A great Actor, a good friend and a one-of-a-kind personality make young star Ahmed Hatem a keeper. After an intensive Ramadan filled with controversial feedback about the diversity and believability of his chosen roles, we decided to sit with the young talent to discuss the evolution in media, the portrayal of terrorism on TV and Bassem Youssef!
Your father, Hatem Sedky, was the Manager of Al Ahram newspaper. What was his reaction when you decided to become a professional Actor? Was he ever disappointed that you didn’t inherit his talents?
My father was extremely supportive of my choice. He was very accepting of the fact that I wanted to act and he gave me advice that might seem controversial to some people, but he encouraged me to work hard to get to where I want. He was never disappointed by my choice, on the contrary; he was very pleased.
Three religions used to live in harmony together in this same country, where now even families aren’t tolerant of each others’ political views.
You haven’t been around the scene much before Ramadan. Why is that?
Because I personally think that Egyptian cinema hasn’t been at its full potential lately, and I would rather invest in something that has great potential, than something to just be available. I’ve been concentrating on TV productions like my last two series, but hopefully soon enough cinema will regain its energy and bounce back, and so will I.
The two characters you played in Ramadan, Ahmed and Mousa, were two completely opposing characters. Which one was closer to your heart?
Both characters were actually two of my favorites. I like characters that are realistic and who depict the complications that might occur in real life. Ahmed and Mousa were very different, one was an introverted pharmacist who was never noticed by anyone, and the other was a Zionist fanatic creating chaos wherever he resided. My favorite notion is that both characters, though treading different tracks, ended up with the same fate; terrorism.
After “Haaret El Yahoud”, people may now have a liking or understanding towards Egyptian Jews. Do you think this method of promoting kindness and unity is successful? Do politics play a part?
Yes definitely, the light they were portrayed in was realistic; it was not in any way favoring any entity. It had nothing to do with Politics, but rather showing people how long down the wrong track we are. Three religions used to live in harmony together in this same country, where now even families aren’t tolerant of each others’ political views.
I think the media’s role is to increase awareness, regardless of how sensitive that subject might be
How do you feel about casting in Egypt? Recently, there have been many more new faces than we’ve been used to before when it was only a couple of faces dominating the screens.
There’s been a tremendous improvement in casting in Egypt. I think the producers realized that a one-man-show isn’t the way to go anymore and that having a group of people with different intertwining stories in one show, is much more appealing to the audience. I think the cast of “That Al Saytara” sets a perfect example. All pretty people with green and blue eyes who seem like completely normal people you see every day, who are fighting their own battles; which is very realistic nowadays.
Social media has become a necessary platform between Actors and their audience. Do you think the instant communication helps better your role as a performer?
No I don’t think it does. It’s good to hear the audience’s opinion instantly, but it’s also a platform where literally anybody can say whatever they feel like saying, and many times that includes badmouthing, disrespecting and nonsense.
Are you pro or against the media shedding some light on problems like drug and domestic abuse?
Completely pro. I think the media’s role is to increase awareness, regardless of how sensitive that subject might be. After “Awqat Faragh” a friend’s mother actually told me that her imagination would never have led her to imagine that the situations happening in the movie existed in our culture.