We used to tune in to Bassem Youssef’s El Bernameg (The Program) every Friday where Shadi Alfons made us laugh like there was no tomorrow. But when eniGma’s Salma Hussein met him, she saw a completely different side to this rising Egyptian star. She was surprised to see a more serious side of Alfons that you will most definitely relate to after watching his latest movie: From A to B.
Everyone knows you from El Bernameg as a comedian, now you will be seen in a different perspective. How does that feel?
It’s more realistic, it’s less exaggerated. People are used to seeing me in sketch comedy, where we have a concept and take it as far as we can in terms of ridiculousness to create a comedy out of a simple situation. It’s farcical, compared to From A to B which is a realistic comedy, drama, and adventure film. It’s a good move for me in terms of showing diversity, ranging from extreme comedy to realistic or natural comedy.
How do you expect the audience to react to this different character?
I hope they love it. I hope people find the humour in the awkwardness of the situations that the characters are put in, and the humour in the characters themselves. In my character’s case, he is a very protected mama’s boy who lies to his mum to go on a road trip with his friends. He comes out of his shell when they go on the road trip. So I hope people laugh at the situations and feel the dramatic moments. There are also some sad, realistic moments; I hope they enjoy the ride because it’s a fun one.
Do you have high hopes for this movie?
I hope it becomes successful in the sense that it’s the first of its kind in the Middle East. It’s the first pan Arab comedy-adventure road trip movie. The diversity of the Arab characters in the movie and how they act is very new. It’s very natural, and I hope people see the value in that. When I received the script, the movie was in English. A last minute decision made by the producers ended with the movie being both in English and Arabic. I translated all of my character’s lines, and I Egyptianised the jokes. It wasn’t easy but I came up with phrases everyone could relate to. We were very fortunate to work with a talented cast and crew including Khaled Abol Naga and Omar El Masry, who gave an extra touch to the film.
What was the most difficult scene for you?
The desert scene where we camped in Saudi Arabia, we spent over 12 hours shooting. We also had to reshoot the principal shoot during August and had to wear a lot of layers in the heat because it is a winter movie. I was wearing three or four layers in fifty plus degrees.
What was the overall experience like?
It was a dream come true. To work with a cast and crew with such diversity was unbelievable. It’s like a multinational project, and that was fun. Getting to know Ali Mostafa, a director with such talent and vision, was unbeatable. It’s my first movie and I’m starring in it, so I can’t complain.
Where do you see yourself after From A to B?
Doing more movies. I will be doing TV also, but hopefully more movies.