'Blacklist' star Hisham Tawfiq trades fireman job for Hollywood

Actor and veteran Hisham Tawfiq on America's real heroes


From the firehouse to Hollywood; Hisham Tawfiq has a life that could be a movie. He retired from the FDNY after 20 years on the job and currently stars on NBC’s “The Blacklist.” He told FOX411 that while actors “may not be putting out fires” they are heroes in their own way.

FOX411: So, what do you think of actors who play tough guys on TV when you are actually one?
Hisham Tawfiq: I don’t consider myself a tough guy. I just love my job and do it but it goes both ways. I guess being a tough guy or having a tough job. I think you appreciate your job a little more.

FOX411: Which one do you appreciate more -- being a fireman or an actor?
Tawfiq: You know it’s funny, when I’m on set people want to know why I’m so happy, why I’m so positive you know because there’s a lot of waiting around and things like that, and I’m like, “This is the good life right here. You have the food, you have water, you have the trailer, you have all of this.” When I go back to work it’s completely different. It makes me really appreciate it.

FOX411: You were also in the Marines and served in Desert Storm. Does it bother you that we celebrate and pay stars absurd amounts of money while firemen, soldiers, and police officers are the everyday real life heroes?
Tawfiq: Yeah, I mean it’s just the life we live. I mean it’s kind of reverse but that’s just the way it is. I have my heroes I look up to football players, basketball players, you know those are my heroes but of course they’re not putting out fires and saving lives but they’re also doing something good. A lot of times when we’re sad or going through hard times we look at a movie, and that’s what cheers us up and brings us joy so they have a job to do and might be considered heroes.

FOX411: What has the transition been like for you? Do your fellow firemen tease you for being a celeb now?
Tawfiq: It’s kind of trippy. Sometimes you’re at the firehouse, you might be at a fire or saving someone’s life or CPR or whatever it is and then two hours later I’m on set and I’m doing a scene and every once in a while I sit down and I’m like, “Wow, three hours ago I was doing that and now I’m doing this.” I think if it happened over night they (firemen) would tease me but they’ve seen me over the last ten years go out for auditions if anything they’d be like, “You didn’t get that one and you didn’t get this one.” Because this role is big they chirp a little more.

FOX411: Anything you can give away about upcoming episodes of “The Blacklist?"
Tawfiq: I think I can tell you that there is a villain Mr. Solomon who is very interesting and I have some dealings with him.

Fox Reporter and FOX411 host Diana Falzone covers celebrity news and interviews some of today's top celebrities and newsmakers.  You can follow her on Twitter @dianafalzone.