When you’re as talented as Fathy Abdel Wahab it is difficult to avoid the spotlight and the fame, even if it’s not high on the agenda. We caught up with the otherwise private actor to pick his brain on acting, his choice of roles and on honing his craft.
CWM: How did your acting journey begin?
FA: It happened purely by chance, while I was studying commerce at Cairo University. I enjoyed being involved in theater and I was offered a role in a TV program. That was followed by various film roles and it all took off from there.
Your roles have been very diverse, from comedy to action to drama. Which genre are you most comfortable with?
I don’t like melodrama, I prefer comedy. Comedy offers the hardest roles to play. Laughter is based on mental paradoxes and not emotional ones. It’s not easy to make someone laugh. You need to address the broadest mindset of your audience, and be able to make sense of the absence of logic in irony.
Ramadan was a busy season for you. How did you juggle your time, and manage to immerse yourself in so many characters?
This Ramadan I starred in Awalem Khafeya with Adel Imam and also appeared in a guest role in Abo Omar El Masry. I also did a scene in Rob’ Roumy with my friend Mostafa Khater, and another scene with my lifetime friend Yasser Galal in Rahim.
I know it seems like a hectic schedule, I had never taken on so much before, but I believe in important roles like the scene with my friend Yasser Galal; that scene is dramatically powerful. In addition to that, the scene creates a glimpse of the events going forward and their effect on the main actor.
I think the idea of character creation comes from live theatre, as theatre makes an actor detach from personal life and the outer world before coming on stage, and fully immerse himself or herself inside the character he or she is about to portray before an audience. Theatre must take the greatest credit in the concept of character portrayal. A saying among us actors is that “theater keeps the [acting] machine well-oiled and running”.
We hear that you are working on two new films; can you tell us a little about them?
I have a film called Diesel, directed by Kareem El Sobky, which is currently finishing filming. It will be out after Eid El Adha. I will be involved in another film that will be getting under way once Diesel wraps up.
Which actors do you admire most?
Many of my acting colleagues. I am dazzled by their performances and I learn a lot from them. I can’t specify, as there are so many names in our industry. Our members of the film community are very talented and they have reached very high levels in all aspects of our industry, professional and sophisticated as they are, in photography, directing, montage, acting and soundtracks.
How do you cope with your workload?
Staying fit is not only about working out, but also about being vigilant about what you eat. I stopped having dinner, and I avoid fatty foods. Also working in itself is a workout as our job makes you move a lot on set.
I have not been a smoker for the last four years, which has made a huge difference in my fitness level, and no, quitting smoking does not make you gain weight. I am following a certain diet. I don’t eat meat, I eat fish and seafood, or maybe a little chicken.
I have dogs and horses. I love pets. I have indoor dogs as they give me positive vibes and create a good mood.
Dream filming location?
I would love to film in Korea, in other African countries, in the North or South Pole in snow and cold conditions, in all the virgin areas no one ever filmed in. It may not happen, but I wish it would.
WhatsApp as its very beneficial for my work and connects me easily with everyone.
Fruit and vegetables.
Coffee or tea?
Both, anything with caffeine in it.
“Curiosity killed the cat”.