Khaled El Sawy is no stranger to taking on super challenging role, and his turn as Dr. Yehia El Tagany in this month’s socio-political thriller El Deif is no different. We caught up with the thespian to learn more about what it took to pull off such a charged character, in addition to finding out what projects he wishes to take on in 2019.
CWM: In El Deif, you play the role of a man who faces a lot of backlash and is put in a very tough situation. Tell us about how about you related to that character.
KS: I love the characters I play to be a surprise to the viewer, so I don’t like to discuss too much what’s happening on screen – I leave it for the viewer to discover and make a judgment call. However, this is a philosophical man, a writer and intellectual by profession. He has a history of writing and discussing theological topics with a mission to “correct” people’s understanding of religious matters. Not a lot matters to him except his work and his family. One nice facet of his personality is his love for football. He presents himself as a kind man, but God knows whether this is the truth, or whether circumstance will change this perception he has of himself.
Did you find the fact that this film is all shot in one location, Yehia’s family home, a challenging element to your performance?
The challenge was dealt with in a very innovative way by our director Hadi elbagoury, so I found the process went smoothly. I believe that audiences will find the end result of our shoot a visually warm and cozy environment, they won’t want to leave!
What was the hardest obstacle to overcome while filming?
I went through all the normal challenges an actor goes through getting into character, how can I embody this man with his thoughts and reactions and personality traits. During this time, I had to gain a lot of weight to perfect his physical appearance. I had to shave off all my hair to appear balding! I do hope it was worth it.
What do you hope audiences take away from this challenging movie/subject?
“Terrorism is not a guest anymore”, this is the quote by Ibrahim Eissa that the whole film is built around. Terrorism may have come and gone as a guest before, but now it is nestled and living amongst us and we can find it anywhere – at home, at work, and anywhere. We are at war against terrorism, and it’s up to us to battle it and protect the concept of acceptance and tolerance within our society. This is a big element of debate within the film.
What can audiences look forward to in 2019? Any personal goals or resolutions you wish you accomplish?
We’ve been going through an upheaval the past two or three years in the cinema industry and this happens with every new wave of new producers, directors, and the like. With each new wave, things get rearranged. I can’t say for certain what I have next on the horizon, but I do hope El Deif is well-received, and opens new doors for me as a working actor! On the personal side, I believe my wife is due some love and attention; things were a bit tense as the work I was doing for the film and preparing for this character spilled into my personal life. She is an extremely kind and understanding woman!
What are you currently reading?
I’m reading Ibrahim Aslan’s Hugratan w Sala: Mutataliya Manziliyya. I actually worked with a scriptwriter to turn it into a TV series pitch and I hope to see it on the screen soon.
What makes you the happiest?
Thing that angers you the most?
Failure, of course. I have always been a dedicated person with goals, and what I want is very clear. The price for that is to be very disappointed and irritated by failure because it kills your dreams.
Music on repeat?
David Guetta, Eminem, and Nicki Minaj.
Favorite movie of all time?
Godfather I, II, and III.
Egyptian cuisine, but unfortunately I now have to lose weight so I have to say my favorite food for the upcoming period will be diet food!