Ahmed Hatem

Handsome, Passionate & Talented

A talented actor with a striking presence that commands attention, Ahmed Hatem has left an indelible mark on both the big and small screens. In a world where conformity reigns supreme, he fearlessly ventures into uncharted territories, breathing life into unconventional characters that challenge societal norms and provoke thought. Hatem’s roles not only entertain but often offer a mirror through which we can examine our own beliefs and values, leaving an indelible impression on audiences and critics alike. In an exclusive interview with eniGma’s Farida Elserty, the captivating star unravelled his journey to success, delving into his riveting on-screen personas, and shedding light on the man who brings them to life.

Ahmed Hatem’s journey in the world of acting began with a bang in Awqat Faragh (Spare Time) back in 2006, when he flawlessly portrayed the perplexed teenager, Hazem. His brilliant portrayal announced the arrival of a talent to be reckoned with, catching the attention of industry veterans and audiences alike.

Reflecting on his early passion for acting, Hatem recalls, “To be honest, I couldn’t express the love I had for acting when I was younger. I was a very shy person, so the idea of expressing myself as an actor and portraying a range of emotions seemed completely crazy to me at the time.”

To overcome his shyness and pursue his dreams of becoming a genuine actor, Hatem studied acting with the acting coach, Mohamed Abdel Hadi, while in college pursuring a degree in media. Impressed by his talent, Abdel Hadi recommended him to director Mohamed Mostafa, who offered him his first role in Awqat Faragh. “I consider myself fortunate to have started my acting career as Hazem in Awqat Faragh because it allowed me to break out of my shell and become a true actor,” he affirms.

Since then, Hatem’s journey as an actor has been a tapestry of diverse experiences and roles, shaping his artistry and contributing to his multifaceted growth. He cherishes each project dearly, recognising the significance of every phase in his journey as an actor. Reflecting on his experiences, Hatem highlights several pivotal moments that have left an indelible mark on his artistic growth. “Undoubtedly, the first crucial phase that profoundly impacted my career was my role in Awqat Faragh, a project that was unpredictable by all means. Then came the big impact of portraying a complex character in Ibn Halal (A Good Guy) in 2015. This role pushed the boundaries of my acting abilities, compelling me to explore the depths of my craft,” he recounts. The third pivotal phase for him was his role in Elharam Elrabe’ (The Fourth Pyramid) in 2016, which marked his triumphant comeback to cinema, reaffirming his prowess as an important actor.

Despite his already diverse repertoire, there remain genres and character types that Hatem is eager to explore in the future. His passion for challenging roles fuels his aspirations, as he eagerly awaits opportunities to push his boundaries and surprise audiences with his versatility. He is particularly interested in taking part in historical thrillers and would love to get the chance to portray complex and layered characters in such projects. “Taking part in a historical project and immersing myself in its language, attire, and settings is something I aspire to. I want to create something deeply moving and resonant,” he says with a dreamy voice.

To fully immerse himself in the characters he portrays, Hatem places great emphasis on thorough research and delving into each character’s background, motivations, and emotional journey. While he sometimes prefers to work alone on a character, Hatem values actively engaging with directors and fellow cast members in meaningful discussions to foster a deeper understanding of the role. He also seeks the guidance of acting coaches, recognising that an actor’s perspective can differ from that of others. He also finds that working with different coaches allows him to explore various techniques and methods.

For example, Hatem recounts that director Nadine Khan introduced him to the method of working on a project independently, an approach that has proven to be invaluable in developing a character’s personality freely and comprehensively. He also credits Dr. Ahmed Maher, the director, for teaching him a different approach that allows him to gain a thorough understanding of a role and to establish a clear vision of it from the outset. The approach Hatem takes in preparing for each project depends on the specific demands of each role.

Recognising that cinema is a demanding industry, Hatem understands the significance of maintaining motivation and inspiration, especially when faced with obstacles. He derives motivation by rekindling his passion for acting with every stride he takes. “To me, it’s not just about being an actor or not. It ultimately boils down to one’s mindset. I approach my experiences, whether positive or negative, with unwavering optimism and inspiration, so that I can grow each day. I haven’t even fulfilled half of my dreams yet, so it’s crucial that I always remain motivated,” he reveals.

When it comes to charting his course, Hatem asserts that it is a deeply personal endeavour guided by his own instincts. He relies on his intuition to make choices and decisions in all aspects of his life. He acknowledges, however, that his decision-making process has become more challenging with the additional considerations that come with increased obligations. Nonetheless, he insists that it is still his gut feeling that ultimately guides him.

Hatem acknowledges the challenges of portraying diverse characters and immersing himself in their emotional journeys. He embraces these challenges as opportunities for growth and the chance to push his boundaries as an actor. He is currently working on three very different upcoming films, Ashek (Lover), El Molhed (The Atheist) and Hadotet El Ayam El Baqya (Tale of Days to come).

“El Molhed is really a unique opportunity and I hope fans will receive it in a good way and love it. It is very different,” he says, adding, “Lover, on the other hand, will be a noir romantic movie. Hadotet El Ayam El Baqya is a story by Mohamed Sadek, and I portray a character with autism, a role that’s distinctly different for me.”

In the same spirit, Hatem reveals his desire to explore relationships. “I’d love to create a movie about the five languages of love,” he says. “This aspect shaped who I am and taught me so much about myself, even though I’m still figuring it all out,” he adds.

When asked if he looks back with nostalgia at classic Egyptian films, Hatem expresses his deep affection for the golden age of Egyptian cinema and its rich legacy. “If I had the opportunity,” he muses, “I’d undoubtedly opt to be involved in the legendary movie Fe Baytona Ragol (A Man in Our House) alongside Omar Sharif!” Hatem admires the film’s powerful storytelling and the significant impact it has had on Egyptian cinema.

Turning to his personal life, Hatem guards his privacy with an unwavering resolve, allowing only glimpses into the man behind the characters. He believes that achieving a work-life balance involves consciously allocating time to each aspect of life, including work, family, and personal pursuits. However, he asserts that becoming a father has influenced his perspective on life and his approach to his acting career. Despite the demands of his professional commitments, Hatem prioritises quality time with his child, cherishing precious moments of bonding and creating lasting memories together.

“Being a father made me a better person and enhanced my capacity to accept people and life in general,” he says. “I’ve always been responsible for myself, but being responsible for another person is vastly different,” he adds. Hatem finds that the most rewarding aspect of fatherhood is the legacy he’ll leave behind for his child as they grow older, and when he sees him happy. “I want my child to always be proud of me,” he states earnestly.

Hatem’s personal interests extend to sports as well. He has accomplished impressive feats in swimming, including breaking the Guinness World Record for the 100 x 50m swimming relay. “Swimming is the most important thing in my life. It has taught me a lot in terms of competition, stamina, discipline, and friendships. It’s also taught me to be responsible and in control because it is an individual sport,” he asserts. He is convinced that these qualities have seamlessly translated into his acting career, enabling him to navigate challenges, push his limits, and collaborate effectively with fellow cast and crew members.

Hatem’s dedication to making a positive impact extends further to the community and giving back to society, as in his collaboration with UNHCR and in initiatives like the Arabeit Elkheir Initiative. “I firmly believe in my ability to help people and inspire change. I’ve traveled to numerous locations and participated in round table discussions, striving to make a tangible difference, despite the challenges that life sometimes presents. I strongly value human connections,” he states. While acting remains his primary focus, Hatem seems to believe that the responsibilities of an actor extend beyond the confines of the stage and screen. “I aspire to influence people’s perspectives and contribute to positive change,” he affirms.

When reflecting on his legacy, both as a person and as an actor, Hatem hopes to be remembered for his authenticity and the emotions he evokes through his performances. “I want people to remember me positively as a person and be proud of my work as an Egyptian actor,” he asserts. Hatem aspires to leave a lasting impact on audiences, inspiring them to embrace their own emotions and recognise the power of storytelling.


STYLIST: Sandy Atef