Amr Youssef: New Heights

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Mon, 04 Oct 2021 - 01:25 GMT

File: Amr Youssef.

File: Amr Youssef.

 

The celebrated star turns in a brilliant performance in Part II of the box-office hit Welad Rezk, proving yet again that success is far more than just good looks. 

 

Choosing not to simply rely on his good looks, Amr Youssef has depended instead on his strong acting talents to carve his name as an accomplished cinema and TV star. With every role he takes on, it is clear to fans how Youssef is continuously working on himself to dazzle audiences with his acclaimed performances. His latest performance in the sequel to Welad Rezk (Rezk’s Sons) has taken audiences by storm; and this month we speak with Youssef about his role as Rabiea Rezk and his plans for the future.

 

How do you evaluate the experience of Welad Rezk Part II?

From the beginning, I had a strong belief that the movie will be a hit because Part II contains many success factors such as the strong script that was admired by us all, the great direction, the shooting, the well-executed action scenes; among others. Thankfully, the movie achieved huge success, garnering the highest single-day revenues in the history of Egyptian cinema that amounted to LE8.4 million, as well as revenues that exceeded LE50 million in just the first week. What is really more important than the high revenues is people’s positive feedback. Seeing people happy after watching the movie is far more precious than any high yields.

 

Are sequels ever as successful as the original movies?

There is no fixed theory when it comes to sequels; some sequels didn’t achieve any kind of success, others maintained the same success of the previous part; and in some cases, their success may surpass part one. The drama in movies like Welad Rezk accommodates the existence of other parts because the plot is based on certain characters that the audience became strongly attached to from Part I, so people were waiting eagerly for part two, not only to see the new events and incidents but to see what happened to their beloved characters. So when you present all the above with a distinguished creative director like Tarek El-Erian; then, you will definitely achieve success.

 

Tell us more about your character Rabiea Rezk. How did you prepare for the difficult action scenes you performed in the movie?

In general, I love to work out, but before shooting I went through tough and extensive training to perform the action, fight and jump scenes. Rabiea Rezk’s role required great mental and physical effort. I personally developed a connection with Rabiea Rezk from Part I; that’s why in Part II, I started to prepare for this character more deeply. I began to analyze how he deals with different situations individually, like for example how he decided to pull off a scam without his elder brother Reda Rezk (Ahmed Ezz). Through this scam, I was trying to send a message that alone you can’t achieve success. 

 

Some audiences expressed distaste for the language and excessive violent scenes in Welad Rezk Part II. How did you see that?

Unlike Part I, Part II actually contained fewer of what we can describe as “bold words,” and we were keen to perform the action scenes professionally so as not to upset children and elderly audiences. Thankfully, people praised every action scene and I didn’t hear any form of criticism saying that the movie contains bad words, and the greatest proof is that the censorship authority didn’t omit a single word from the movie.

 

This means that the 12+ age rating the censorship authority decided for the movie made it easier for you to include the expressions you wanted in the script?

Of course, the 12+ age rating was an indication to the audience that the film contains some expressions and action scenes that aren’t suitable for children. In general, Welad Rezk Part II contains a maximum of two or three words like that, which is much less than Part I; and these words were added to serve the drama lines of the plot, that’s why they weren’t that obscene.

 

The ending of Part II opened the door for the possibility of having Part III. Is this true?

Yes, there will be Part III; we knew that since we were shooting Part II. Most probably we will start shooting in 2020, the date is not yet confirmed.

 

What was your most difficult scene in this movie?

From my point of view all the scenes were difficult and tough, but the problem is not in their difficulty, but was during shooting. The action scene that lasts for five minutes takes more than four days of shooting, some days after I finished shooting I could have fallen asleep on the spot from exhaustion! We all exerted great effort in this film to present audiences with an enjoyable movie. Regarding the chase scene, I only saw it for the first time in the movie premiere; and frankly speaking, it dazzled me because it was really great, as if I were watching a Hollywood movie. There was a highly professional special effects team that accompanied us during shooting, in addition to fully equipped cars. The chase scene took six days of shooting to come out this professional.

 

Some see that Yousra, Assala and Maged El-Masry’s cameos didn’t add much to the movie and that their scenes did not really affect the events. What do you think?

Big names like Yousra, Assala and Maged El-Masry are very popular and loved by many. The participation of great artists like these is a big incentive for people to watch the movie and an indication of its high quality.

 

How do you see the competition between Eid El-Adha movies, especially with big stars competing like Ahmed Helmy and Karim Abd El-Aziz?

Of course high revenue is an indication that the film is successful; this pleases all the filmmakers who exerted  a lot of effort in their movies and serves as a good reward for their hard work. The high revenues of Welad Rezk Part II are a blessing from God, especially that it achieved the highest single-day revenues in the history of Egyptian cinema. But I don’t pay attention to the competition and what is more important to me than revenues is to please the audience by presenting an enjoyable movie. The presence of a movie like El-Fil El-Azr’aa (The Blue Elephant) that achieved more than LE70 million is a great achievement for the Egyptian cinema industry in general; and as for Helmy, I was personally missing him, his movies are among the important movies in any season and at the end we all compete to make people happy.

 

Did the huge success of Welad Rezk Part II make up for your absence from Ramadan TV series this year?

The point is that we started shooting Part II from last January to July and this is the period Ramadan series are shot, so if I had worked on both, I would have caused the delay to either the series or the movie. I preferred to concentrate on the movie to present something distinguished to my fans, so I turned down the El-Amalaya 36 (Operation 36) series because the shooting was during same time of of the movie.

 

So it wasn’t for the high salary it’s rumored you asked for?

For your knowledge, I am almost the only actor who doesn’t have any dispute with any production company because of money. I never asked for high salary, I usually negotiate the financial issues just three minutes before I sign the contract and many people know that.

 

Have you signed on for any series in Ramadan 2020?

I haven’t signed any contracts yet; I haven’t yet found a script that attracts me. The huge success of my latest series Tayea makes the selection process harder for me.

 

Do you let success go to your head?

In the past few years, I have presented a number of series and movies that achieved great success which is a matter I always thank God for. But I usually don’t feel arrogant or let it go to my head—in fact I feel afraid because every time I ask myself, what is next? Fear is an incentive for success for me. Arrogance can push any actor to jump into the abyss. I will quote a sentence that my dear friend the  famed scriptwriter Tamer Habib once said to me: “Whoever feels reassured in our field will die.” Whatever the success you’ve achieved, you should never put a ceiling to your ambitions. When Tayea achieved its huge success in Egypt and the Arab world, I felt as if I was taunting all those who said that I would fail.

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