After graduating from business school in 2001, Walid Fawaz followed his passion for acting and enrolled in the Institute for Dramatic Arts in Egypt. A natural professional, this Egyptian rising actor already has quite a list of prominent movies and TV series under his belt. He is especially known for his roles in the hit TV series Al Ahd (The Convenant), Al Saba’a Wasaya (Seven Wills), Haret El Yahoud (Jews Alley) and his highly anticipated film Men Dahr Ragel (From a Man’s Back). eniGma’s Yosra Shohayeb met the talented star to learn more about his upcoming projects.
Having watched Fawaz since he began as a standup comedian and as he evolved into a talented actor who could pull off any character, I wasn’t quite sure what kind of personality I was about to interview. Was it going to be the hopeless romantic who captured the hearts of many Egyptians in his role as Arnous in Ramadan’s 2014 series Al Saba’a Wasaya? Will he be something like Zinhom, his character in Ramadan’s 2015 series Al Ahd, the tyrant with the heavy voice and poker face, who suddenly changed 360 degrees when he fell for Sawsan. Or was I about to meet the heartless thug character El Natat of Ramadan’s 2015 series Haret Al Yahoud, who spoke horrible English and turned against his homeland for the sake of money?
But when I met Fawaz face-to-face, he wasn’t anything like any of the characters he played. I found the thirty-five-year old Fawaz a decent, composed, calm, perfect gentleman. You might think that having achieved fame relatively quickly would make him arrogant and conceited. It was quite the opposite. Fawaz is a down-to-earth person and his fans love him for that.
Fawaz’s early career as a standup comedian also comes through in our meeting. A sarcastic person by nature, he likes to make fun of anything negative. He is appreciative of his standup comedy period and says that it’s what made him popular initially. He was successful in this career but since he had a passion for acting, he found himself at a crossroads. He had to choose whether to continue along the path of a standup comedian or to focus instead on his acting career. Of course, he chose acting.
sarcastic side didn’t fade away when he focused on acting. “I try to incorporate my sense of humor in most of my roles, even when I’m playing the villain,” Fawaz said. Indeed, this was clear in Fawaz’s character Al Natat in Ramadan’s 2015 series Haret Al Yahoud, where he says he improvised continuously to incorporate his comedic side. In his anticipated new movie Men Dahr Ragel, which will air in Eid Al Adha, Fawaz also adds a touch of his sense of humor to his villain role. When I asked him if he would like to play a comedy role for a change, he admited, “ I’ve tried to find a suitable comedy role for me in the many scripts I’m offered. Until now I’ve tended more towards dramatic roles. However, I promise you’ll see me in a comedy role soon.”
Fawaz didn’t always have so many scripts come his way. His first break on TV actually came when the renowned actress and producer Samira Mohsen saw him in a small play, Mosha’alou Al Hara’ek (The Fire Setters), and nominated him for the TV series Gedar Al Qalb (Walls of the Heart). That was the start of Fawaz’s career in television. One role followed the other after that, including his roles in Al Heroub men Al Gharb (Escaping from the West), Magnoun Laila (Crazy for Laila), and Captain Effat.
Determination and hard work, and a bit of luck, paid off for Fawaz. He was able to demonstrate his acting skills and he got his real big break in the 2013 TV series Bedoun Zekr Asmaa (Without Mentioning Names), written by the eminent scriptwriter, Wahid Hamed and directed by Tamer Mohsen. Following that, in Ramadan 2014, Fawaz nailed his character Arnous in the TV series Al Saba’a Wasaya, written by the young Mohamed Amin Rady and directed by Khaled Marie. Millions of viewers fell in love with Fawaz’s character Arnous and sympathized with his romantic relationship with Hana Shiha’s character Em Em. The hopeless romance between Arnous and Em Em quickly made waves on social media and Fawaz was everyone’s favourite rising star.
No sooner had he established his position as Arnous he went on and exceeded everyone’s expectations in his roles in two 2015 Ramadan TV series, Al Ahd and Haret Al Yahoud. The characters he plays in each TV series couldn’t be more different from each other. The roles needed an exceptional talent to pull them off, and Fawaz was more than ready to further prove himself. “I would be lying if I said that acting two contradicting roles simultaneously didn’t affect me psychologically and mentally,” Fawaz said. “The fact that I did a lot of theater helped me withstand the pressure of the constant character transformation I had to execute,” he added. Fawaz clearly enjoys this kind of pressure. To pull it off, he likes to isolate himself from the world and live totally with his characters.
Once Fawaz completes a project he doesn’t just jump straight to another. “I like to travel after finishing a project; in order to relax my mind, body, and to think about my future,” Fawaz said. “It helps me recharge my energy.”
Indeed, Fawaz will need a tremendous amount of energy for his busy upcoming schedule. He recently finished filming the movie Men Dahr Ragel, where he plays a thug called Henesh. Henesh is the typical thug we see in Egyptian streets; however, Fawaz portrays him in a brand new way. “The audience was really pleased with Henesh’s character when the movie was shown in Cairo’s International Film Festival,” Fawaz said. The movie is also starring Asser Yassin, Yasmin Raeis, Mahmoud Hemeda, Rania Youssef, Mohamed Lotfy, and several other respected stars. It is written by Mohamed Amin Rady and directed by Karim El Sobky.
And for all Fawaz’s fans who are waiting for his upcoming Ramadan 2016 projects, Fawaz has several script offers. So far he has accepted roles in two TV series, Saba’a Arwah and El Tabbal (The Drummer). In Saba’a Arwah, Fawaz plays a lawyer whose whole life turns upside down. The series also stars Khaled El Nabawy, Rania Youssef, Eyad Nassar, and Reham Haggag. It is written by Mohamed Sayed Beshir and directed by Tarek Refaat. In the other TV series, Fawaz acts for the first time with Amir Karrara. Also starring are Sayed Ragab, Sherine Reda, Haitham Ahmed Zaki, Reham Abdel Ghaffour, Ahmed Seyam, and Dina. It is written by Hisham Helal and directed by Essam Nassar.
Fawaz also has another surprise in store for his fans, namely the Arabic version of the popular series, Prison Break (Shadeed El Herasa) in which he will be starring with actor Dhaffer L’Abidine and Saba Mubarak. The much-anticipated TV series is expected to air right after Ramadan.
How does Fawaz choose among the scripts that are offered to him, I wondered? He explained that before choosing any script it is important for him to check the production company, the producer, and the director. Once he’s satisfied in those respects, then he reads the script carefully and decides if it is likely to be a success. “I like to choose projects that will be easy for the viewer to understand,” Fawaz said. “I also choose projects that I will enjoy working on.” Fawaz also attaches great importance to the people he will be working with, because he is convinced that everyone he works with teaches him something new, from the smallest worker to the biggest star. “We’re all in this together and we always learn from one another,” Fawaz said. “It is the end of an actor if he stops learning.”
Not a day passes that Fawaz doesn’t thank God for the success he has achieved; however, Fawaz is an ambitious person and never has enough. “I am an ambitious person. Every time I succeed, I ask myself: what is next?”