Amr Saad is a gifted actor with a fiery soul who has been hailed as one of Egypt’s most versatile and talented actors. Weaving stories that resonate with the essence of many of his fans, his journey to success is an inspiring tale of passion, dedication and an unwavering commitment to his craft. eniGma’s Farida Elserty chatted with the enigmatic star, exploring his early beginnings, artistic influences and what it took for him to become a star in every sense of the word.
From the instant I saw Amr Saad, I understood the allure that captivates people and propels him to stardom. It’s because he has it all! He simply possesses that rare combination of qualities that make him shine. You know those people you meet and think, “Wow, they could be movie stars”? Well, Saad is definitely one of them. He is charming, charismatic, and authentic. Yet, despite these significant attributes, he remains remarkably humble, funny, and kind to everyone. It’s this perfect and unique mix (which is probably a result of his upbringing) that made him the star he is today.
Saad’s life journey began amidst the embrace of a middle-class family, where dreams and passions were nurtured. Raised by a father hailing from Qena in Upper Egypt, in the warmth of Cairo’s working-class neighbourhoods of Ain Shams and El Sayeda Zeinab, Saad carried within him experiences that would later breathe life into his performances. “My home had this magical blend that every good Egyptian family had. Music filled the air, movies united us and the peaceful sounds of my parents’ Fajr prayers echoed through our walls. This authentic mix laid the foundation for everything I have become so far,” he fondly recalls.
Growing up in an art-loving family, he found comfort in the captivating power of storytelling and the transformative nature of art. “My father loved poetry and American films, while my mother liked classic Egyptian movies and my grandmother would recount tales of ancient myths to us. These influences shaped my understanding of the human condition and fuelled my desire to have an impact on people around me,” he says.
Saad says he had always wanted to get into the art scene somehow. “Ever since I was young, I took every opportunity to be in touch with the art scene. I eagerly participated in annual school shows and was driven by a desire to make a lasting impact. I wanted to share my ideas and diverse perspectives with others. My love for drawing prompted my decision to enter the Faculty of Applied Arts, specialising in Decor & Furniture at Helwan University. It seemed like a practical choice aligned with my ambition to express my artistic side and to secure a stable income. Little did I know that this path would lead me to theatre. As fate would have it, I joined the university theatre group and, before I knew it, I was cast as the lead actor of the group. It was an important moment when I realised that destiny had spoken,” he recalls.
Also, while in university, Saad watched the cinematic masterpiece Al Massir (The Fate) by Youssef Chahine and was fascinated by the global impact it made at the Cannes Film Festival and other festivals worldwide. This experience ignited a dream within him – to become an actor in one of Youssef Chahine’s films. Recalling those days of constant pursuit, Saad says, “I worked fiercely to connect with agents and casting offices, and somehow, I had a strong belief that I could achieve my dream one day.” With unwavering determination, he forged ahead, driven by a huge desire to transform his dream into reality. In 1999, although “it was so hard”, as he says, he was cast as Omar in Al Akhar (The Other) with Youssef Chahine!
However, according to Saad, his career really took off after he appeared in Khaled Youssef’s highly acclaimed movie Kheyana Mashrou’a (Justified Affair) alongside Hany Salama, Somaia El Khashab and Maie Ezz El Din in 2006. “My role was just six scenes on paper. But during the movie’s premiere, I caught the eye of producer Kamel Abu Ali, and he signed me on for three lead roles in upcoming films. That’s when my journey truly began.”
The real game-changer came in 2007, however, with the hit film Heen Maysara (When Things Get Better), where he starred alongside Somaia El Khashab. His incredible performance as Khaled garnered praise from fans and critics alike, propelling his career to new heights. The next year, he continued his successful streak by starring as Shehata in Khaled Youssef’s hit film, Dokkan Shehata (Shehata’s Shop), with the talented duo of Haifaa Wahby and Ghada Abdel Razek. In 2010, he continued to impress audiences with his work in Al Kobar (The Big Boys) with Zeina, Khaled El Sawy, Mahmoud Abd El Moghny and others.
Also in 2010, Saad took centre stage in the world of drama, stepping into the lead role in Mamlaket El Jebal (Kingdom of Mountains). The following year he graced the screen as Abdel Aziz in Sharea’ Abdel Aziz (Abdel Aziz’s Street), with a stellar cast including Ola Ghanem, Hana Shiha, Samy El Adl and Naglaa Badr. In 2012, he continued to shine, starring in the acclaimed Ramadan series Khorm Ebra (Eye of a Needle) with the esteemed Sawsan Badr; and 2014 saw him reprise his role in Sharea’ Abdel Aziz 2 (Abdel Aziz’s Street 2), a testament to the first season’s resounding success.
The rich array of characters Saad has portrayed in movies or television demonstrates his versatility and artistic depth. He continues to breathe life into his roles, channelling the protagonist’s joys, sorrows and struggles with an authenticity that resonates deeply with audiences. “I make sure that when I embody a character, it’s not Amr Saad you see but the character itself. I delve into their essence, their hopes and their vulnerabilities, seeking to merge their spirit with my soul,” he reveals.
In 2014, Saad returned to the big screen in a leading role in the action-packed crime movie Hadeed (Iron), alongside a star-studded cast that included Dorra, Zaki Fateen Abdel Wahab, Ahmed Abdelaziz and Ahmed Fathy. In 2015, he also delivered a compelling performance in Regata, alongside the queen of hearts, Elham Shahine. That same year, he wowed audiences with a memorable performance in Aswar El Amar (Walls of the Moon), alongside the iconic Mona Zaki and superstar Asser Yassin.
The following years saw Saad in several successful television series, including Esteefa (Duty Officer) in 2015, Younis Weld Fadda (Younis, Son of Fadda) in 2016, Wad’ Amni (Security Situation) in 2017 and Baraka in 2019. In 2021, he gave a standout performance in Melouk El Gadaa’na (Kings of Virility), alongside Moustafa Shaaban; and in 2023, he was the lead with Seba Moubarak in Touba and with Nelly Karim in Al Gisser (The Bridge) on Shahid. In Ramadan 2023, he was part of the cast in Al Aghar, with Dorra, Sayed Ragab, Khaled Zaki, Anoushka, Nour El Nabawy and Nahed El Sebaay.
One film, Mawlana (Our Honourable Sheikh), 2017, holds a special place in Saad’s heart. The film, for which he won the Best Actor Award at the Alexandria Film Festival in 2017 and the Mediterranean Film Festival of Tetouan in the same year, allowed him to explore uncharted territories within himself and resonated deeply with him. Ibrahim Eissa’s captivating storytelling, Magdi Ahmed Aly’s exceptional directing, and the incredible performances by the cast, which included Dorra, Reham Haggag, Bayoumy Fouad and Ahmed Magdi, came together to make it an unforgettable experience. “Playing this character, Sheikh Hatem, was truly significant to me. It was like navigating a minefield, with responsibilities towards religion, society and art. The challenge was real because many portrayals of sheikhs are stuck in stereotypes and clichés. That’s why I delved deep into this role, memorising a quarter of the Holy Quran with all its rules and intonations. I also reached out to real sheikhs from Al Azhar to understand their dreams, struggles, thoughts, and even their daily lives, including their finances and routines. It was crucial to avoid stereotypes because, in the end, they are real people,” he explains.
Saad’s approach to preparing for a role is all about the heart and soul of the craft. “You’re delving into the heart of acting here. For me, it starts by reading the script multiple times. Then, I take a break and come back to it, focusing intently on my character. I let it soak in, absorbing his thoughts, motives, backstory and emotions. I leave no
stone unturned,” he explains, “I’m a strong believer in not over-memorising or rehearsing the script too much. It’s about keeping the character’s emotions raw and honest.”
Throughout his illustrious career, Saad has had the privilege of working alongside esteemed actors and visionary directors who have left an indelible mark on his craft. Few of such influences are the legendary Omar Sharif, Adel Emam, Ahmed Zaki and Denzel Washington. “No actor can build his talent without the help of the artistic vision and guidance of such actors,” he asserts. Aiming for a legacy like theirs, he selects his roles with much thought and consideration. “I’m selective about the roles I take, as I seek to craft a legacy that lasts throughout the years,” he notes. “However, I want to do more light movies and dramas. Even if their primary objective is to entertain, I believe they serve a great purpose and they resonate deeply with audiences,” he adds.
Saad is convinced that every artist should strive to challenge misconceptions subtly, whether it’s in movies, music or literature. “For instance, in Heen Maysara, we tried to shed light on the issue of street children. In Mawlana, we delved into religious discourse, and in Melouk El Gadaa’na (Kings of Virility), we emphasised the importance of friendship,” he explains passionately.
Despite the challenging roles he has performed so far, however, Saad insists that he has not reached his acting limits yet. “I have a lot of faith in my acting skills, and it’s not just about having a big ego – I genuinely believe my artistic talents have no bounds,” he says.
Looking ahead, Saad is participating with a mix of actors from Egypt, Russia and the United States in a thrilling international Egyptian movie called El Gherban (The Crows), written and directed by Yassin Hassan. “This movie is enormous, and in it, I am an Egyptian superhero during World War II in the Battle of El Alamein,” he explains.
Saad is also starring alongside American actor John Savage and Oscar-winner Mira Sorvino in the Egyptian-Italian production, The Goat, which will be premiering at the upcoming El-Gouna Film Festival from October 13 to October 20.
What is your favourite film or TV show?
I love The Pursuit of Happiness by Will Smith and Sawaa El Autobis (Bus Driver) by the late Nour El Sherif.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned so far in your career?
I’ve learned that with determination, anyone can achieve their goals.
What is something that your fans may be surprised to know about you?
That I am a very funny person.
How do you handle criticism of your work?
I handle it with a sportsman’s spirit.
How do you stay focused when you’re working on multiple projects at the same time?
I love acting from the bottom of my heart, and that is why I can work on multiple projects simultaneously.
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