Garen Boyajian: A Man of Many Roles

A Canadian actor of Armenian descent, commonly recognized for his portrayal of young Arshile Gorky in Atom Egoyan’s “Ararat,” Garen Boyajian is rapidly making a name for himself in the Hollywood film industry. Success has not always come quickly. But with two movies slated for release, undergirded by a visionary long-term plan, life is in motion according to “my goals and dreams.”

Garen Boyajian

However put, it appears that Garen Boyajian can truly do it all.

“Armenians love identifying me as the boy in Ararat. But I was 14 and that was 8 years ago. I hope that doesn’t mean I’ve already peaked,” he jokes. It may come as a surprise to some that Boyajian has a diverse resume with roles spanning many genres and media. He had a recurring role on the popular television sitcom “Radio Free Roscoe” and was a recipient of the Best Actor Award at the 2008 Monaco International Film Festival. Boyajian also speaks fondly of his experience in theatre, mentioning his starring role in “A Crooked Man,” written by Richard Kalinoski (“Beast on the Moon”).

“Three Veils” is a film about the individual journeys of three women who confront their cultural issues. Boyajian’s character is wedged between two of those women as the brother to one and the love interest to another. “Above all, I think it’s a brave film. The writer-director of the project, Rolla Selback, didn’t pull any punches while addressing controversial topics and taboos that touch my generation,” he says. The movie will go to film festivals before being released in theatres.

The second movie Boyajian filmed this year is a dramatic love story titled “The Son of an Afghan Farmer.”

“It’s a beautiful piece about a student who earns a scholarship from Afghanistan to Stanford University, then fights feelings of responsibility to return when his family’s only source of survival, their poppy field, is threatened,” he explains. Boyajian spent weeks filming on farmlands located on the outskirts of Santa Barbara, Calif.

Boyajian also recently starred in a comedy called “Bamboo Shark,” which is about a group of college students who drop out of school to make a movie—only to realize they need “star” caliber actors to populate their cast. Without a superstar budget, they instead hire impersonators to fool people into thinking they’ve got these big names—Angelina Jolie, Tom Cruise, and Will Smith, to name a few—in their project.

Boyajian portrays one of these students, scrambling to get the film made while tempering the demands of these pretentious would-be stars. “You’re not Tom Cruise—you just look like him,” quips Boyajian. They filmed on-location at a college campus in Southern California.

Where other actors fill their time between projects with extended periods of leisure, Boyajian “unintentionally became a producer” to facilitate his acting career.

“Developing projects has taught me a lot about the industry and the ‘business’ of showbusiness,” he says. He wouldn’t disclose the details of one current project, but when pressed revealed that it is a political thriller produced by Baldwin Entertainment (“Sahara,” “Ray”) being read right now by well-known directors. He’s also producing a film adaptation of a Ray Bradbury trilogy.

The Bradbury series begins with “Death is a Lonely Business,” which is the story of a young writer with high aspirations who arrives in Southern California’s Venice Beach only to become embroiled in a murder mystery.

“Ray Bradbury is one of the most celebrated authors of our time, and the series is quite compelling,” Boyajian says. “The message of the film is to live life at its fullest—fearlessly, with passion and vigor. All the books in the trilogy are thought-provoking and exhilarating, and I’m sure audiences are going to enjoy and anticipate each film.”

Boyajian was also recently cast in a film called “The Cold,” which is currently in pre-production in Quebec, Canada. The thriller follows the lives of four college students who travel to a cabin in Quebec for a hunting retreat—but become the hunted. It will be filmed in Quebec and stars Haydn Christensen, best known for his roles in “Star Wars” and “Jumper.”

For more information about Garen Boyajian, visit


Jenny Yettem

Jenny Yettem is a former editor of The Armenian Weekly. She currently serves as editor of The California Courier.

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