Amr Waked Back from Hollywood

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Waked, the AUC graduate, took on acting during his college years and starred in many plays in the AUC theatre scene dotted with many university awards. Waked acted in “Carmen”, “Afarit Hamza Wa Fatma”, directed by Rasha Al Gamal, “Oedipus”, in addition to other plays directed by Abd El Hady El Gazzar, and Ahmed El Attar.

Waked states that the experience he gained from the AUC theatre gave him a good ground and support to pursue his acting career and helped a lot in shifting from theatre to motion pictures.

Throughout his career Waked has several film mile stones to be proud of. Amr’s big break came in 2001 when he was given the role of a Palestinian freedom fighter, in the film “Ashab walla Business”. Unknown to audiences up to that point, Amr portrayed the role so well that many viewers left the theater believing he was a Palestinian actor. “This movie introduced me to the audiences not to the scene as I was known to actors, producers and directors”, Waked explains. Since then, his reputation as one of Egypt’s most serious and dedicated character actors went from strength to strength.

 

His undeniable talent crushed all the hesitancy and his performance in his first major film solidified his belief that he could become a major actor in the region. His first lead role came in “Del el Samaka” (Fish’s tail). However, his most acclaimed performance came in the short film "Lilly"; where he made an exceptional performance as a young Muslim cleric who is assigned to take over a mosque in a very poor and shady neighborhood, the dilemma unfolds when he falls in love with the neighborhood sweetheart, Lilly. Although it was a short film, Waked received excellent reviews for his portrayal of the cleric.

“I have been awarded twice, once for “Ganet El Shayateen” (Fallen Angels Paradise) and the other time for “Del el Samaka”, both awards and films are very dear to me”, comments Waked.

 

 

Taking a closer look at Waked’s filmography one can conclude that Waked is not seen that much in these day’s commercial movies and comedies. “It’s not that I don’t choose commercial movies, I choose movies based on what makes more sense to me to make, I believe that most of my movies were commercial but were not taken as such” explains Waked when being questioned about how he stays true to himself as a character role actor. “I like to think that all my roles are different I want to believe that. Yeah, I think they were different”, says Amr.

 

 

His acting skills have taken Amr Waked to an excursion to Hollywood in the controversial and award winning movie “Syriana” based on the memoirs of Robert Baer, a CIA agent specialized in Middle Eastern Affairs. Waked plays a sheikh, who recruits and prepares young men to be suicide bombers, starring alongside Matt Damon and George Clooney.

 

“I was casted for “Syriana” by a casting director who came here and met with several actors including myself. I made a camera test and got accepted, then I went and read the script” Waked tells us. The good part about “Syriana” is that it doesn’t depict Arabs as barbars and terrorists yet is rather fair and reveals the state of corruption and dirty business deal which is the main reason that the Middle East is constantly being stirred up for, namely the oil. “My favourite scene in the movie is when Clooney’s friend tells him: ‘Corruption is why we win’, I think it’s a very smart and true remark”, Amr concludes.

 

The Syriana experience was a good one in all terms. “I met lovely people, and every single person I met was very bright and very insightful they were not people who work for a movie to get the pay check, they work on the movie because they like it, they all enjoy every little part in their job, they all love it and they all like each other and they all play with each other, it’s a one big family really”, shares Waked, “Well I haven’t met face to face with Matt Damon really, but it has been quite an amazing experience to meet George Clooney first of all and to work with him as well. It gave me a lot of confidence maybe”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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