Meet Simon Kassianides, the James Bond and Star Wars talent making his mark in the industry

We sat down with James Bond star Simon Kassianides to talk about dreams, life changes and growing up a Marvel and Star Wars fan.

Actor Simon Kass, looking at the camera wearing a shirt, on a black background.

Simon Kassianides is a presence like no other. He made his start in the industry starring alongside Hollywood legend Woody Harrelson in the play, The Night of the Iguana in London’s West End before taking the UK and US film and television scene by storm.

He has starred in some of the biggest film and television franchises in the world, playing Sunil Bakshi in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Yusef Kabira in the James Bond film, Quantum of Solace and most recently, Axe Woves in the critically acclaimed Star Wars series, The Mandalorian.

Simon Kassianides and I sat down on a Tuesday evening to chat all about his illustrious career. I had a loose plan to talk about what it has been like for him to star in such beloved franchises but what we ultimately ended up having was a really deep and wonderful conversation about dreams, life changes and growing up a Marvel and Star Wars fan.

Simon Kassianides is a formidable soul and it was an honour to chat with him… and to learn that he studied Business at Ireland’s very own University College Dublin! “I lived in Ireland when I was 20/21 and I lived in Ballsbridge in Dublin and I used to go to UCD! I know, I know, a different life,” Simon Kass said.

So without further ado, let’s meet Simon Kassianides!

How do you go from studying business in Ireland to starring in these really big franchises?

I don’t have a clue. I mean, I think the truth is, I’ve always been very focused. I’ve always known what I’d love to do. I think it’s because of my background. My grandfather came from a village in Cyprus and had no money at all. There’s this part of me that thinks, “Well, if he could have grown up with absolutely nothing, and ended up living in a beautiful house in London, then nothing’s impossible.”

I grew up in a society where my limitations were always impressed upon me, especially in the UK. It was always like, “You should know your place”. Even my very first agent was stifling my dreams. I had true aspirations to work with people that I admired and I didn’t know how I was going to get there.

I think that the most important aspect of my journey is to lead with kindness and it opens up doors. People want to work with you, or they want to hang out with you or speak with you and if you’re given the chance, and you’re half decent, then it can carry on for you.

I don’t want to belittle the fact that I’ve worked hard and made sure that I’ve tried to be as good as possible in my performances, I’ve really done the work. But that’s separate from actually caring about the human in front of you. I look back on it now and I just know that I’m really, really grateful and happy about it.


You mentioned dreams, was there a moment when you realised that you were pursuing your dreams?

Yeah, I mean, there were several. I think that the first one that really knocked me sideways was one of my very first jobs, which was being on stage with Woody Harrelson in the West End. I did a Tennessee Williams play, It was The Night of the Iguana and I was so focused because I was bricking it. I was like, “What is happening? Someone is going to tap me on the shoulder and go, ‘Come on fake'”. I had complete impostor syndrome.

The other one was being in LA and driving around and seeing the Hollywood sign and thinking, “Whoa, that’s kind of crazy.” Being opposite James Bond and realising that, despite the lovely man that Daniel Craig was, I was actually looking and interacting with this huge icon of movies was a really strange out-of-body experience. Star Wars was also a huge moment when I got the call. Everything that’s happened since then, even in the last few days, has been a moment where you can’t help but realise the dream that you’re in.

Were you a fan of the Marvel universe before joining Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

I grew up playing with my brother’s Star Wars toys and collecting comics. My favourite was Daredevil and I’d collect these comic books with every good grade I got at school, I’d get a bit of money. Jim Lee signed my gated X-Men I so I was deep into that.

It was so wonderful. Because when I’m at a convention, you’ll meet so many cool people that say, “Oh my god we loved you in that show!” And you just don’t realise the impact that that has. That was another big moment because I completely invented this guy, he was some sort of henchman for an episode and I thought, “Let me try and come up with a voice for this guy, let me see, if I was reading the comic book, what would he be like?”

So you go from Marvel and then you join this ginormous pop culture phenomenon, The Mandalorian as Axe Woves, how did that role come about?

After doing Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, I turned down a lot of work. Then I got the call for an audition and I made a bold choice. We knew it was action, we knew it was kind of military, but had no idea whether we were going to play Mandalorians or not. And luckily, it landed. I was thinking of Han Solo, I thought “How would Han Solo do this?” and that’s what I did.


The interview with Simon Kassianides ended with some talk about his future projects, including writing a script for the film adaptation of Camilla Lac Berg’s best-seller Trapped and a thriller titled The Walker. To find out more about his work, follow him on social media and visit his website here.

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