In anticipation of the upcoming award season, here is our pick of today’s top five leading Arab actors who have left their distinctive marks on our TV screens, across movie theatres and deep in our hearts. We take a look at their achievements as well as upcoming projects they have officially announced.
Former professional Tunisian football player and Birmingham school of Acting graduate, Dhafer L’Abidine, had an early start in Hollywood films with numerous cameos, including The Da Vinci Code and Sex and the City 2. His debut with Arab audiences came with his role in the 2008 Tunisian series, Maktub (Written), which was followed by one successful role after the other in Egyptian Ramadan series, from Vertigo, Niran Sadiqa (Friendly Fires), Taht El Saytara (Under Control), and Halawet El Donia (The Beauty of Life), up to this year’s iconic Layali Eugenie (Eugenie Nights). L’Abedin is now a sizzling star in the Arab world.
2018 is a big year for L’Abidine as he joins Ahmed El Sakka, Mona Zaki and Sherine Reda in their latest film, El Fares (The Knight). He will also be appearing alongside Ahmed Ezz, Mahmoud Hemeda and Bassel Khayat in Youness, which is set to be released later this year.
It is little known that the now established actor Amr Youssef initially began his career as a TV presenter. His first acting role was on the Egyptian TV series, El Daly, alongside the legendary Nour El Sherif, and this was followed by a number of other parts in film and TV. He also was a huge hit with his recent role in the blockbuster TV series, Grand Hotel, alongside Amina Khalil and a stellar cast of other stars. Youssef made headlines once again with his lead role in this year’s Ramadan series Tayea, for which he got great acclaim.
Youssef has cleared his schedule this year so that he can work on two upcoming films set to be released in 2019. The first one is titled Ali El Zebaq but its cast has not been announced yet, and his other film is the anticipated sequel of thriller flick Welad Rezq (Rezq’s Sons), which stars Ahmed Ezz and Ahmed El Fishawy.
After landing his big break in Ehky Ya Shahrazad (Tell us, Shahrazad) in 2009, alongside Mona Zaki and Hasan El-Raddad, Mohamed Ramadan went on to star in several films by Sobky productions that eventually made him one of the highest paid actors in the Middle East. He earned the nickname of ‘Legend’ following his blockbuster film El Ostoora (The Legend) in 2016. Recently, he was the star of Ramadan’s most-watched series, Nesr El Saeed (The Eagle of Upper Egypt), which included a viral music video titled Number One, that amassed 20 million YouTube views in two weeks.
Ramadan is starring as Badr El Diesel in 2018 film El Diesel alongside Hana Shiha and as Ali El Zebaq in the second installment of his blockbuster film El Kenz, featuring Moroccan sensation Saad Lamjarred.
Long gone are Asser Yassin’s days of rookie performances on stage at the American University in Cairo. Yassin’s biggest blockbuster hit to date remains his iconic role in Rasayel Bahr (Messages From the Sea), which was selected in 2010 as the Egyptian entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards. Over the years, he starred in the Ramadan series El Ahd (The Oath) and 30 Youm (30 Days), and he appeared in the film Ali, the Goat & Ibrahim, which won the Muhr feature award for Best Feature film at the 13th Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF). Additionally, he made a guest appearance in this year’s Ramadan series El Rehla (The Journey).
The 37-year-old Egyptian actor is starring alongside Menna Shalaby and Sherine Reda in Ahmed Mourad’s latest film adaptation of his bestselling novel, Torab El Mass (Diamond Dust). He’s also starring in El Raheb (The Monk) expected to be released this year featuring Hany Salama and Saba Mubarak.
Amir Karara got his very first break, via Tarek Nour commercials and the popular sitcom show, Shabab Online. He then moved on to star in the successful TV series, Hawari Bucharest (The Alleys of Bucharest), in 2015 alongside Mai Selim and Ola Ghanem, before he won the audience over in 2017 as Mostafa El Torky in the action film, Horoub Etderary (Forced Escape), featuring Ahmed El Sakka and Ghada Adel. The Egyptian actor also received positive acclaim this year for his action film, Harb Karmouz (Karmouz’s War), which also starred Mahmoud Hemeda and Ghada Abdel Razek. He also made a big bang in Ramadan 2017 with his hit series, Kalabsh (Handcuffs), and in 2018 with its successful second season.
Karara received green light for the third installment of Kalabsh, which is set to be released Ramadan 2019. Additionally, he’s starring in the historical film Serry Lelghaya (Top Secret), based on the events of the 25th January Revolution, alongside Ahmed El Sakka and Mohamed Ramadan. He’s also set to star in the sequel of the film, Madrasset El Hob (The School of Love) with Khaled El Sawy and Horoob Etderary II, alongside Ahmed El Sakka, Ahmed Helmy, Ghada Adel and Dina El Sherbiny, which are both expected to be released later this year.