January ‘16
Insight Interview

January ‘16
Dhafer L'abidine
Dhafer L'abidine


    


From a professional soccer player to one of the hottest actors that captures the attention of both women and men with his charming and classy persona Nowadays, all eyes are on Tunisian Beau Dhafer LAbidine!

From a soccer player to studying computer to modelling then acting, talk to us about this interesting journey.

I started playing soccer at Altaraji Eltonsy club when I was just 11 years old. Back then that was my real passion, until I got injured when I was 22 years old and things started to be different. After that I travelled to France to study computer, I also used to model in my free time. However, I wanted to do something that Im passionate about. Ive always loved acting but never had the chance to practice it so I decided to study acting at Birmingham School of Speech and Drama in London. After my graduation in 2002, I participated in the British drama Dream Team where I played a soccer player. It was a good start.


If it werent for your injury, would you still practice soccer?

Definitely. It was the thing that Ive always dreamed about, the sport that I loved and enjoyed the most. However, Im happy with how things worked out for me and very grateful for my acting career.


From all the characters you have played, which is your favourite?

Its very difficult to have only one favourite character because every stage is different. For a start my role in Dream Team is one of my favourites as it was a big start for me. Another is my role in the Tunisian series Al Maktoub (The Destiny). It was such a great opportunity that made my face familiar to the audience. I also love all the series I did in Egypt, so I cant say I have favourite roles but more of key jobs that made a difference in my career.


Is there a specific role you watched that you wished you have played?

The first thing that popped in my mind is Tony Montana in Scarface that was performed by legendary Al-Pacino.


You succeeded in both foreign drama and Arabic drama; What are the main differences between both? And which do you enjoy more?

I enjoy acting no matter where I am doing it. There are some differences, of course, but they cant be highlighted in any comparisons, both industries are different. At the end what matters most is the talents working on the project. I enjoy working in both industries as I care most about the people I work with.


Isnt it hard that youve settled in London with your family although you work here most of the time?

You have to take the good job, and I have to be in Egypt as its the gate to the Middle Eastern art. Its important for me to be here and to be known by the Arabic society - not only abroad. Due to my careers nature I get to travel a lot, but Im always keen on having a time off with my family.


Speaking of your family, hows your relationship with you daughter Yasmine?

Very good actually... Shes five and a half years old now and shes my true bliss. Its always great to have kids; Im enjoying our relationship a lot! Seeing her grow up and change every day and being part of that is absolutely amazing!


What was the funniest situation you recall with a fan?

When the series Taht El Saytara (Under Control) was on, people kept blaming me for what Ive done to Nelly in the series, so they would go like Why would you do this to her? Stop hurting her! That was so funny.


Talk to us more about your character in Essmat Abou Shanab.

Its a romantic comedy action movie. I play a tough police officer and a colleague to Yasmine Abdleazizs character, so they go through a lot of funny situations together. Its very different from all the roles I played in Egypt so Im very excited about it.


What do you think is so special about Hatem in Taht Elsaytara (Under Control)?

Thanks to the brilliant director Tamer Mohsen and the masters of production El Adl Group, not only my character but also the whole series was well received. Hatems character was a bit complicated. I received mixed reactions concerning my role. At first people loved him then they hated him for what he did to his wife. I think that was whats interesting about my role. Theres no black and white in life and no perfect person; Everyone has his own good and bad times.


Raafat in Niran Sadiqa (Friendly Fires) was a very complicated character. How did you prepare for this role?

Generally what happens is that the writer highlights his key factors for each character in the script, and then we discuss the directors vision. After that each actor comes up with his interpretation for his character. Back to Niran Sadiqa, Raafat was very complicated indeed; a decent person turned into a devil. So basically all his good intentions and big dreams ended to be nightmares, adding to that suffering from a disability at a certain point in his life. It was pretty interesting for me to perform such a character with contradicting traits. This is what makes acting an interesting career, you get to experience things that are completely different than what you do or who you are.


So you love complicated characters...

Yes indeed! You get to prove yourself as a good actor in complicated characters. They make you study all the difficult situations that you wont go through in your normal life till you come up with something real.


Playing several roles as a terrorist, werent you afraid that people may limit you in this kind of roles?

Not at all! Even if so, unfortunately after the 9/11 events these kinds of characters became staples in our society and they must be represented not ignored. At the end my role as an actor is to highlight different characters in different societies.


You were chosen to play the main role in the Arabic version of Prison Break, what kind of different approach do you aim to deliver?

The place, the people, our culture and everything here is totally different than the USA. The story may be the same but all those factors will make a huge difference and will give the series a new taste.