Playing Sayed, a mugger with psychological problems, alongside Mona Zaki is Mohamed Farrag in The Black Box. We had a quick chat with Farrag and he gave us all the details about Sayed’s look, conflicts, skills and fetishes.

By Mariam Elhamy

What attracted you to play Sayed’s character?

The essence, characteristics and appearance of this character is unlike anything I’ve done before. Almost like a butterfly, I love moving from flower to flower, from role to role, from look to look and from a social stratum to another. I don’t like being put in one role.

Viewing how a mugger or a dangerous criminal who is put in a different circumstance than what he is used to will react is what attracted me to Sayed. I also loved changing how I look, it was very hard to make it look real and I hope that makeup artist Mr. Mohamed Abdelhamid, director Mahmoud Kamel and I pulled it off.

In summary, Sayed is a mugger who uses Hady, who is played by Mostafa Khater, to finish off his work for him or get him out of trouble. Sayed’s psychological issues appear in his conflict with Mona Zaki where it is revealed that he has a fetish for pregnant women.

What also made me very excited for this role is that this was the first time that I collaborate with Mona Zaki and Mostafa Khater in a very suspenseful film.

Did you have to learn any special skills or accents to play this role?

Not really. The only thing that I had to learn but have had a bit of previous experience with in another role is how to use an Egyptian Swiss knife. Sayed had to be very skillful when he uses it either to defend himself or attack others in some scenes, so I had to appear very capable while using it.

At the same time I had to be careful not to harm others or myself while using it and I actually got hurt in some scenes.

We know you love to dress-up and change your appearance for a role, tell us what you loved the most about Sayed’s look and how hard it was wearing it?

I came up with Sayed’s look, having a deformed face with a huge scar, a burnt eyebrow and messy hair in order to look scary in a way that is normal so that he looks like someone we come across in the street. He had to represent muggers, thieves, killers and criminals. So, I loved fitting this look on me and I have to give a huge thanks to makeup artist Mohamed Abdelhamid and his team who helped me pull off this new look.

It was very hard to wear this look, we had to work for 2 hours every day before shooting on the makeup and 1 hour and 30 mins after to remove it. It’s very sensitive so I had to deal with not being able to eat, drink or move a lot while wearing it so it doesn’t fall off and so it looks natural.

What are some acting tips you could give actors who want to try doing thrillers?

For whoever creates art whether through acting, directing, editing, filmmaking, or any role in cinema, straight from the heart my one tip is honesty and devotion. If you love something you have to believe in it very much and devote yourself to it and god will reward your dedication.

As for thrillers specifically, anyone who wants to succeed in it has to have seen many thriller movies to pull it off because it requires action, suspense, conflict and something that ties it all together.

What will the audience be thinking about in the car as they drive home after such a film full of action and suspense?

To me, if the audience goes in and gets so engaged in the movie and enjoys it to the extent that they forget all about their worries and take a break from their own reality, then it has fulfilled its target. Some might come out with something picking their brain but I can’t reveal more.

Who should not come see this film?

I don’t think I would tell anyone not to come see this film. There’s nothing inappropriate in it and a lot of people have worked very hard to pull off their best.

I want to tell everyone to come see this film and I promise that you will enjoy 2 hours that will take you away from your life or stress into a great story and acting.

Read more exclusive interviews with Mohamed Farrag