Nelly Karim is one of the most successful and talented actresses in Egypt and the Arab world. Her films and TV series achieved huge success and provoked controversy as well. She is now preparing for a new TV series that will be released next Ramadan. Daily News Egypt interviewed Nelly to learn about her future works.
Could you tell us about your new TV series that is scheduled to be released in Ramadan 2023?
I have already signed the contracts of the series. It was written by Medhat El-Adl and directed by Mando El-Adl. We have not settled on a name for the series yet. Currently, we are holding intensive work sessions with the producing company and the director, who is currently casting the rest of actors and preparing the shooting settings. In this show, I will play the character of a girl from Upper Egypt for the first time in my career, and the series is a social drama. But do not worry! I will not make people cry in Ramadan (laughing). Of course, the role needs some preparation, especially as I said, that it is a completely new role for me, and I hope that the work will come to light in a way that the audience will like.
Aren’t you afraid of presenting the role of a southern girl, especially since it requires certain specifications and dialect?
I am never afraid to play new characters, on the contrary, this motivates me more because I am trying hard to prove that I am capable of presenting any role in any artistic form. As for the dialect, there will be a dialect corrector and I will train on it, and I will prepare well for this role and I will make sure to study all aspects of the character. I always pay attention to the tiniest details that pertain to the whole work, not just the role I play. And believe me, I will not let the audience down and I will present people in Upper Egypt in a way that will make them happy.
Do your words mean that you are interfering with the details of the characters you present in your TV shows?
I never interfere in the details of the characters at all, and I do not have a say in their appearance in terms of hair and clothes. But I pay attention to the details of the character and study them in terms of performance, and adhere to what is written in the script. Even with the team participating in the series, I do not interfere in the choices of any participating artist because this is something that belongs to the director.
Would you take any of the previous works about Upper Egypt as a model?
No, I would not. I will not occupy myself with watching old works. As an actress, I like to be inspired by reality and rely on real and daily events that people live because that’s better. As for the artworks that presented Upper Egypt before, each director has a vision, style, and method, and therefore the reality is better.
What about the new series “Rose and Laila”?
We are currently in the filming stage and I am co-starring with Yousra, with whom I have a strong friendship, as she is one of the people I love most. She has a wit and a big loving heart in addition to being a star in acting. Comedy events gather us in the series and behind the scenes as well. This series written by British screenwriter Chris Cole, and directed by British director Adrian Shergold, revolves around the story of two women who have a private investigation office and are hired to uncover a bank fraud. In the series, I present the character “Rose”, while the star Yousra presents the character “Layla”, and the events of the series revolve in a comic framework, and it will be ten episodes and will be shown on one of the electronic platforms.
In this series, you co-star with your husband Hisham Ashour. Are you not afraid of criticism about this subject?
I am not afraid of being criticized, and Hisham Ashour was an actor and artist before I married him, and the role he plays in the series befits him from all sides, and the director is the one who chose him, not me. I previously told you that I cannot interfere in the selection of any artists because this is the responsibility of the director and production company only.
What about your participation in the movie “Zero” with Mohamed Ramadan?
I haven’t started shooting my scenes in the movie yet. The film presents a mixture of drama and comedy in a different social form. As for the cooperation with Muhammad Ramadan, he made me happy, and I have known him for a long time. He is a distinguished artist, polite and of high morals, and he is very popular, whether in acting or singing. I expect that there will be very positive reactions to this film and it will achieve great success.
Last Ramadan, you presented the series “Faten Amal Harbi”, which sparked controversy. Did you expect all this controversy around it?
Yes, I expected. This is because we were offering humanitarian and social work and a big problem that concerns every woman. We presented a series to support women. Despite all the problems, she produces, raises her children, stands strong, and faces the problems of personal status laws that were issued 100 years ago, and we are still working with them at the present time, despite the development and change that has occurred in society, and it has become inappropriate to the current circumstances. The aim of the series was to demand that some personal status laws be reconsidered and changed so that the rights of women are not lost, and as you saw in the series, everyone was sympathetic to Faten and what happened to her. Even the judges themselves were sympathetic and understanding, but unfortunately, they were governed by laws.
But there was an accusation that the series calls for a deviation from the law of God?
That’s meaningless. Basically, the series was attacked from the first episode by some trolls, most of whom did not watch it in full. The series was fully reviewed by Al-Azhar before filming, and it was reviewed by Saad Al-Din Al-Hilali, Professor of Comparative Jurisprudence at Al-Azhar University.
What do you think is the secret behind this great attack on the series?
It is noteworthy that the men attacked the series and all this because we are only a series that demands women’s rights and a review of the Personal Status Law, which detracts from women’s rights. The character Faten that I presented filed a case against the law itself, and there was no reason forbidding the question, and the world rose up just because the heroine of the work asked a simple question: “Did our Lord permit that or not?” We have discussed a very important work from my point of view, and we are a country that seeks to renew religious discourse, we must also seek to renew and reconsider laws, especially since we are currently living under a government and a country that supports women. The biggest proof of this is the presence of women ministers in the government, and President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi is always keen to honor and appreciate women, and in this series, I was speaking for every woman in Egypt.
In the end, what about the series “The Promise of Satan” and the movie “Zero”?
In the series “The Promise of Satan”, I am only a guest of honour, as I participated in one of its episodes, and I was happy to work with Amr Youssef, and the series will be released on Shahid platform. As for the movie “Zero”, we filmed for only four days and stopped, and I do not know what will happen next so far.