By: Mariam Elhamy
Marwan Younis has transitioned from creating viral content on Facebook to breaking out on the silver screen with appearances on SNL and Abla Fahita to hosting his own show on the radio at NRJ. The jack of all trades now checks another box on our list of talents by making a special appearance in one of the biggest films of the year, the eagerly anticipated sequel to The Blue Elephant.
Younis has nabbed a small supporting role as Joe the Bartender, giving him his proper first acting experience along side legends Karim Abdelaziz, Nelly Karim, Hend Sabry, and Eyad Nassar. We got the inside scoop on what it was like for him to experience the acting bug for the first time!
CWM: We’ve been following your career since the first video you uploaded on Facebook, was becoming an actor always on the cards?
M.Y: I had never thought about becoming an actor. I was mostly aspiring to doing a talk show like Bassem Youssef. He and Abla Fahita were a great inspiration to me and I wanted to follow in their footsteps. But then the opportunity of acting presented itself, and I found myself very fond of it. If I have to pick a favorite between everything I’ve done, acting is by far my favorite!
The evolution happened naturally; at the beginning my videos were mostly improvised. But the attention span is really short these days, and people lose interest after a second and a half so I needed to always present something new and the videos started to take shape and have a clear format and structure, later on evolving to include minor production tweaking under my own roof.
I filmed weekly episodes in Ramadan; which was the first trial of a show format. This got me good exposure and I filmed with Abla Fahita and SNL which was a different experience for me; appearing on TV and having a live audience.
How did you land the role in Blue Elephant 2?
I heard about the auditions and learned they were looking for fresh faces. I know Ahmed Mourad personally, and I’m a huge fan of the movie, so I called him up and asked him for any role in the movie. He got in touch with director Marwan Hamed who then offered me a role I accepted immediately.
Tell us a bit about the character you play and what audiences can expect from the film/your character?
My character has a very small role in the film, but my scene is considered the comic relief of the movie! I play a bartender and a drug dealer named Joe who works at Yehia’s drinking spot, so we know each other well.
I usually hook him up with cocaine and other drugs, so when Yehia wants to find the Blue Elephant pill, I lead him to it.
CWM: After having worked with Marwan Hamed and Ahmed Mourad now as a creative duo, what do you think sets them apart in terms of their cinematic style?
What was working with the cast and crew? Any first day jitters on set?
The scene I appear in involves working with Tara Emad and Karim Abdel Aziz. Karim was super friendly, to the extent that I felt like I’ve known him forever. The minute I walked in, he gave me a hug and told me he’s a fan of my videos and started reciting my own quotes! I couldn’t believe my ears! Karim is one of the few people who actually make me laugh; he’s very natural so his energy is great on set. We messed up so many scenes laughing at our own jokes.
I definitely had the first day jitters, thinking I would mess up because I had never even auditioned. To prepare, I spend time with bartenders and practiced tending a bar, studying their body language and tricks because I was super scared that the minute I flip a bottle, it would fall and shatter, ruining the whole shot. During the first take I completely forgot my lines, but apparently this happens to anyone new to acting … by the second take, I loosened up and it was cool!
After this experience, are you looking for a solid transition into acting in films, or will you still be exploring other areas of entertainment?
I’m definitely going to try to pursue a career in acting, because it’s a very beautiful experience and I can understand the glamour of showbiz and why everyone wants to do it. My fans can expect anything from me because I get bored easily and I like trying new things!
CWM: The book and the film have garnered a cult following, as you know, what sets The Blue Elephant apart from other films?
What advice would you give someone wanting to make a break into the entertainment business? Any lessons you learned the hard way?
My only advice is believe in the power of social media because it’s the new stage. One video changed my entire life. You just have to keep at it, try and fail once, twice, even three times until it goes viral.
A good example is Ahmed Basyoni who did the “How to Sing like Sharmoofers, Amir Eid and Esseily” videos. He had created so many videos until he finally made it, and now he’s appearing in ads and I predict that he’s going to become an actor soon.
Nowadays it’s really easy for people to express themselves in a very simple way. Your phone has a camera, use it, and work will come later.
Last great show you watched?
Favorite music to blast in the car for a mood lift?
Osoud el Ard by El Dakhlaweya.
Best way to relax?
Listening to chill out music on the beach.
Favorite comfort food?
Most overused word/phrase?
Begad. Begad! Begad?!
Smoking, for sure.
Trait you admire most in people?
Intelligence. I really admire smart people.