Iranian-born actress and human rights advocate Nazanin Boniadi has dedicated her performance in upcoming series Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power to “the brave women of Iran who risk everything for a better tomorrow”.
Boniadi plays the character of Bronwyn in the reboot, which is set several millenia before the events of the main Lord of the Rings trilogy. Bronwyn was newly created for the TV series and does not feature in J.R.R. Tolkien’s original texts.
Speaking at a panel event at Comic-Coon in San Diego on Tuesday, Boniadi said of her portrayal: “I tapped into what I believe women are doing for my homeland in playing this character, in liberating and redeeming [those] who back in her ancestors’ days, chose evil over good.”
In a tweet after the event, she reaffirmed that she wanted to honor Iranian women and “every woman on the frontlines of change”, and in Persian wrote simply: “My performance in Lord of the Rings is dedicated to the lionesses of Iran.”
My portrayal of Bronwyn in @LOTRonPrime is inspired by the brave women of my homeland Iran who risk everything for a better tomorrow & is dedicated to every woman on the frontlines of change— Nazanin Boniadi (@NazaninBoniadi) July 24, 2022
اجرای من در ارباب حلقه ها تقدیم به شیرزنان ایران زمین است#TheRingsOfPower @Comic_Con pic.twitter.com/dIodEQ7UiB
The Rings of Power is due to be released on September 2 this year. Like the three-film Lord of the Rings franchise that preceded it in the early 2000s, the first season was shot in New Zealand, and cost the commissioning platform Amazon a reported $465 million.
At Comic-Con, Boniadi also praised the show’s writers for having “given every female character such agency. We don’t serve the men around us; we have a storyline in our own right.”
The comments come at a time of renewed attacks on women’s civic and personal freedoms in Boniadi’s country of birth.
The last month has seen an increase in the number of “morality patrols” deployed to city streets to harass women over their clothing, new controls imposed on family planning, and a wave of arrests coinciding with the first national “Hijab and Chastity Day”.
Among those recently arrested were at least two women who openly protested against compulsory veiling, and several members of the self-styled “Mothers for Justice”: the mothers of young men who were killed in Iran’s November 2019 protests, who have been outspoken in their demands for accountability and political change in Iran.