Chad — a single-camera Middle Eastern family comedy co-created by and starring the Saturday Night Live alumna and directed by Jason Winer — was a late order, getting the pilot greenlight on February 10. It has been casting the other roles ever since, a process that took awhile. The two adult co-starring roles opposite Pedrad in the pilot have now been filled, with British actor Paul Chahidi and Christine Tawfik landing the parts of Hamid and Naz in the 20th TV-produced pilot, which will shoot in late May, after the upfronts.
“Because of our commitment to authenticity, we conducted a worldwide casting search for several roles in this pilot which meant that we wouldn’t have been able to get visas in time to shoot within the traditional pilot window,” 20th TV said in a statement.
Casting a family comedy that represents a specific ethnicity is hard because it involves finding actors that have chemistry, but also look and sound authentic. Pedrad is Iranian American, and Chad, Hamid and Naz were written as Iranian Americans. Chahidi is of Iranian descent while Tawfik was born in Egypt. (Similarly, on 20th TV, successful ABC family comedy Fresh Off the Boat, about a Taiwanese American family, Constance Wu is of Taiwanese descent, Randall Park is Korean American).
Written by Pedrad & Rob Rosell, Chad centers on a 14-year-old boy (Pedrad), who in the throes of adolescence is tasked with being the man of the house, which leaves him with all the responsibilities of being an adult without any of the perks. Chahidi plays Hamid, Naz’s sweet older cousin. Tawfik plays Naz, the witty long-divorced mom raising her two kids in Delaware with the help of her older cousin, Hamid.
Pedrad, Rosell and Winer executive produce with 3 Arts’ Michael Rotenberg and Dave Becky.
Tawfik, a Second City Mainstage aluma and an iO Chicago performer, has guest starred on NBC’s The Blacklist and NBC’s Chicago Fire. She is repped by Principato-Young Entertainment and Grossman & Jack Talent. Chahidi is a stage and screen actor, recently seen in the UK miniseries And Then There Were None. He is repped by Gordon and French.