Raised rubbing shoulders with stars

Sarah El Sirgany
6 Min Read

Growing up in the entertainment world, Adel Ashoub’s turn to cinema is hardly surprising

Growing up in the fast-paced, high-profile world of celebrities can produce conflicting effects on an impressionable boy.

For Adel Ashoub, however, it made him fall in love with acting and taught him never to be scared of a rolling camera.

The young TV actor recalls growing up around such luminaries like screen legend Ahmed Zaki.

I got interested in acting through my dad, he said, who is the renowned makeup artist and cinema producer Mohamed Ashoub. “He has been working in this field for 40 years. And I grew up in this field, says the 26-year-old actor.

Through my connections with good actors like Ahmed Zaki, Nadia El-Gindy, Mervat Amin, Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, I found an interest in acting.

He enthusiastically explains that he could have gotten interested in anything related to the field, like singing or directing, especially through his father s work, but it was acting that got him hooked.

His easy-going character takes on a serious demeanor when he talks about his still-blossoming career. He even bangs his hand on the table – it was bandaged at the time – when stressing an important point.

But don t let this fool you. He stresses that acting is a hobby, not a career. He hasn t studied it and won t be leaving his law profession for it.

Trying to balance the two? He is doing his best in this regard, drawing on all the traits of his star sign; he is a Libra to the bone.

After he made his screen debut in director Ismail Abdel Hafez s ( Layali El-Helmiya, Helmiya Nights) TV serial Al-Asdeqaa (The Friends), he took a year-long hiatus to finish his law school studies and jumpstart his career in the legal field.

He says he has also turned down offers because he didn t like the roles.

But when director Aly Abdel Khaleq offered him a role in TV serial Ahlamna El-Helwa (Our Sweet Dreams), he couldn t turn it down.

I wanted to play in a serial directed by Aly Abdel Khaleq. He is a big director. He has worked in this field for over 25 years. I grew up with his movies: El-Aar (The Shame), El-Keif (The Fix), and Eedam Mayat (Executing a Dead Man), says Ashoub.

Like his first serial, Ashoub was working with an ensemble of Egypt s top actors. Between the two productions, he rubbed shoulders with powerful performers Salah El-Saadani, Safia El-Emery and Farouk El-Fishawy, among others.

I used to go repeatedly to the set to watch the other actors and observe their performances, says Ashoub of his first TV serial.

Fortunately for Ashoub, his early contact with the stars, whether on set or through his childhood, hasn t turned him into one, at least his attitude is still down-to-earth and agreeable. Dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, he looks like any other young Egyptian man.

Outgoing, he is the type that seems to know everyone, everywhere.

Our interview was no exception – we were interrupted several times by his friends who happened by at the Euro Deli in Maadi.

Friendly and down-to-earth, chalk that one up to his parents, he tells me.

Being Egyptian and Greek, I was exposed to two major cultures. This changed my attitude, my thoughts and ideologies. It made me more open.

The same openness is reflected in his acting; he doesn t classify himself under any of the schools of acting that he has experienced first hand. His role model is Zaki and all actors following in his footsteps.

They believe in what they do, he explains, citing their realistic performances as reasons for his admiration.

But just as he has been learning from those around him about acting – being familiar with the camera is one prominent example – he has learned some unpleasant lessons. One of them is not to leave a career for the entertainment field. Stars like Fouad El-Mohandes and Abdel Moniem Madbouly, he explains, gave their life to acting but spent the last years of their lives almost broke, waiting for someone to offer them a role.

Success in acting is like a pyramid; you ll never be on the top. Maybe you can go to the top but for sure there is another one who can come push you to slide down the pyramid and he stays on top. No one can stay on the top, he adds.

This grim view is reflected to some extent in his preference of dramas over comedies.

Thus, while he is now choosing between two roles for his cinematic debut, he says he is leaning towards the action-packed film instead of the screen comedy.

But he stresses that it is his personal concerns that keep him away from the increasingly popular comic genre. He feels that to act out a funny script without hearing a laughing audience is the end of the actor.

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