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Published On: Sat, Apr 4th, 2015

Actor in Egyptian feature film “Bitter Sugar”, Mohamed Youssef: ”The movies chose me”

One day when Mohamed Youssef was 24 years old his friend from the American University in Cairo called him and ask for them to meet. His friend had changed his major from Business Administration to Film Directing and had the desire to offer Mohamed the lead role in his upcoming feature film production.

He read the screenplay to Mohamed and eagerly depicted his vision of the film he wanted to direct and produce.

Mohamed loved the idea and felt inspired to be on location with the film crew but had initially never aspired to anything but a small role.

When the movie was released it was a great success and a female director noticed his natural talent for acting and offered him a main role in her film which he happily accepted.

– It just felt right, I loved it. I love the idea of living a personality that is not me, the idea of being a totally different person, with another name, with other beliefs, says Mohamed.

He was offered further acting opportunities and has consequently appeared in more movies, television series, as well as theatrical and operatic productions.

Mohamed holds a strong belief that if something is supposed to happen, it will. If he is meant for a certain part in a TV-series or a movie, his higher powers will provide.

Currently, Mohamed is involved in a feature film production called “Bitter Sugar” directed by Hany Khalifa, who also directed “Sahar El Layaly”. Recently, he also played the role of Ali who was the first love of the maincharacter “Zat” in a TV series called “A girl called Zat”, starring Nelly Karim and Baasem Samra and directed by Kamla Abu Zekri, this transformed into a great experience that Mohamed learned a lot from. 


Mohamed Youssef: “If I’m meant to be an actor, I will be an actor. If there is a role for me, I will get it.”

 Which  movie stars do you admire the most?

–  I learned a lot about acting and life from Ahmed Kamal, a great actor and teacher. There are many actors and actresses. If we’re talking about Egypt, I do love Yehiya El Fakharane and Mahmoud Abd El Aziz. I also admire Al Pacino, Robert de Niro, Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep.


In your experience, what type of people seek a life as an actor?

– I don’t know, maybe emotional people; those who see life through their emotions. People with an imaginative mind and that can detect a deeper aspect of life; seekers of peace and love.

Mohamed points out that he never chose to be an actor, but rather that the movies chose him. He started attending workshops, meeting more people from the branch and developing himself and his skills by getting more involved in the industry.

 – People started telling me: “You’re a natural talent. You are a good actor. You could learn more about acting”.

Mohamed is Egyptian but he was born and raised in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and moved back to Cairo at the age of 21. He is the eldest of three brothers and many of his family members are living abroad.

Tell me about one of your happiest childhood memories.

 – I used to be a really good table tennis player and when I was about ten years old there was a tournament at school and I wished I had a table tennis table at home to practice on. One morning when I woke up, I found one in our house; a gift from my father. Another fond childhood memory was the first time I had a dog.

Today Mohamed is 37 years old and has his own family, a wife and children. In addition to his acting career, he also runs an agricultural business. As a person, he is an introvert who adores nature and plants. He also loves to sit by the sea in Alexandria and feel the breeze from the ocean and soak up its amazing history. He has travelled a lot and his favourite country is Spain where he finds the happiness of the people to be contagious and the beaches appealing to his soul.

Mohamd Youssef"The more you're real with yourself, the more real you will be in front of the cameras. "

Mohamd Youssef: “The more you’re real with yourself, the more real you will be in front of the cameras. “

 If you weren’t an actor, what would you have been doing instead?

 – I like writing poems, reading stories and novels. I like farming and plants and seeing them grow and to take care of them.

How do you, as an actor, handle rejection?

– If I’m meant to be an actor, I will be an actor. If there is a role for me, I will get it. I just do my best. I attend the auditions and meet with the directors.

Mohamed’s father wasn’t particularly encouraging of his son’s choice of career, as he wished for Mohamed to take over and run the family business. The second challenge as an actor, Mohamed argues, is the level of maintenance continually required by the industry. It’s mental, physical and psychological. This is not to mention the night life, he explains.

– A lot of reading, know how, lot of knowledge. You have to learn about the way you think, about your body, about everything, and you have to take really good care of yourself and stay focused.

 Mohamed holds a strong belief that if something is supposed to happen, it will.

Mohamed holds a strong belief that if something is supposed to happen, it will.

 Which movie is your absolute favourite, and why?

 – Difficult question! “The Pursuit of Happyness” with Will Smith. He lost everything and his wife left him with his son and a lot of debts, but he never gave up. Instead he went for his dream and he learned about it and worked to make ends meet.

When Mohamed finds time to watch movies he likes those about real life. And if he could travel in time he would meet the deceased Egyptian movie star Faten Hamama and ask her how she could always remain so decent in all her movies.

 What do you think is the most important quality for an actor to have?

Honesty with oneself and to know what one wants. I do believe that the more honest you are with yourself, the more honest you are with your way of being and then you don’t have to change the way you think.

 You must be real, not a fake?

 – Yes, the more you’re real with yourself, the more real you will be in front of the cameras. The more you are honest with yourself, the more other people will believe you.

 Heart to heart?

 – Yes.

Watch Mohamed Youssef:

2015-01-19 02:07

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