Future, past useless at my age, says actor Sharif

Thu Sep 10, 2009 1:24pm EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

VENICE (Reuters) - For Omar Sharif, the future and the past are useless. The only thing that counts for the Egyptian actor is the present.

"I think that thinking about the future is something for young people, and thinking about the past is useless when you are old," Sharif told reporters in Venice, where his latest movie "The Traveler" is in competition at the film festival. "In life I have already wiped out everything that has already gone," he said through an interpreter, switching languages with each question. The translator gave his age as 78, although online biographies and his Myspace page say he is 77.

"Every moment is like that for me now and that is how it should be. To live well at my age you always have to think about concentrating your attention on the moment that is now and the moment you are living because you don't know how much longer you may live."

Sharif plays the old Hassan in Ahmed Maher's debut feature film The Traveler (El Mosafer), which follows Hassan on three pivotal days in his life -- the first in 1948, the second in 1973 and the third in 2001.

The story explores time and the past, as an elderly Hassan seeks to reconnect with his own personal history through the young Ali who he is convinced is his grandson.


Despite becoming a major Hollywood star, appearing in classics like "Lawrence of Arabia" in 1962 and "Doctor Zhivago" three years later, Sharif recalled how his early days in the U.S. movie business were not easy.

Being the "only Arab" working in Hollywood, "I had to be very careful what I did.   Continued...

<p>Actor Omar Sharif poses for photographers during "Al Mosafer" (The Traveller) photocall during the 66th Venice Film Festival September 10, 2009. REUTERS/Tony Gentile</p>