Sawsan Badr – Caressing the Silver Screen

We all love her. She is the sister, the mother, the vamp, the buddy and a very graceful and elegant lady mastering her talent and acting skills.


This month, Sawsan Badr has been on everyone’s lips after winning the Best Actress award at the CIFF as a result of her marvelous performance in her latest release ‘Al Shooq’. Her character brought an amazing cinematic experience to life that stunned the audience, critics and everyone in the industry. Her mature performance was highlighted in this movie in which the actress seriously played the hardest role of her life.


In ‘Al Shooq”, directed by Khaled El Haggar and written by Sayed Ragab, Sawsan played ‘Om Shooq’, who is a haunted mystic, who reads coffee cup grounds to foretell the future of her neighbors in a poor neighborhood in Alexandria. She has three children; one of them suffers from a disease that will bring more suffering upon the family.Om Shooq decides to return to her family in Tanta to ask for money but when almost there, shame overcomes her for she decided to elope many years ago when they rejected her husband. She doesn’t have the courage to step into her family’s house, and jumps on a train without any plans and finds herself in Cairo. There, she becomes a beggar and surprises herself by making a good amount of money, and that’s when tragedy takes its turn.


We met with the award winning actress to talk about her new cinematic experience.


Tell us about your stunning performance in the movie, how did you work on this character?


Sayed  Ragab didn’t only write the character in a well written script, he was actually narrating her, her looks, her desperation and her psychological influences. We sat down with Khaled El Haggar after the movie was written and he framed the character and gave me all the space I needed as an actress to develop it. Together, we chose her body language, how she walks, how she talks and how she looks when she’s happy. We worked very hard with the make-up artist to make her look exactly like what we had in mind.


The character was really deep and had lots of blended details; do you think we have similar written female roles in our film industry?


No I don’t think so. We have been living in the male oriented movie industry for so long. The actress is usually the beautiful part of the hero’s life, or the pretty factor of a movie, but we don’t speak about her much. I think that in the last decade, the only movies that tackled well written female characters are ‘Al Shooq’ and ‘Al Abwab Al Moghlaka’.


After winning this award, are you worried about your upcoming script choices?


Ever since I had the chance to accept or reject a role, I decided not to play a character unless it’s really good and has a defined meaning. In my opinion, a film should deliver a message; even a comedy should have a message. I want to play roles that weren’t played before, why would I play something similar to a role I did in the past. Although I regretted some roles I played before, but at that time I needed the money and I didn’t have a choice, and sometimes I wanted to play a number of roles to become famous and people recognize my name instead of saying the tall brunette on screen, but today, I’m in a different place.


Do you care about the number of scenes offered to you in a script?


I will never reject a role because of its size. In the American movie ‘The Keepers’, you see Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman in only three scenes. I won’t select roles according to the number of scenes, that’s not what I put in mind.


What are the features of the directors you like to work with?


I like the director who knows how to make me work in a professional way. I enjoyed working with Marwan Hamed, Saad El Hendawy, Karim El Adl and of course Khaled El Haggar.


So what new things did Khaled El Haggar get out of you?


Khaled is like a pianist who knows how to play the actor as to get beautiful tones without any distortion. Behind the camera Khaled has a special vibe in which he creates a mood for the film. He really got a lot out of me and I’m so happy working with him.


When you’re not filming, what do you do in your private life?


I like doing lots of stuff. I like to read and I do lots of sports. I also like to just sit and stare at the beautiful sea view. I like kids, and I try as much as I can to put a smile on some children’s faces who need it.


So do you know what women want?


Any woman in the world from the queen to ‘Om Shooq’ needs security and peace of mind, also self respect even if she’s a powerful independent woman. I dream that women could make the right equation in being successful in her career and at home.


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