From the Sinister Saber you Loved to Hate to the Full-Blown Star he is Today
By Shorouk Abbas
This charismatic star took an indirect path to find his niche. After graduating with a degree in engineering, Ahmed Dawood first fell into work as a theatre actor. It was then that he discovered his sharp knack for picking roles in noteworthy movies, an attribute that propelled him on his course to stardom. His fame then skyrocketed after his role as Saber in Segn El Nessa, also starring Nelly Karim, a couple of years ago. Cairo East Magazine was intrigued by Dawood’s path to success. Getting to meet him in person was an affirmation of what it takes to become such a star. He is warm and witty, yet his smile reveals a childlike curiosity about life and the magical unfolding of his career.
CEM: What is the moment or event that has impacted your life the most?
AD: Saber, my character in the series Segn El Nessa. Kind characters are boring and don’t leave an impact. Saber is a complex character. He is mean and devious, yet the audience identified with him and saw what made him this way. His character became interesting because people were drawn to him and absolutely hated him at the same time.
How did you prepare for this role?
Normally when I read a script it either clicks or it doesn’t the very first time I read it. Once I make the decision of accepting the role, the visualization process starts happening instinctively. However, to do the role of Saber I spent a week in a microbus station. I would hop in a microbus and just be there to feel the energy of the people and get some clues from the driver. After that, I would take another one and get to live another story in that microbus. I had to experience this life before I played the role.
What about the movie Welad Rezk, what was that experience like?
The location gave me the energy I needed for the role. We were filming in Ain Al Seera and that in its’ self put me in character. Although the plot of the movie is not a normal story for people living in that area, still I felt more inspired and creative just by being there.
Before the Summer Crowd (Abl Zahmet El Seif ) is now participating in the Dubai Film Festival and will be playing in theatres in Egypt very soon. Tell us about your role in this movie.
I am actually excited to see it! It was filmed on a beach in the North Coast and I play a simple, kind porter from Upper Egypt. I serve people in that compound and get them their groceries and tend to their demands. It’s a role of a poor, uncomplicated guy so that was a dramatic change from my role as Saber in Segn El >>
Nessa. The setting was also conducive to serenity and peace. Being by the sea gave all of us good energy. The movie is directed by the legendary Mohamed Khan and stars Hana Shiha and Maged El Kedwany.
You are now working with Youssry Nassrallah on El Ma2 Wel Khodra Wal Wagh Al 7assan, how is that experience?
The movie is about the life of cooks in villages and is being filmed in Mansoura. These are people who cook for weddings and big events. I really enjoyed working with Youssry Nassarallah, mostly because he seriously gets to know the actor. This gives him more access to my skills and gets me working on a deeper level. He actually works on me as an actor, which helps me develop in many ways.
What brings you the greatest joy?
A good scene after I am done with it. Before that, I am usually tense and after that I worry about the next one. So actually only in that moment I feel exhilarated. It’s the gap between the mental exertions.
What’s the best advice you have been given?
It’s actually strange. In 2006, I won a prize for a role in a play in the French Cultural Center. I was a theatre actor back then. The prize was a trip to France to be coached by a renowned French acting coach. I did not speak French at the time so all I could do was perform the acting without speaking (miming), which was of course more difficult. The coach was so impressed with my talent and I will never forget what he told me. “Never let anyone break you. Do not lose yourself to any compromises or financial gain. ”
What are you reading now?
An Arabic novel called Hepta written by Mohamed Sadek. It’s about relationships between men and women. He has an interesting way of putting them in categories. It’s going to be made into a movie too.
Last movie you’ve watched?
The Network. It’s a 70’s movie about ratings and someone being killed because his viewership went down.
Three things you can’t live without?
A paper pad and a pen. I always write what happens to me and how it made me feel. It’s not journaling. I do not write the events of the day. Only incidents that impacted the way I feel, whether good or bad. It acts a reference for me and I go back to read it when I need to.
Also, my mobile, and a photo of my wife Ola and my kids Adam and Mila.