A Minute With: Egyptian actor Amr Waked on making movies at home and abroad

Thu Oct 30, 2014 7:29am EDT
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By Maha El Dahan

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Egyptian actor and film-maker Amr Waked, equally at home in Cairo and Hollywood, says the time is ripe for a host of other Arab stars to make it big abroad.

Waked, an established celebrity in Egypt, has also appeared in a string of global hits alongside George Clooney in "Syriana", Kristin Scott Thomas in "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" and Scarlett Johansson in this summer's sci-fi extravaganza "Lucy".

His latest venture brings him back to Cairo where he plays a gangster taking on an organ trafficking ring in "El Ott" or "The Cat". The movie, which he also produced, premiered at the Abu Dhabi International Film Festival this week.

The film is his second collaboration with director Ibrahim al-Batout. The first was "Winter of Discontent" which dealt with Egypt's 2011 uprising.

Waked was heavily involved in the street protests that eventually toppled former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and also took part in the 2013 protests that led to the overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Mursi.

The actor spoke to Reuters about his latest role and why more Arab talent is finding international success.

Q: In your latest movie "El Ott" the themes are quite grim -- organ trafficking, street kids and gangsters. Do you feel the situation in Egypt now is as sombre as the movie?   Continued...

Actor Amr Waked arrives for the European premiere of "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" at the Odeon Kensington in London April 10, 2012.  REUTERS/Luke MacGregor