The Triple Threat Actor: Looks, Talent, Personality!
By Dana El-Baz
We all know him as that ‘hot’ guy in El-Mowaten X and later Amr Youssef in Taraf Talet, a mistake we all make when all we see is eye-candy rather than an actual person! Amr Youssef is a living, breathing, very alive person whom I had the pleasure of meeting. Behind his good looks he is a natural, easy-going and what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of guy. He’s a pretty boy with depth, personality and charm. He’s definitely a boy you’d want to bring home to your parents!
CWM: What did you enjoy most about filming El-Harb El-Alameya El-Talta?
AY: The crowd and vibe on location was amazing, they’re all my friends so we had a lot of fun together. However my shoot was only one day, it was very short. The role was quite different and challenging because I had to keep completely still while shooting. It would later be enhanced with graphics, if I moved 1 mm we’d have to start all over again.
With many of the writers also being in the cast there must have been a lot of improvisation and humour on set, was this the case?
It was a lot of fun, but not all laughs like people think because we were working most of the time. We did some improvisation when it came to my lines, mentioning talk shows and real-life characters as well speaking in colloquial Arabic, which is of course not in line with the historical character of Salah Eldin.
What do you think appealed most to Egyptian audiences about the film?
It’s incredibly funny and witty, a really great comedy! The writing and acting were fresh and original and Ahmed El Guindy the director did a great job!
What genre of film do you most enjoy?
All genres. If a film is well done I would watch it regardless of whether it is comedy, action, romantic or horror. I base my judgment on the quality of the work not the type.
What was your first big break?
I don’t believe there is such a thing as a big break, there are important steps one takes towards his/her goal that bring them closer to achieving it, without each step you wouldn’t have reached the next one. It’s an accumulation that eventually leads to success. Having said that, I can tell you what I consider the milestones in my career. The first huge step was definitely El-Daly, starring the great Nour El-Sherif, this series had a huge audience and I went on to do two seasons. I then starred in front of Hanan Turk in two series consecutively. Another huge step was Taraf Talet, that was very well received. But I must admit that I have never experienced the feedback I got last Ramadan from my latest series Ad Tanazoly, people’s reaction to it was fantastic.
Did you ever question your direction in life, or was acting always the only option for you?
I never regret any decision I take, it takes me much longer than other people to make a decision but after it’s taken I never regret it. I feel regret is an impediment to progress, it slows you down. For example, if I turn down a project and it goes on to be a great success or if I take part in something that doesn’t receive the feedback I expected; I still don’t regret it. “There is no use crying over spilt milk”. By the way I graduated from the faculty of law at Cairo University, the English section, but acting was my true calling and I went for it!
How do you manage to maintain your privacy and a personal life when you are such a well-known actor?
I do my best to lead a normal personal life, I don’t go out a lot and I avoid extremely crowded places. However, I always try to make time for my fans. If people want to take a picture with me most of the time I agree to it. These people are the ones that made me successful. All they’re doing by taking a picture is showing their love, which is incredibly important to me.
Which actor and role has had the most impact on you?
There are many actors and roles I admire such as the late Ahmed Zaki in El-Beh El-Bawab, Nour El-Sherif, Yehia El-Fakharany and Adel Emam in a lot of their roles. If there is one role I would love to do it would be Ahmed Zaki in Zawget Ragol Mohem, even though it would be very unfair for me to be compared to such a legendary actor.
How do you prepare for a role, is it difficult to get into character?
Preparation differs from role to role, some roles require a lot of reading and watching references. Others require going to meet certain people and capitalizing on their experiences. What people don’t understand is that our job is full-time, yes, we don’t have fixed working hours but we work just as hard. During shoots, I could easily work for 12-14 hours straight overnight; it’s very hectic physically and emotionally.
What hobbies do you find time for?
I enjoy all sports except for football, I’m not really into it, but I love to move all the time. Another favorite hobby of mine is travelling, it revives me.
Late night or early riser?
Late night definitely
Tea or coffee?
Sand or snow?
Favorite restaurant in Cairo?
La Trattoria in Zamalek
5 essential items you can’t travel without?
My phone (as much as I’d love to leave it behind, I can’t); waterproof jacket, credit card, a friend. I’m not a loner…. that’s it!
I don’t have a favorite but I really enjoyed the last book I read called Ababeel. We’re considering turning it into a film or series.