CAIRO: An Egyptian TV series portraying the life of legendary actor Ahmed Zaki has been put on hold over a dispute with his family.
Egyptian star Mohammed Ramadan, who was set to play the lead role, announced on Monday that the show had been postponed until negotiations with Zaki’s heirs are resolved.
Fans had been looking forward to seeing one of the country’s most popular current film and TV stars play an icon of Egyptian and Arab cinema.
Zaki is regarded as the finest male actor to grace Arab film screens. During his career he starred in more than 60 movies including “The Days of Sadat,” "Nasser 56," "Ard Al-Khof" and "Ma'ali Al Wazir."
He died in Cairo in 2005, aged 55.
The TV series called “El Embrator” (The Emperor) was meant to be ready for Ramadan next year - the main month for TV productions in the Middle East.
Mohammed Ramadan announced the project last month but filming was yet to begin.
Egyptian media said Zaki’s relatives rejected the biographic series. The reports said Ramadan is involved in talks with them to seek their approval.
“The series on Ahmed Zaki has been postponed until negotiations with his family,” Ramadan said on Facebook.
Critics and fans alike have drawn comparisons between the performance and looks of Ramadan and those of Zaki.
With the project on hold, Ramadan said he would be working on another series for 2021 named “Moussa,” written by Nasser Abdel Rahman and directed by Mohammed Salama.
Ramadan has been in the spotlight for several reason in recent weeks.
His latest music hit with rapper Super Sako, “Tik Tok,” was played at the weekend in New York’s Times Square and garnered five million views on the app.
The actor-turned-singer is the first Egyptian artist to receive the Diamond Creator Award from YouTube after reaching 10 million subscribers.
On a different note, Ramadan was sentenced to 12 months in prison last week for slandering a pilot after he posted a video inside the cockpit of a private plane.
The pilot accused Ramadan of damaging his reputation.