy Manhattan housewife and mother whose humdrum life is turned upside down when she receives a random long-distance phone call from a dying stranger begging her to help his pregnant wife, Tala.
Though everyone around Katie warns her to forget about the murdered stranger, she instead sets off in search of the truth — and Tala.
Moayed, who was born in Iran, raised near Chicago and currently lives in New York City, said the series is “an “unbelievably uncomfortably messy” type of “response to the world at hand,” not only to how Western nations treat developing nations but how women are treated as second-class citizens.
“I grew up in a very Iranian feminist household. And those words might seem confusing to a reader because they might not go together. But Iranians are massive feminists,” said Moayed, a father of two daughters.
“And I was told at a very young age that men overpower women unfairly and unjustly since the dawn of time. … I wasn’t trying to write a feminist piece, I was just writing what I think this world was putting onto (Katie).”
An acclaimed stage actor who in 2011 was nominated for a Tony for best featured actor for “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo,” Moayed said the initial idea for the series started a decade ago when he co-starred with O’Hara in a production of “King Lear.”
O’Hara played Lear’s daughter Regan, and Moayed was struck by the sympathy he felt for Regan, “the worst character in the show,” and asked O’Hara if he could write something for her.
What he most hopes people will take away from “The Accidental Wolf” is the question, “How far would you go to help a stranger?
“Would you be willing to give up your entire livelihood?” Moayed said. “Your child? Marriage? Privilege? Access? … What would it look like if you do?”