As Hany Adel takes it back to the Pharaonic era in his latest love adventure, he opens up to Cairo West Publications about what it’s like to be Senmut.
CWM: Tell us about your character, Senmut, in the film, and what fans can expect in Part 2.
Senmut was Hatshepsut’s chief royal architect and oversaw the construction of her famous mortuary temple located beneath the cliffs at Deir el-Bahari on the west bank. Many experts in the field claim there was a love story between them, but of course this was strictly forbidden at the time as he was beneath her in station and worked in the palace. Regardless, he played an extremely important role in her life, even tutoring her children. Some would speculate this close arrangement was orchestrated by the couple as a way for them to remain close to one another without raising any suspicions from the royal court or the public.
What was the hardest part of playing a character from the Pharaonic era, and what was the best part of playing such an interesting character?
The hardest part about playing such a person is that much of the personal characteristics and aspects of this character are complete fiction and fantasy, there is no hard evidence to work on. There is an immense amount of research that goes into studying a character like this one, but I believe we did a great job on part one with the input from Sherif Arafa and we succeeded in presenting a believable version of Senmut that audiences enjoyed. The most pleasurable part of playing this character was working with Mr. Arafa himself and my fellow actors, whom I learned so much from. The film sets and locations were awesome and I learned a lot about our history from the experience of playing this man.
This film has love stories through all the ages, what do you think is special about Senmut and Hatshepsut’s love story compared to the rest?
I believe the key difference in Senmut and Hatshepsut’s love story is how deeply they loved each other while being completely aware and certain that there is no future for their love. At that time and in those circumstances, there was no realistic way that they could ever celebrate their love openly and be together. Regardless, Senmut chose to stay by her side and raise her kids as his own.
Tell us about the experience of working with a celebrated director like Sherif Arafa and such a diverse cast?
Sherif Arafa is one of the most detail-oriented and precise directors I have ever worked with, and this shows in every scene of his films. He knows the message behind every line of dialogue and that helps us so much as actors, because it pushes us to focus intensely and act with the full confidence that he will extract the best possible acting from his cast.
Favorite book you ever read?
Many! Whatever You Think, Think the Opposite by Paul Arden, Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami.
Music on repeat?
Smooth jazz, alternative rock, and any kind of spiritual singing from all around the world.
Favorite actor or actress?
Charlize Theron and Johnny Depp.
Best piece of advice received?
You’re free as long as you don’t harm others.
Don’t compare yourself to others; you never know what they’re going through.
Macarona bechamel and kebda from the street cart!