Popular Egyptian actor discusses the making of The Blue Elephant with bestselling author Ahmed Mourad at SiBF 2022
Sharjah, November 13, 2022
“I feel that I am home,” said popular Egyptian actor Karim Abdel Aziz during his presence at the 41st Sharjah International Book Fair, as he described the UAE and Egypt as “one nation”.
“The warm welcome I receive from the Emirati people, who are genuine and extremely hospitable, makes me feel I am at home - I feel I have not left my country,” said the actor, adding that his presence at SIBF 2022 was a unique opportunity to experience one of the most prominent international cultural activities.
In a panel discussion hosted at Expo Centre Sharjah, the actor was joined by bestselling author Ahmed Mourad, to discuss the challenges and opportunities of adapting the latter’s bestseller, The Blue Elephant, into a movie.
The Blue Elephant, a rich literary work that blends crime with elements of a thriller including suspense and psychology, has many riveting twists and turns to hook the reader from the start. The film explores the story of a psychotherapist treating the criminally insane in a hospital.
Following the success of the novel’s sequel, the author Mourad, is now about to start the third part of the series.
In the session moderated by media personality Nada Al Shaibani, Abdel Aziz said: “The film’s story has a vivid imagination which is evident as soon as you start reading, and this distinguishes it from other novels.”
He added: “Since I did not have prior experience in acting such roles, I read the script thoroughly and it was quite challenging to do some of the scenes.”
He said playing the lead role of Dr. Yehia Rashid was one of the most important decisions he has made in his life. Abdel Aziz pointed out that working on film adaptations is a very valuable experience, and that The Blue Elephant was particularly challenging because it is different from other societal novels as it is a solid masterpiece that ventures into different realms.
The actor said playing the lead role was challenging not only due to the complexity of the character but also because it is in stark contrast to the traditional superhero roles, and that to get the audience to accept and empathise with him was not an easy task. He said he had to consult with psychiatrists to help him better understand the nuances of the character he was portraying.
For his part, the author Ahmed Mourad said the opportunity to adapt his novel to film came about quite by accident, noting that the emotions conveyed in the bestseller were tough to convey visually through the film.
He seconded the opinion of the lead actor that it required significant research and insights to play the main character. He lauded the efforts of the director and actor in presenting a convincing superhero to the audience, stating that movie enthusiasts had the last word on the film as their acceptance transformed into an iconic work in the Egyptian film industry.
Mourad added that the success of the sequel and the cliffhanger ending for the lead character had been a key element behind the push towards creating its third part, noting that the decision was made after deliberation between the author, director and actor Karim Abdel Aziz to draw an initial roadmap for it.