Egyptian actor Karim Abdel Aziz boasts a unique artistic charisma, and his presence in any artwork ensures its success. His significant career is full of many films and TV shows that still live in the minds of everyone.
Abdel Aziz’s latest film “Kira We El Gin” is close to achieving EGP 100m since its release in the summer. The film focuses on the Egyptian resistance against the British occupation in 1919.
Why did you agree to participate in “Kira We El Gin”?
The entire film is tempting, and it is exciting for any artist to participate in it. The story, the events, and working again with wonderful actress Hend Sabry, and for the first time with Ahmed Ezz. Everything was very exciting and encouraging. But what attracted me the most was perhaps the story itself as it discusses the concept of patriotism from a different perspective. There are many artworks depicting the national hero whom everyone is proud of, but this work reveals a new aspect of the resistance, as most of its elements are almost ostracized by those who surround them because they think they are agents, traitors, or corrupt. While they fall under the pressure from both sides: the first is from the closest people to them who do not know the truth, the second is from the British occupation. I am really happy and very proud of my participation in this movie and what it added to my career.
Could you tell us how you knew about the film?
Director Marwan Hamed, with whom I have a strong friendship and a stronger understanding, sent me the script to read, and I liked it, so we all sat down to discuss the details together, and everyone accepted the roles as assigned by the director because of our great confidence in him.
Hamed and I presented together any successful films, and my relationship with him is much older than that, as we grew up almost together, and his father, the great writer Waheed Hamid, was like a father to me.
What about your character in the film?
I play the character of “Kira” and it is one of the difficult characters I presented in my career, as he is a doctor and enjoys the confidence of the British occupation, at a time when the closest people to him accuse him of betrayal and that he is allied with the enemy, which makes his son at school exposed to bad situations, but he actually hides a big secret, as he works in the ranks of the resistance, and takes advantage of the confidence of the British to manufacture weapons in their factories.
How did you prepare for the film?
I read the 1919 novel by Ahmed Murad, on which the film is based, more than once, as well as the history of Kira, who lived a life full of struggles and was killed in Turkey. I was personally affected by that detail. I also had reading sessions with director Marwan Hamed and we talked about all the details, especially since Kira’s character has more than one side, as he appears to some that he is loyal to the British and close to them, and at the same time he works with the resistance forces and takes advantage of the British to manufacture weapons for the resistance.
The film production took three years. Did that affect your performance?
Marwan Hamed made great effort to keep everyone focused, and this period may have contributed greatly to adding a good spirit between the whole cast, and that was helpful especially since the nature of the film is difficult and exhausting.
Does this mean that you experienced many difficulties in the film production?
Of course, the whole process was difficult. Because of Coronavirus, we halted filming more than once, and almost all the actors were busy working in other films or TV shows. We also travelled to remote places to shoot some scenes, especially action scenes that require intensity and focus. I thank the production company as they spent generously and kept the filming locations for long periods which cost it a lot. Although the work was difficult, it was very important in the film industry.
What about your cooperation with actor Ahmed Ezz for the first time, even though you are from the same generation?
Ahmed Ezz is an important and respected actor, and I deeply regret that I did not work with him before, but I am very happy because I gained a true brother and friend.
Did you face any problem with the order of the acting cast in the film credits?
We did not have any problem at all, and we did not even discuss it.
Some were afraid that the film may fail to achieve high profits, how do you see it?
Certainly, making profits is very important in the film industry. Presenting an important role is essential, but the actor also cares about the film profits, and whoever denies that is not honest. It is an industry, and it does not make sense for a company to spend extravagantly on creating a work of art and not make profits, so of course, I care about the box office revenues.
The film carries many messages. Do you think the youth could understand it?
The youth (aged from 16 to 25) are the largest segment among the cinema audience in the world. The large profits made by the film showed us that this segment well received all the messages in the film.
How did you prepare for the action scenes?
Working with a director who cares about the smallest details helps a lot. In simple, casual, and even easy scenes, we were asked to rehearse each scene about four or five days before filming it. As for the action scenes, the film takes place in 1919 and at that time the fighting style was different from today, and even how people carried and used weapons, etc. So we were required not to appear completely professional, because the nature of violence at the time was not professional and people used to hit and fight randomly. Actually, most of the action scenes were performed by Ezz. Shooting action scenes was also very difficult for the director, because presenting a fight in that era in an attractive way is no less than dazzling modern action, something that required high skills and talent.
What is next for you after “Kira We El Gin”?
I started preparing for the new TV series “Al-Hashashin” with director Peter Mimi and great writer Abd al-Rahim Kamal. I will play a different character. It is a new challenge for me because my character in the series, “Hassan Al-Sabah” was a very complex person. He is the founder of the extremist Al-Hashashin sect, which spread terrorism throughout the world during the rule of the Fatimid state.