Year in review: The best Arab films of 2022

Year in review: The best Arab films of 2022
‘The Blue Caftan’ is directed by Maryam Touzani. (Supplied)
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Updated 04 January 2023

Year in review: The best Arab films of 2022

Year in review: The best Arab films of 2022
  • William Mullally picks the best movies by Arab filmmakers over the past year

‘Perfect Strangers’

Director: Wissam Smayra

Starring: Mona Zaki, Nadine Labaki, Georges Khabbaz

The original Italian version of “Perfect Strangers” had already been remade across the world before its Arabic-language iteration was released on Netflix. But nowhere else has it caused the stir that it did in the Middle East. The conceit is simple: Seven friends at a dinner party decide to play a game, placing their phones in the center of the table to make their calls and messages known to all. As the night goes on, their secrets are revealed, upending everything they thought they knew about each other. Not only was this the best version of the film so far, with pitch-perfect casting and memorable performances, it was also the bravest: each of its stars pushed themselves in ways they had never been able to in regional film previously, shattering taboos, capturing the world’s attention and changing Arab cinema forever.

‘Kira & El Gin’

Director: Marwan Hamed

Starring: Karim Abdel Aziz, Hend Sabri, Razane Jammal

The highest grossing film in the history of Egyptian cinema, “Kira & El Gin” is Marwan Hamed at his best. This is a crowd-pleasing historical epic that not only captures the spirit of Egypt past and present, but sets a course for a new future for the country’s film industry. Following two men fighting the British occupation in Egypt during the 1919 revolution, Hamed’s film rarely sags despite its nearly three-hour run time and sprawling cast, structured more as a suspense thriller than a social studies lecture. As Hamed jumps from genre to genre across his films, proving equally adept at each, one wonders how he will top this, should he try. But it would be foolish to bet against him as he continues to notch up career high after career high.

‘Boy From Heaven’

Director: Tarik Saleh

Starring: Fares Fares, Tawfeek Barhom, Mohammad Bakri

Egyptian-Swedish filmmaker Tarik Saleh has a bone to pick. Growing up in Europe, he was always labeled as ‘other’ — an idea reinforced in the books in his school library describing Arabs as “stupid” and “uncivilized.” Now firmly entrenched as a filmmaker, Saleh refuses to make films tailored to the Western gaze, turning his camera deep into the inner workings of Egyptian society and forcing international viewers to accept that they are seeing things through eyes that are not their own. In “Boy from Heaven,” Saleh goes deep into a corruption scandal at the influential Al-Azhar Mosque, following a hero whose strong Muslim faith is unrattled as he uncovers the evils hiding from plain sight, with scenes and images you won’t soon forget.

‘The Alleys’

Director: Bassel Ghandour

Starring: Maisa Abd Elhadi, Nadia Omran, Munther Rayahna

In 2014’s “Theeb,” Jordanian writer Bassel Ghandour crafted perhaps the greatest example of the Bedouin Western in cinema history. With “The Alleys,” Ghandour steps into the director’s chair for the first time and turns the streets of Amman into the setting for a modern noir, in which the darkness hiding in the city’s back streets slowly boils to the surface. The film’s sprawling nature is both benefit and detriment, but it’s a stirring snapshot nonetheless, elevated by star-making performances from Maisa Abd Elhadi and Nadia Omran.

‘You Resemble Me’

Director: Dina Amer

Starring: Dina Amer, Mouna Soualem, Lorenza Grimaudo

Filmmaker Dina Amer is most familiar to global audiences for her fearless journalism in 2013’s “The Square” and various Vice News stories she produced as their foreign correspondent from the front lines of regional conflicts. “You Resemble Me” cements her as a filmmaker to watch, as her harrowing experimental recounting of the life of Hasna Ait Boulahcen, the woman miscredited as Europe’s first suicide bomber, is a deeply affecting dissection of the roots of terrorism and the racism that Arab women face in Europe. One of the most original films released this year.

‘The Swimmers’

Director: Sally El-Hosaini

Starring: Nathalie Issa, Manal Issa, Kinda Alloush

The story of Yusra and Sara Mardini, two sisters from Syria who risked their lives to escape conflict for a better future only for one of them to become an Olympian, is so powerful that a film capturing their story could not help but be inspirational. El-Hosaini, the Welsh-Egyptian filmmaker behind 2012’s excellent “My Brother the Devil,” made it into something more — a thought-provoking reframing of the refugee experience at a time when Syrians and many others still suffer from that stigma, as well as a chronicle of women’s empowerment as the structures that held them back crumble, all told with a light touch that never alienates the huge global viewership the Netflix film has enjoyed.

‘Mediterranean Fever’

Director: Maha Haj

Starring: Amer Hlehel, Ashraf Farha, Anat Hadid

Palestinian cinema is often, understandably, a no-holds-barred dissection of the plight of its people. But that is by no means its only manifestation, as Maha Haj, a previous collaborator with renowned satirist Elia Suleiman, proves with her latest feature, “Mediterranean Fever,” the follow up to her acclaimed 2016 feature “Personal Affairs.” Haj focuses here on smaller human problems, following an aspiring writer who suffers from depression and befriends a small-time crook living next door. At times comedic, the film drifts into dark territory while always keeping its audience guessing. After winning best screenplay at Cannes in 2022, Haj has confirmed herself as one of the region’s most singular voices.

‘The Blue Caftan’

Director: Maryam Touzani

Starring: Saleh Bakri, Lubna Azabal, Ayoub Missioui

There is no more versatile actor working in Arab cinema today than Palestinian actor Saleh Bakri, who, with Touzani’s “The Blue Caftan,” has capped off a tremendous run of eight films in the last two years, including Farah Nabulsi’s Oscar-nominated “The Present” and Mohammed Diab’s “Amira.” This is perhaps his best performance yet. He plays Halim, a struggling master tailor in Morocco whose life is turned upside down when he and his wife take in a young apprentice. Stealing the strikingly-filmed show, however, is his co-star Lubna Azabal as his wife Mina, who is quietly enduring her own private battle with breast cancer as she and her husband struggle to communicate.  With this and 2019’s “Adam,” Touzani is already one of Morocco’s great chroniclers.   

‘Raven Song’

Director: Mohamed Al-Salman

Starring: Asem Alawad, Ibrahim Alkhairallah, Abdullah Aljafal

The singular contemporary Gulf filmmaker Mohamed Al-Salman is not making films so that the world may understand Saudi Arabia — he’s making them so that Saudi Arabia may understand itself. “Raven Song,” his debut feature after years of acclaimed shorts, is a stylish jump back to 2002 in the Kingdom, a formative time for both the filmmaker and his country, in which the fight between traditionalism and modernity was so heated that it manifested prominently even in the world of poetry. At times dream-like, “Raven Song” is a film that defies definition, with interpretations likely to roll in for years to come.

Lebanese singer-songwriter Karl Mattar discusses the new record from his project Interbellum 

Lebanese singer-songwriter Karl Mattar discusses the new record from his project Interbellum 
Updated 34 sec ago

Lebanese singer-songwriter Karl Mattar discusses the new record from his project Interbellum 

Lebanese singer-songwriter Karl Mattar discusses the new record from his project Interbellum 

DUBAI: Lebanese singer-songwriter Karl Mattar was in Berlin writing songs for the third album from his project Interbellum (Mattar and a revolving lineup of his peers from Beirut’s music scene) — “Our House Is Very Beautiful At Night” — when his hometown of Beirut was rocked by a massive explosion at its port on Aug. 4, 2020.  

Inspired by the writings of Nicolas Abraham and Maria Torok, Mattar was already exploring the theme of intergenerational trauma as a phantom (“indistinct and blurry, but familiar,” he says) and he notes that some works created by Lebanese artists, including himself, before the blast have become almost premonitory in retrospect. Interbellum’s previous album, for example, included a track called “Some Ghosts.” 

“(The explosion) wasn’t the genesis of the record, but it definitely informed it,” Mattar tells Arab News. “It’s weird how much everything we wrote about before still fits within what’s happening now. And I think it’s because that event didn’t happen out of the blue; it emerged from things that had happened before, almost like a symptom. It’s sad, but it’s almost like it was inevitable. And that’s one of the themes of the record — the cycle of things always repeating and ghosts that have always been there being unlocked. 

“I’ve always been interested in themes of memory and the past and nostalgia. I have my own baggage from childhood that I carry around and I’ve been exploring the idea that we have to learn to live with our respective ghosts,” he continues. “And there is a dimension that personal trauma is mirrored by — or is a microcosm of — societal trauma and the state and society reflecting the nuclear family. It’s like a Russian doll thing.”  

Lead single “Partners” encapsulates these themes, and the haunting instrumentation — with sounds fading in and out throughout, giving the music a patchwork, collage-like effect that is evident across the record — echoes the ghosts Mattar has been talking about.  

“That song’s about an abusive, dysfunctional relationship,” he says. “I was moved by this notion of people who are in such a relationship being tied by this intimate bond. It’s almost beautiful, if it weren’t so horrifying (because of) this idea of how we perpetuate abuse that we lived through and kind of pass it on, and can subconsciously choose a partner to re-enact something we went through. It’s a really sad song, but there’s a beauty to this intimacy that I found poignant.” 

“Our House Is Very Beautiful At Night” will be released April 7. 

Recipes for success: Chef Matthew Jones offers advice and a cinnamon bun recipe for Ramadan

Recipes for success: Chef Matthew Jones offers advice and a cinnamon bun recipe for Ramadan
Updated 52 min 27 sec ago

Recipes for success: Chef Matthew Jones offers advice and a cinnamon bun recipe for Ramadan

Recipes for success: Chef Matthew Jones offers advice and a cinnamon bun recipe for Ramadan
  • The founder of London’s renowned Bread Ahead bakery, which recently opened branches in Jeddah and Dubai, offers advice and a cinnamon bun recipe

DUBAI: Even as a child, Matthew Jones wanted to be a chef. “I never had any doubt in my mind about what I was going to do,” Jones tells Arab News. “I was in the kitchen literally as soon as I could walk. . . The kitchen is my home.” 

Having spent 15 years working in Michelin-starred restaurants, the self-taught British baker founded Bread Ahead, a popular artisan bakery and school that opened 10 years ago in London’s bustling Borough Market. People still line up to get a hold of sourdough breads, pastries, and its main star, the donut.   

“The donut scene was a bit tired at the time,” Jones says. “It was sort of focused on the sweetness, whereas we’re more about gastronomy and flavors. We make our own jams, caramels, all of the fillings. We make everything from scratch. . . It’s all about the eating journey — when it goes into your mouth and you start eating one of our donuts, it’s an emotional journey.”  

Bread Ahead - doughnut selection. (Supplied)

The bakery is famed for its float donut, filled with vanilla, pistachio, chocolate, and praline and only fried on the surface of the oil. When it’s flipped over, there is a white steamed line at the center of the donut, which Jones calls “the band of truth” — a sign of a good donut. “The body of the donut must be very light, fluffy, and a little bit buttery,” he says. But it’s not just the tangible ingredients that make the donut, it’s how you work the dough. “You give something of yourself when you bake,” Jones adds.   

Bread Ahead is a London institution, and it has now found its way to the Middle East — opening new branches last year in Jeddah and Dubai, most recently at Mall of the Emirates. “We just got a call one day and somebody said, ‘We want to take you out to the Middle East.’ It was great,” Jones says. “I love Dubai. It’s an amazing city — a city of opportunity, especially in hospitality and the food industry.”   

Here, Jones discusses discipline in the kitchen and the challenges of working in the Michelin world, and shares a delicious cinnamon bun recipe.  

Q: What’s your earliest food memory?   

A: It would probably be making flapjacks, where I used to live with my parents in Quakers Hall Lane, Kent. I would have probably been about five or six years old. I was a happy little soul.  

Blueberry Cheescake Doughnut. (Supplied)

When you started out as a professional, what was the most common mistake you made?  

I think I was a good learner when I was a young chef. I worked in quite a brutal environment; I was brought up in the Michelin world in the Eighties and Nineties. So you weren’t really allowed much room for error.([Laughs.) You would just get barked at. But I was disciplined. I had a good work ethic.  

What one ingredient can instantly improve any dish?   

Truffles, caviar, saffron… (Laughs.) Generally, those high-end things do improve food. But let’s say… good company?    

Are you a disciplinarian in the kitchen? Do you shout a lot? Or are you more laidback?   

I would shout a lot, definitely, when I was a younger chef and baker. I was very full-on — direct, committed seven days a week, eighteen hours a day, no problem at all. I’ll do that all day long. There’s a lot to get right every day. More recently, I think I’ve sort of cooled down a bit. 

The bakery is famed for its float donut, filled with vanilla, pistachio, chocolate, and praline and only fried on the surface of the oil. (Supplied)

What customer behavior most annoys you?    

I think probably asking for gluten-free products when they’re not actually gluten-free. Allergens is a big one — I think people don’t really understand them a lot of the time. Obviously, I’m a perfectionist, so anybody who’s critical of food, I find that quite difficult to deal with. (Laughs.)   

What’s your favorite dish to cook?  

Maybe risotto. I love the process of it.  

What’s your top tip for amateur chefs?   

Keep doing it. Don’t give up. You know, I think it’s that 10,000-hour rule: You’ve got to put the hours in. You’re never going to make your best loaf of bread the first time you make it. It won’t happen, sadly. But even when it goes wrong, that’s okay. Just start again. 

Chef Matthew’s cinnamon rolls 


For the dough 

50g rice flour; 450g strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting; 300g full fat milk; 80g caster sugar; 10g fresh yeast; 10g fine sea salt; 100g butter; 1/4 tspn ground cinnamon; 1 egg 

For the cinnamon butter: 

180g softened unsalted butter; 225g soft dark brown sugar; 75g soft light brown sugar; 20g ground cinnamon 


1. Put all the dough ingredients apart from the butter in a bowl, tip onto table, and — using the heel of your hand — stretch and tear for five minutes. 

2. Add the butter into your dough one third at a time, continuing to stretch and tear until the butter is absorbed. Stretch and tear the dough for five more minutes until it is elastic and glossy. 

3. Return your dough to your clean mixing bowl, cover with cling film and place in the fridge for at least one hour. 

4. Beat the cinnamon butter ingredients together in a bowl until combined. 

5. Transfer the dough from the fridge onto a lightly floured work surface. 

6. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a rectangle, roughly 50cm x 40cm. Spread the filling evenly over the dough, leaving a small strip clear of any filling along one of the long edges, then brush this strip with a little water.  

7. Roll the dough up lengthways, gently pressing the filling-free edge into the dough to seal it. 

8. The roll into 12 equal pieces about 5cm thick. 

9. Transfer them to a baking tray lined with baking paper. Gently press them down so they are about 4cm high. Cover with a tea towel. Leave to prove in a warm place for about 1 hour, until they have almost doubled in size. 

10. Preheat your oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Bake the buns for 15 minutes, then turn the tray round and bake for a further 10 minutes, until golden brown. 

11. Remove buns from oven, transfer to a wire rack, and eat warm. 

French Algerian model Younes Bendjima stars in Farfetch’s latest campaign  

French Algerian model Younes Bendjima stars in Farfetch’s latest campaign  
Updated 30 March 2023

French Algerian model Younes Bendjima stars in Farfetch’s latest campaign  

French Algerian model Younes Bendjima stars in Farfetch’s latest campaign  

DUBAI: French Algerian model Younes Bendjima has starred in a new Spring/Summer 2023 campaign for British-Portuguese luxury fashion e-retailer Farfetch.  

Bendjima was joined by US actress Marcia Cross, famous for her role as Bree Van de Kamp in “Desperate Housewives.” 


A post shared by FARFETCH (@farfetch)

The campaign celebrates the idea that you only need to dress for yourself, not anyone else.  

In one scene, Cross is seen getting dressed up for herself and dancing contentedly alone in a red Ferragamo dress.  


A post shared by FARFETCH (@farfetch)

Cross is also seen dressed in a Dolce & Gabbana leopard print coat while she says: “I’m so tired of everybody else’s opinions, I can make my own choices” with Younes seen shot fully clothed wearing a black sleeveless blazer by Jil Sander commenting” “What can you lose, when you’re doing you?” 

“Younes has such a quiet aura to himself, a kind soul with impeccable style,” creative director of Farfetch Yannis Henrion said in a released statement. “It’s brilliant to be able to portray both sides of the spectrum; showing two great personalities who love to express themselves with their style and make up their own aesthetic.” 


A post shared by FARFETCH (@farfetch)

“We are so excited to bring this unlikely pair of style icons together for this new campaign,” Henrion added. “Marcia is celebrated as an icon for her confidence and fierce style … We wanted to give Marcia the opportunity to show what her own style looks like since she is just as iconic and fierce in real life as in her best on-screen roles.” 

The online retailer previously starred actresses Kim Cattrall and Leighton Meester in their campaigns.  

Sahoor sorted: The food trucks and drive-thrus to visit in Saudi Arabia in Ramadan 

Sahoor sorted: The food trucks and drive-thrus to visit in Saudi Arabia in Ramadan 
Updated 30 March 2023

Sahoor sorted: The food trucks and drive-thrus to visit in Saudi Arabia in Ramadan 

Sahoor sorted: The food trucks and drive-thrus to visit in Saudi Arabia in Ramadan 

JEDDAH: Looking for a new late-night hangout this month? We’ve got you covered. 

Baozi, Riyadh 

This is one of the coolest pitstops to make in Riyadh’s Al-Olaya neighborhood. Asian flavors and Western concepts such as the hamburger collide here to create the most delicious hybrids. Unusual pairings include salted-caramel chicken wings, sesame-toast shrimp and brisket charcoal bao. The baos — fluffy Chinese buns — come pre-stuffed or with a side order of stuffing to allow you to get your mouthful just right. Fans of the food truck’s offerings wax lyrical about Baozi’s Shrimp of Thrones and Loca Chicken Bao. After a loaded sahoor — we recommend ordering a variety of dishes from the menu and sharing the spread with friends; the serving sizes are pretty large — top off the experience with a Hakuna Matata — fried oreo and ice cream — or, in keeping with the season, a wholesome date pudding with ice cream. It’s sure to keep you sated until iftar comes around.  

Serial Griller, Jeddah

When Saudi dentist Reham Fozi Shabana decided to ditch her day job for a food truck, little did she know she’d put together a burger joint people would rave about. Drawing from her own childhood, the Jeddah-based entrepreneur now has an eatery that suits the Arab palate; there are homemade burgers and crisp fries with toppings including Cheeto sauce and chicken sauce; chicken wraps; pancakes dripping in chocolate sauce; and, for Ramadan season, a new special: the Vimto slushy. Besides its readymade burgers such as ‘C Killer’ — with crispy chicken breast, cheese and spicy signature sauce, and B Killer, which has beef, cheese and cocktail sauce, Serial Griller also has a DIY BBQ box with food enough for six. The chain has outlets across Jeddah and can also be found on delivery apps.  

The Peak, Alkhobar 

There’s much to be said for the ambience of this chain — for one thing, there’s outdoor seating under the starlit sky. For another, there’s a pergola to add to the relaxed vibe. But even if you ignore the decor, this place serves up treats enough to draw a crowd. The large portions mean this American-style joint is perfect for sahoor with friends. The food, from burgers to the crunchy fries and cheese, is delicately smoked for that extra ounce of flavor. And for seasonal treats The Peak offers bites such as ice cream custard, with rose petals and pistachios adding a little crunch. Want to be the chef who does it himself and impresses the family while he’s at it? Order The Peak's Special Grill Combo with everything — including mayo and seasoning — for a grill-up at home.  

Mumbai On Wheels, Jeddah 

Got a hankering for some old-school Indian street food? Head over to this truck near Lulu Mall, in Jeddah’s Marwa area, where you can get pao bhaji (mixed vegetable with buns); papri chaat (small flour cakes with sweet and sour toppings); and vegetarian and non-vegetarian platters, among others. Billed as the city’s first Indian food truck, Mumbai on Wheels aims to emulate the roadside shacks back in India, complete with bright bulbs, a colorful veneer and spicy nosh straight from the Subcontinent. Favorites include the famous vada pav (deep fried potato dumpling in a bun), samosas and phirni (a sweet dish made with rice, milk, sugar and dried fruits). Just bear in mind that, like the logo, the food here is bound to be sizzling!   

X Bite, Jeddah 

There are no microwaves in this establishment, founded in 2017. The food is prepared fresh for every customer. With a simple cast of American diner favorites — burgers, crispy chicken, shakes and sodas — X Bite has won many fans and has grown to include a restaurant, but its initial outlet on Al-Madinah Al-Munawarah Road remains a big draw. X Bite also has a DIY kit, so sahoor can be a family affair minus travel. But it also goes the extra mile if you are looking for a caterer for a get-together. The team will tailor-make a menu for your guests, be they 40 or 400, they say. 

Salt, Riyadh 

The brainchild of Emirati Amal Al-Marri and Saudi Deem Albassam, Salt offers bite-sized burgers and cheesy fries but also signature delights locals will love, such as Lotus ice cream. Salt launched in the UAE back in 2014 and has expanded from the Emirates to Saudi Arabia, and has a permanent location at the U Walk complex in Riyadh. Try the classic wagyu beef burger with cheese and pickle in a buttered bun for an unforgettable meal. Salt also has trucks in Riyadh, Alkhobar, Dammam and AlUla.  

The 60 Pasta, Riyadh 

We love eating with our eyes before we eat with our mouth and this food truck delivers with bowls made of bread stuffed with delicious sauce and gooey, cheesy bites that slide down effortlessly. They aren’t stingy with their portion sizes either, so you can share your meal with that special someone. Highlights include truffle pasta, special pasta with spicy chicken, chicken Alfredo, and the signature 60 pasta bowl. Meals are made fresh and so there can be quite a long waiting time, but it’s worth it.  

Infuse, Riyadh 

Missing your daily cup of joe? Sip on classic or signature blends at this drive-thru café in Salim Ibn Moqil, An Nakheel. Unique infusions include macha latte, hibiscus watermelon, and infusion coconut latte. For food, there are buttery croissants, sandwiches, tarts and tiramisu. There’s also a place to sit, if you feel like staying a while, but service is quick and quality is unwavering; get ready for a new favorite coffee house. 

Cast of ‘Succession’ talk the beginning of the end of smash hit show

Cast of ‘Succession’ talk the beginning of the end of smash hit show
Updated 30 March 2023

Cast of ‘Succession’ talk the beginning of the end of smash hit show

Cast of ‘Succession’ talk the beginning of the end of smash hit show
  • It’s one of the most-acclaimed shows of the century, but the dark comedy’s fourth season will be its last 

DUBAI: There’s a regular lifecycle for a television masterpiece. At first, it’s a sleeper hit, adored by critics and early adopters. As the years go on, if it’s good enough, it grows into something much greater — a phenomenon that becomes so embedded that its quotes and characters become cultural touchstones. All of this has happened with HBO’s “Succession,” which just began its fourth season on OSN+. There’s one step in the cycle, however, that creator Jesse Armstrong is still hoping to avoid — the one where a great show carries on past its prime. And so, with this season, “Succession” will come to an end.  

As they filmed this latest season, however, no one knew this (except Armstrong). The cast and crew were shocked and heartbroken. All, that is, except actor Brian Cox, who plays Logan Roy, the domineering and acerbic business mogul whose ‘succession’ plan for his media empire carries the show’s central conflict.   

Brian Cox. (Supplied)

“I’m delighted. I’m very happy that it’s coming to an end,” Cox tells Arab News. 

This isn’t to say that Cox is not a fan of the show, or not grateful for the experience. Rather, in his eyes, stories should have endings, no matter how much the world may demand a next chapter.   

“Jesse implied to me that it was going to be coming to an end. Everyone else was hopeful that it was going to go on, but I was fine about it. I don’t hang on to things. It wasn’t really decided until around episode six or seven that it was going to be wrap-up time, but in the end, that’s the discipline of (Armstrong),” says Cox. 

“A lot of shows go well past their sell-by date. This show will never do that. It’s a good thing that people are mourning the fact that it’s coming to an end. It’s like a death in the family. But I think that’s healthy, and that’s what’s so extraordinary about Jesse — that he had the courage to do it. Never outstay your welcome,” Cox continues. 

Nicholas Braun and Matthew Macfadyen. (Supplied)

For his co-stars of course, it wasn’t just a matter of trying to milk out more story. Over the show’s run, while it is often merciless in its portrayal of the Roy family, from its patriarch to his four children and the many hangers-on beyond, it’s also open-hearted to them. The magic of the series is that it takes some of the most unrelatable and unlikable characters ever put on screen and, by focusing on their family dynamics, makes it impossible not to relate to them in some way — and impossible not to wonder who will actually succeed Logan Roy.  

“Jesse and the writers realized in the first season, when they had storylines that took the central characters away from each other, that it dissipated the tension and the energy. This family is so addicted to each other and so worried about what the other ones could do behind their back. They don’t fit in anywhere else in the world except with each other. Because of their wealth and elitism, they have no one else to relate to, so it’s family or bust,” says Sarah Snook, who plays Logan’s daughter Siobhan Roy. 

The close ties between the characters mirrors the real-life bond between the actors, says Alan Ruck, who plays Logan’s eldest son Connor. 

“With all the outlandish things that the writers have asked me to say or do, I think it all comes back to how you relate to the people you're working with,” he explains. “I just have to key into the energy of Sarah Snook, or Kieran Culkin, or Brian Cox or Jeremy Strong, and how much I like them. It keeps me in the room, and in the situation, no matter what crazy things (my character is) saying or doing.” 

While Culkin, who plays youngest son Roman, has been in the limelight since he appeared opposite his older brother Macaulay in 1990’s megahit “Home Alone,” what he’ll miss most about the show is the rest of the cast, knowing that it’s unlikely he’ll be working with them again because the show’s popularity would make it difficult for people to get past their character associations. The whole phenomenon thing, though, is a bit lost on him. 

“I don’t really have a sense of what a ‘global phenomenon’ is, exactly. My life is small. I do the show, then I’m home with my kids. I never see the scope. I’ll occasionally see a giant poster and go, ‘Oh cool, people are watching it,’” says Culkin. “When we filmed the pilot, I had a lot of fun doing it, but I didn’t know who the heck was going to want to see this show. I still don’t, but I’m glad they did, because we got to do this together.”