When the film version of The Blue Elephant hit screens in 2014, the film quickly became a cult classic, gaining the love of audiences and show business icons alike. Written by Ahmed Mourad in 2012, the novel is a dark and twisted cautionary tale about loss, addiction, and inviting the spiritual world into your life, without considering the potential grave costs. Marwan Hamed’s masterful take starring Karim Abdel Aziz and Nelly Karim proved to be such an enormous hit five years ago, now the whole team is back for a second run this summer. We sat down with the stars to find out what is in store when The Blue Elephant returns.
CWM: It’s been five years and fans have been waiting eagerly for the second installment. Can the second film surpass their expectations?
Honestly, it will because it surpassed my own ten times over! I was shocked when I read the script, completely blown away. Fans can expect more drama, more intricate cinematography, even better special effects and graphics, and as actors we bring our A-game!
When we last saw Dr. Yehia, it seemed he had a new lease on life and finally found happiness again, how has he changed since we last saw him?
In the five years that have passed, Yehia and Lobna got married and are raising Lobna’s daughter from a previous marriage as well as their son Zeyad. They have been living a happy and contented life, but Yehia starts to experience that restlessness and boredom again. The peace is shaken by a call from the psychiatric facility where he used to work, informing him that a female patient is requesting to see him. This is where our movie sets off on a new adventure, and audiences will be seeing an even deeper aspect to Yehia’s personality as we delve into his psyche.
Why do you think the style and theme of these movies are so popular with audiences?
First and foremost, I believe that we as Egyptians are really into the spiritual world. For the most part due to religious beliefs, there is a strong foundation for Egyptian audiences being the most receptive for a horror movie about the supernatural, exorcism and evil spirits.
Secondly, Marwan Hamed and Ahmed Morsy’s work is exceptional in every aspect of the film, it offers a new kind of entertainment to the viewer, something they’ve never seen in Middle Eastern cinema before.
Dr. Yehia Rashed is an incredibly intense and complex character to portray. How does it affect an actor to undertake such a role?
Playing Yehia is the hardest role I’ve ever done, and specifically this film was the hardest film I have ever worked on – it was much, much harder than the first film tenfold! It was physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing. Yehia’s character is much more complex in this film than in part one due to the situations he is placed in the plotline. I had to push myself much harder in this film to make it even more powerful than the first run.
Of course, when you work in such an intense environment, it affects every facet of your life. As a younger man, I found it hard to believe that your work as an actor would affect your personal life, but it is true. It seeps into your personal life and your family life because you embody the character and pour your whole being into that role.
There are new faces this time around. What was it like working with Hend Sabri on this project?
Let me tell you, I had the best time ever working with Hend – we have been friends a long time, but we never worked together before. While working together, we actually found out we have a lot of things in common both personally and professionally. I saw a whole new side to her as a person and as a professional. She truly loves acting, and brings a level of excellence to every scene – I really hope we work together again soon!
Is this the last ride on The Blue Elephant?
I think so, yes! I don’t know if I can handle another ride!
I love Arabic music! Old, new, I love it all. I also like R’n’B, Rock, Reggae, and Rai music.
Molokheya, no doubt.
I love Javier Bardem, Al Pacino, Edward Norton, Christian Bale, and Leo DiCaprio after he started working with Scorsese.
Last great TV show you watched?
Money Heist on Netflix.
Best way to relax?
I love traveling to the Far East, I love wellness resorts, or just staying home with my family … when the kids are in school, it’s even more relaxing!