The past year has seen fresh young faces make their mark on Egyptian screens, both in film and on television. Amongst those who truly stood out, is none other than Nour ElNabawy, the son of famous Egyptian star Khaled ElNabawy. Nour got his breakthrough role in this year’s hit TV show, Elekhteyar 2, alongside iconic actors Karim Abdelaziz and Ahmed Mekky. eniGma’s Hager Alazab sat down with Nour to talk about how he started his career and his experience as an actor in Egypt.
Egyptian born and bred, Nour ElNabawy says that he knew he wanted to become an actor when he was just five years old. “From a very young age, I knew I wanted to be an entertainer. The idea that I could perform something and the audience would appreciate and love what I do is the reason behind my love for the profession,” he explains. He even remembers the exact moment that set him on this path. He was in the cinema, watching none other than Africano, the fan favourite film of that time. He was so impressed by the scene where Ahmed El Sakka jumped into a waterfall to prove his undying love for his on-screen lover, Mona Zaki, that he knew then and there that was what he wanted to do! As he grew older, Nour recalls how he went on to find further inspiration from major blockbusters like Titanic and The Last Samurai and to look up to Steven Spielberg, his favourite director.
Nour would take the decisive step to realise his childhood dream many years later. While studying economics in France, he suddenly decided to leave all that behind and move to Santa Monica to pursue a degree in film and theatre. Recalling his decision, Nour says, “For 15 years of my life, I had been afraid of taking this step. I had been looking for a backup before I had even pursued what I loved the most. That is why I decided to go to the USA to pursue acting professionally.”
At film school, Nour’s love for acting only grew stronger and he was excited to be exposed to a whole new world of auditions and theatre performances that would run for weeks! Recalling his experience acting in the Shakespearian classic, Macbeth, he says, “In Macbeth, I initially wasn’t meant to be the lead. First, I got a secondary role but as rehearsals went by, the director decided to give me a bigger role and I ended up in the lead role.” Those heady years are also responsible for Nour’s strong sense of discipline and his serious attitude towards his profession.
Following Nour’s graduation and his return to Egypt in 2020, the obviously talented young actor was quickly snatched up for his first role in Egypt, as First Lieutenant Ahmed Shousha in the Egyptian hit Ramadan TV show, El Ekhteryar 2, in 2021. Nour’s performance was as emotional as it was powerful, stirring up controversy and emotions alike.
Recounting the unusual story of his audition for El Ekhteyar 2, Nour says that he had heard that they were looking for actors who looked like the real characters represented in the show. He, thus, decided to audition for the role of Ahmed Shousha. Once at the audition, however, he found out he was expected to recite a monologue in Arabic. “I didn’t know any monologues in Arabic. I had never done one in Arabic before, so I ended up using a monologue from Shakespeare!” he recalls, with a laugh. A few days later, he received the call that he got the role and he couldn’t have been happier. Even though it was his first role on Egyptian TV, Nour says he wasn’t intimidated or apprehensive. If anything, he felt legitimised and surer than ever that this was his true calling. “It was an amazing experience for me. Nothing teaches you about acting like being thrust into the desert to shoot difficult action scenes! It definitely made me feel more confident about my skills,” he recounts.
Since then, Nour has completed filming another TV show, Waraq El Tout (The Berries Leaves), which is set to be released soon. “I don’t want to lay all my cards on the table but I can’t wait for people to watch it,” says the young actor. “It is a drama revolving around youth at an academy. It is a 45-episode show directed by Hossam Ali,” he adds. Nour is also preparing for another TV show, Nakl Aam (Public Transportation), that is still in the works. It is directed by Adel Adib and stars Mahmoud Hemeida and Sawsan Badr. “I play the son of Mahmoud Hemeida in this 30-episode series. It will be a drama with a little bit of comedy,” he says excitedly.
Nour doesn’t shy away from questions about acting opposite his illustrious and famous father, Khaled ElNabawy. When asked about his future, he confirms that he looks forward to working with his father if the opportunity arises. “When there is a nice project and I am ready and experienced enough to stand opposite Khaled ElNabawy, I definitely will not be opposed to it,” he explains.
Once he is established professionally in Egypt, Nour also hopes to eventually go international. “I love working here in my country. There definitely is a range of emotions expressed in cinema and TV here that are not present abroad. I would love to fully explore them and to establish myself as an artist in Egypt before I think about going abroad,” he concludes.
Photography by Aliens Production
Styling by Karim Fadl
Makeup by Sara Soudy
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