Nour tells it all…

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We were introduced to Nour through TV commercials a few years ago, for which she was casted through an agency in Lebanon during her studies at university. "I accompanied my friends to a casting and by chance I was offered to do a TV commercial in Egypt, I thought why not and gave it a try", Nour explains modestly. Nour is a Fine Arts graduate with a passion for painting, "I haven’t painted in a long time, this needs a stress free environment and time, both I don’t have at the moment due to the film projects I am engaged in", she admits.


While appearing on commercials she was offered a role in box office hit "Hammam fi Amsterdam" (Hammam in Amsterdam) but refused as back then she didn’t want to pursue acting. Until director Said Hamed offered her a leading role in "Short wa Fanela wa Cap" (Shorts, shirt and cap) alongside Ahmed El Sakka, which was a great success. Shortly after, director Ali Edrees casted her in another leading role in "Ashab wala Business" (Friendship or Business), turning out to be another success.


During a film break Nour was offered a role in Lenin El Ramly's play "Teheb Teshuf Ma2sa?" (Would you like to see a calamity?) directed by Khaled Galal on the National Theatre. The play was on for 2 months, in which Nour moved her residence to Cairo. "I did one play only and I must say I loved it very much, theatre is very different than cinema, more hard work, and it was a very nice experience. The immediate feedback you receive from the audience is breathtaking and very challenging as you see on their faces if they like it or not, and it amazing when they do and devastating when they don't. I remember the first night when the curtain rose I was so nervous and trembling believing that the audience can see my teeth clapping. But once I was out and began my lines it was all gone, yet I wouldn't have dared to look at the audience at first. I would like to do more plays, but it has to be a good one to be worth all the hard work and long hours, regardless of National or commercial as long as the play is good. Theatre is very demanding and time consuming, somehow like a marriage", Nour excitedly points out.


Apart from her films we had the chance to see Nour on the small screen in one of the best Ramadan TV serials in 2005 called "Aamil 1001" (Agent 1001) alongside Mustafa Shabaan and many other stars. "It was time for me to try out working on a TV serial, it was a very interesting experience that I would surely like to repeat if a good serial comes along that would help my career and take me some steps ahead. TV is also a different experience from cinema as you spend several months shooting and you reach a much wider audience compared to cinema. Currently, I am focusing on cinema, though", she adds.


Many actors of her generation are often asked about the contemporary Egyptian cinema with many young actors in leading roles and the older generation in supporting roles, which is a change that most of the audiences asked for and welcomed as nothing is more unauthentic than a forty year old playing a college student in love. Nour states her point of view in a very professional and mature manner by pointing out that nothing is worse than classifying cinema in certain categories as often done by the media creating the term "Cinema El Shabab" (Youth Cinema). "I think that the current situation of Egyptian cinema is fine and one should not label or categorize cinema as 'cinema grande' or 'cinema of youth or middle age', cinema is cinema. It all depends on the type of role, if it demands a young woman's role it requires a certain actress and if the role is that of an older woman it requires another. Every role has its film and every film demands its roles. The role determines the suitability of an actor, if the available scripts happen to have young people in the leading role then be it and that doesn’t mean it is "Cinema El Shabab" (Youth Cinema) it simply cinema and all age groups are part of it", Nour clarifies. "Apart from that I was lucky to begin my career in the rush of technological advancement of Egyptian cinema production. There are all kinds of film genres in today's repertoire, comedy, suspense and drama catering to different audiences and tastes. Variety is very important as cinema should not be one-track minded. Variety and big casts allow newcomers to appear and get their chance of exposure, like when I was a newcomer a few years ago", she energetically states.


The past years a lot has changed on the silver screen regarding the participation of women in leading roles of modern day cinema. Leading roles and plots were often dominated by males and script writers had not that much to offer to their female counterparts. When asking if there are enough leading roles for women that allow actresses to reveal their potential, Nour believes that this has changed somewhat. "This was true at one point I must say, but I am not the type of person that complains about playing supporting roles in general. I think that the past two years there have been many women in leading roles and even films with a female cast only in the leading roles. I believe that the more experience one claims the closer one is to that leading role as it requires a lot of artistic maturity. Personally, I don’t chase after that, it all depends on how good I am becoming and improving my performance and skills. It is never too late; I don’t have to get a leading role in my first two years of being on the job, for instance, it all depends on how well I prove myself, gain trust and credibility, then everything is reachable. Now since I am longer in the business, I still don’t chase after leading roles but if it comes a long and I have the minimum requirement to do a good job and meet expectations then I would be glad to take it. Let's look at western cinema, take Hollywood for example, it is a male dominated film industry, of course there are women in leading roles, but they have to work also much harder to reach what men in that business do. But in the end anything needs hard work and nothing is impossible", she continues.





Looking at Nour's filmography one can hardly find a role that wasn’t accepted by critics and audiences since she began her career as an actress. Her roles introduced Nour's different facets and diversity projecting wise decision making. "I am not the type to sit at home for years until the perfect role comes a long, I understand and respect those who do, but I am just not that type. I am neither the type that runs after roles nor that waits for three years to pick the role I want. There are different reasons for that. I think that acting is like sports, the more you get to practice the better you get. I truly believe in that. The more you work the more exposure and trial and error you get to experience. Every director adds to your skills and helps getting out the most in you. So when an important role comes you are ready to accept it and do it well. But if I stay home for three years and don’t accept smaller roles I might not be in good shape to do it as well as if I were well practiced. Another reason is that I do commercial cinema, I don’t find that a problem like some would assume, I don’t want to do cinema that only two persons watch. I am an actress to enjoy and let others do to. How could an actor be liked, respected without an audience to watch and exposure? Sure, there are films with more artistic value and some with more commercial value, and I enjoy doing both. While I wait for my so-called role of my life, I believe, that I must engage in different projects some with smaller or bigger roles; this is my way to gain experience and part of my portfolio. A director can wait for a few years to develop a film as there is a vision and overview of a plot, to which we as actors are linked and integrated, but an actor must keep on practicing and trying out different things to be able to measure his/her capacities and caliber. Of course, bad choices and failure are part of that learning curve but this is the only way to learn and gain experience. If we look at any great actor's filmography there are a maximum of six outstanding films and the rest are somewhat good, better or not that good, often matured by time. In my case I have no regrets in retrospect, even if I played a role that I wasn’t that happy with, I am still content with my resume. As any mistake has made me progress in my acting career. I learned to make different choices in the future. If I would have not done all of my roles I might have never been able to do "Malaki Eskenderya" (Prive Alex) the way I did. May be if it were my second film my performance would have been different. Each role comes at the right time; with maturity the approach is different", Nour tells passionately. "Malaki Eskenderya" (Prive Alex) is considered to be the turning point in Nour's career, which got her many leading roles to follow, among them the latest releases "El Rahina" (The Hostage) and "Matab Senaai" (Speed Bump). "I felt that Malaky was my turning point role, I got that notion from the critics and audience's feedback. May be I will have another in a few years. It was the first time for me to play a villain, I loved it very much. It brings out a lot of energy and is challenging to any actor. I give much credit to Sandra Nashat, the director, who introduced and saw me in that role. It was a chance to move out of the nice girl label for a change. I hope there is more to come in that area", she smiles.


Among her film partners were heart throbs like Ahmed Ezz, Ahmed Helmy, Ahmed El Sakka, Hani Salama. In all films a picturesque chemistry captures the audience and enchants the viewer. "Luckily I always had good chemistry with my film partners and I hope this reflected on screen. Nothing is worse than bad chemistry. But I believe that work is work and should be taken as such, regardless if you like cast partners you have to be professional enough to do your job right. The viewer paid for a ticket to watch a movie and that’s what's important not whether we are friends in real life or not", Nour explains.


Throughout her career Nour has been given the chance to work with some of the best directors in Egypt such as Said Hamed, Ali Edrees and Sandra Nashat to name a few. "I liked working will all directors so far and would love to do so again any time. I would love to work with Mohamed Khan and Dawood Abdel Sayed, who does a different type of cinema I haven’t done yet and of course Sherif Arafa", she counts up.


"You want to know my ultimate dream role, well that's a difficult question and even more to answer. There is still so much I want to do. I would like to do historical figures or characters with human conflicts and substance, mainly round characters. May be the dream roles are those totally far and opposing my own person. There are many roles I haven’t done yet", Nour reveals.


Many successful young Egyptian actors have had the chance to act in American movies regardless of size of role. Surprisingly, Nour has a solid and self-conscious opinion on this matter. "It would be only interesting to me if the role can offer something different. I mean it's not a target or goal I have set for me. My priority is to be good in Egypt and the region I belong to and identify with. May be a co-production would be interesting as long as it allows a cultural exchange and transfer of our views as Arabs, that would be a good thing. For me to pursue abroad I have to be on very stable grounds in my career here as this is my priority", she states.


Currently, Nour's two films are being screened at the same time, again both very different and far away from each other, evidence for her wise decision making and good karma. One is a comedy with Ahmed Helmy called "Matab Senaai" (Speed Bump) and the other is "El Rahina" (The Hostage) with Ahmed Ezz, a thriller directed by Sandra Nashat. "It is a very different and new role for me and I hope that it will have the same impact as "Malaky Eskendreya". That kind of role hasn’t been done in a long time. I hope you won't hate me after watching", she laughs. At the moment Nour is shooting a new film alongside Sherif Mounir and directed by young director Hatem Farid.


As a private person far from the spots and limelight Nour is a very homey and relaxed persona, "I am very low profile in my private life, I mean I have my friends and go out but I am very homey. I am not introverted but I am not the attention seeker type. I like reading, although it has been a while since I had time to read. And believe it or not I am camera shy, I don’t really like to be photographed. I grew up in Lebanon with my parents and younger sister, in a very stable and happy home. We were raised to fine manners, rules and respect for discipline and dedication, no chaos at home, all very smooth and loving. My parents influenced me a great deal with my upbringing and it surely helped me to reach what I have so far", Nour comments. "Love what you do, have great respect for what you do and be sure that it will reflect on your work and performance. Regardless of how big or small the role always be well prepared and give you best", Nour advises young actors aspiring a film career.

Note: Nour's official website will be launched soon linked from

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