Actor Mohammed Ramadan in talks with Ahmed Zaki’s family to save biopic of Egyptian screen legend

Critics and fans alike have drawn comparisons between the performance and looks of Ramadan (L) and those of Zaki (R). (Instagram/Wikimedia commons)
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Updated 23 July 2020

Actor Mohammed Ramadan in talks with Ahmed Zaki’s family to save biopic of Egyptian screen legend

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.




Egyptian actor Ahmad Zaki looks on at Cairo's Hilton Ramsis coffee shop 08 February 2002. Zaki is preparing to play the role of late singer Abdel Halim Hafez in a film written by Mahfouz Abdel Rahman. (AFP)


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.


Arab movies to debut at Toronto International Film Festival

Updated 03 August 2020

Arab movies to debut at Toronto International Film Festival

DUBAI: Organizers of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) have released a new lineup of 50 movies for screening at this year’s event including a number of Arabic flicks.

Egyptian filmmaker Mayye Zayed’s “Ash Ya Captain” (“Lift Like a Girl”), an intimate journey into the life of an aspiring athlete, will premiere at the 45th edition of the festival, due to take place between Sept. 10 and 20.

Also featured will be Palestinian filmmaking twins Tarzan and Arab Nasser’s “Gaza Mon Amour,” a satire on love and desire. The brothers’ second feature film, it tells the tale of a 60-year-old fisherman who is secretly in love with a market dressmaker. As the story unfolds, the fisherman discovers an ancient Greek statue that will trouble him.

British director Ben Sharrock’s “Limbo” will see Egyptian-British actor Amir El-Masry star as a Syrian asylum-seeker who finds himself living on a small Scottish island.

Egyptian-British actor Amir El-Masry stars in British director Ben Sharrock’s “Limbo.” (Toronto International Film Festival)

Meanwhile, American director Spike Lee’s film version of David Byrne’s hit Broadway show “American Utopia” will open at the event which will be capped off by American-Indian director Mira Nair’s “A Suitable Boy.”

In addition, there will be showings of Iranian directors Manijeh Hekmat’s “Bandar Band” and Farnoosh Samadi’s “180 Degree Rule.”

Most screenings will take place virtually due to government restrictions imposed to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

Cameron Bailey, TIFF’s artistic director, said in a released statement: “We began this year planning for a festival much like our previous editions, but along the way we had to rethink just about everything.

“This year’s line-up reflects that tumult. The names you already know are doing brand-new things this year, and there’s a whole crop of exciting new names to discover.”

The full schedule of the festival will be released on Aug. 25.