Dhaffer L’abdine-Mad Solutions
CAIRO – 20 October- 2017 : Dhaffer L’abdine is the gentle handsome Tunisian star whose handsomeness quickly captured the hearts of fans. For an actor, handsomeness may help to get into others hearts but to stay in it, he has to own another kind of beauty; that of talent, perseverance and hard work.
L’abdine owns all these kinds of loveliness, the matter that made him a mega star in a short period of time. He was born in Tunis in 1972. L’abdine was a professional football player until the age of 23, where he was severely injured, and his injury prevented him from playing football for two years. In those two years he worked in the modeling field. After his recovery, he was 25 years old and felt that he could no longer play football professionally again.
L’abdine loved watching movies, art and acting, and decided to take acting classes. In 2000 he traveled to the United Kingdom and settled there. He joined the Birmingham School of Acting and graduated in 2002.
At that time he was given the opportunity to participate in a British series called "Dream Team," where he played the role of a French football player over two seasons (2002-2004) and this series was his artistic kick off. L’abdine is fluent in Arabic, English, French, Spanish and Italian, which allowed him to work in a number of international series like ‘’Wire in the blood’’ in 2004, ‘’the Bill’’ and ‘’the Doctors’’ in 2005.
In 2006 he participated in three international movies: “A Different Dish,’’ ‘’Children of Men’’ and ‘’Mercante di Pietre.’’ In the same year he was involved in two series: ‘’Bombshell’’ and ‘’the Spooks.’’
In 2008 he was in the famous Tunisian series "Maktoob," where he played the role of Mohamed Ali and won widespread fame in Tunisia. In the same year he hosted the Carthage International Film Festival. He started his acting career in Egypt in 2012 with the Egyptian series ‘’Vertigo’’ with the Tunisian star Hend Sabry.
Since his first foray into Egyptian drama he has won the love of Egyptians. L’abdine spoke frankly and freely Egypt Today about himself not only as an actor, but as a human being, an Arab man and Tunisian person.
Your start was in the movie “Maria, Daughter of Her Son” in 2000, tell us more about this experience.
It was an Italian film filmed in Tunisia. The film plot revolves around the life of Maria, Joesph’s wife and the mother of Jesus; It is a biblical story. It was an Italian production with international actors. I played the role of Giacomo di Zebedeo. It was extremely interesting and a real useful experience because I realized through this experience how through movies and TV you can create different part of history, you can create a different world completely. In ‘’Maria, Daughter of Her Son’’ we portrayed characters that supposed to have lived 2,000 years ago, participating in this movie made me feel like this is the job I would love to do forever. It is so interesting to play different characters and to learn more about the acting world and history at the same time. This experience made me realize how acting is very rich and how it is the profession that I will really find myself in.
What is the effect of the roles you have played on your real character?
I think for every character you play it takes something from you because at the end of the day you are the one who are doing all these characters. At the same time there is a big difference between who you are and the characters you play, because the characters I play may make different choices than me if I was in their position. There is a big difference between playing yourself and playing other characters. Mostly you spend more time playing other characters on a daily basis. You hardly get to play a character like you unless you are doing an autobiography for example, but usually you play different characters from your real one. While performing them you have to use your vision, the way you see the world, the way you think the character will see the world and the choices the character makes. You should use your understandings in life to understand those characters. When you are an actor you play everybody’s role except yours.
How different is it working in the west and in the Arab world?
There is a difference, because we are different as people. In the west the industry is sometimes more organized. There is more structure in the way things work, more time to do things. There are plenty of talents in the Arab world from directors, writers and actors. Anyway you can’t copy the way you work there to the Middle East. Each place has its own circumstances. You just have to adapt, every country is different from the other and every industry as well. The main thing is to concentrate on your performance and the role you are playing.
Which do you prefer?
I like both, I am always keen to work in both industries in a parallel way. It depends more on the project I will work in, which project attracts me more. Of course working in Arabic in Egypt, Tunisia and the Middle East has different taste, something is really close to my heart but of course I also enjoy international productions so it depends on both the project and my role.
Which did you gain more experience from?
I worked a lot at the beginning in the west, I learned a lot there. Filmmakers there were very interesting and helpful but I learned from working in the Middle East as well it depends on the role you do ,people you are working with and how experienced and professional they are. It depends also on what the person wants to make out of it; if you want to learn and you are open minded you will know how things work so you can learn from anybody.
Your recent project in Egypt was the soap opera ‘’Halawet el Dunia’’ (the Sweetness of Life). It was a very successful series that has grown your fan base; tell us more about that experience.
I really enjoyed being in “Halawet el Dunia,” it is a very interesting drama. It is a TV series that presents and discusses an important message that anybody should learn from, which is how to keep trying all the time to enjoy the sweetness of life despite all the bitterness inside it. The show had a supportive message to all cancer patients that having this tough and dangerous illness is not the end of the world. Cancer is your enemy and despite how strong it is you should fight it, win the battle to enjoy at the end the sweetness of life. I really enjoyed being part of this message. I was glad to be working with everyone on the series from actors, script writers, the director and production company. It was a great and important project. I am happy that people liked the series and enjoyed watching it because Halawet el Dunia is really a very vital topic.
How do you deal with your large base of female fans now? And how does your wife react pertaining this issue?
I am grateful that people are enjoying my work and I truly appreciate this. Any actor’s ultimate goal is to gain the love and appreciation of his fans. I work simply to make people enjoy what I present. My wife knows that I am an actor and how my large fans base is a sign of success and she is happy with the comments and feedback of both my male and female fans as much as I do.
People started to take notice of you in Vertigo, also with Hend Sabry. How do you feel you have developed?
When I started to work in Egypt in the Vertigo series I already had previous experience working between Tunisia and European countries. But in Vertigo it was a new challenge working with Egyptian Arabic for the first time. Like any industry you have to have good roles so people trust you and give you more work and more opportunities. That’s what actually happened. After doing well in vertigo, I worked on ‘’Niran Sadeka’’ (Friendly Fire) with a great notable cast, then ‘’Orid Ragolan’’ ( I Want a Man), followed by ‘’Tahet el Saytra’’ (Under Control) , then ‘’El Khroug’’ ( The Exist) series and finally Halawet el Dunia. I think I was blessed to work in excellent projects and with really great and talented co-workers, actors, actresses, directors and script writers since I started my journey in Egypt.
I am happy and satisfied with the work I presented in Egypt so far. I think there is an obvious constant progress in this journey. I don’t think anything in life comes quickly and fast. You have to work hard and the more you do well, people will see that and give you more opportunities. What I strongly believe in is that nothing in this life is for granted.
Wait for part 2 tomorrow.......