From A Prophet to a Hollywood Star


The New Arab Meets: Man of the second, Tahar Rahim. The French actor has starred in quite a lot of box-office hits since his breakout in The Prophet. Now selling his new launch at Cannes, we caught up with the star to find out about his profession thus far.

Tahar Rahim at all times knew his price as an actor, however he needed to push additional arduous to get the roles he needed.

At first, the French-Algerian actor stated the elements he was supplied “lacked creativeness” – to say the least.

After his breakout function within the highly-acclaimed French crime drama A Prophet, through which he performed a younger legal in a tough jail navigating between the Corsican mafia and Muslim factions, the roles he then acquired, particularly from Hollywood productions, had been unoriginal, even clichéd.

“Tahar Rahim has come a good distance since his humble beginnings in Belfort, a small city close to the French-Swiss border, the place he was raised by Algerian mother and father”

Roles of a terrorist, a Muslim gangster, even a dishonest French lover – Tahar acquired stereotypical elements again and again, however as a younger Arab actor attempting to make his mark in each French and international movies, he was intent on avoiding being typecast, particularly if the script lacked nuance.

“I stated no to lots of people,” Tahar instructed The New Arab, “however issues have modified for the higher since.”

“On the very starting, after A Prophet, they needed me to do the identical factor again and again, as a gangster, a legal. So, I attempted to make my approach, the way in which I needed it, which is leaping from one type to a different, one nation to a different, as a result of that is who I’m. That is my life. That’s the way in which I’ve been introduced up.”

Tahar’s unwavering dedication to solely settle for roles that challenged him, with administrators with a robust voice, ultimately paid off.

Since Jacques Audiard’s A Prophet, Tahar has labored with a number of the most gifted filmmakers from around the globe: Kevin Macdonald (in The Mauritanian and The Eagle), Asghar Farhadi (in The Previous), Jean-Jacques Annaud (in Black Gold), and Kiyoshi Kurosawa (in Daguerrotype) to call however a couple of.

However way more remains to be to come back: Tahar has simply wrapped up filming Ridley Scott’s Napoleon, through which the English filmmaker reunites with Joaquin Phoenix for the primary time since Gladiator.

In different newest information, Tahar is listed to star alongside Anne Hathaway, Marisa Tomei and Matthew Broderick in Rebecca Miller’s upcoming New York-set rom-com She Got here to Me.

Tahar may also add his identify to the checklist of well-known actors who’ve jumped on the unstoppable Marvel bandwagon.

It was introduced final week that Tahar is the most recent to affix Sony Footage’ upcoming female-driven Spider-Man spin-off Madame Net, including his identify to a rising forged that features Dakota Johnson (The Misplaced Daughter) and Sidney Sweeney (Euphoria).

All these A-list movie tasks lined up for Tahar affirm that he’s one of the vital in-demand and acclaimed Arab actors working right now.

After successful a number of Greatest Actor awards for A Prophet when he was solely 28 (he’s now 40), he garnered extra worldwide reward for his roles in The Mauritanian, portraying the wrongly imprisoned ex-Guantanamo Bay detainee Mohamedou Ould Slahi alongside Jodie Foster and Benedict Cumberbatch, for which he acquired a BAFTA nomination, and for the crime drama collection The Serpent, co-produced by BBC One and Netflix, which earned him a Golden Globe nomination for his magnetic portrayal of French serial killer Charles Sobhraj.

On the seventy fifth Cannes Movie Pageant, he promoted the premiere of his new movie, Don Juan, a French musical that provides a contemporary tackle the famed womaniser made well-known by Molière and Mozart.

After a collection of roles in crime dramas and police thrillers, Tahar is now stunning a lot of his fanbase by singing and dancing on this musical directed by Serge Bozon. A problem he relished to participate in, particularly alongside Belgian-French actress Virginie Effra (Benedetta).

“I needed to do many classes to have the ability to do it [sing], you do not wish to hear me singing,” he stated laughing. Tahar stated he watched outdated French singer-songwriters to assist him research for the function, like Jacques Brel and Charles Aznavour, singers who actually put their soul behind each efficiency, simply what Tahar was attempting to attain. “You have got to have the ability to convey your feelings,” he stated in regards to the singing. “It is a complete completely different recreation.”

Daniela d’Antonio Sorrentino, Tahar Rahim, Julia Ducournau and Élodie Bouchez attend the seventy fifth Anniversary celebration screening of “The Harmless (L’Harmless)” in the course of the annual Cannes movie pageant [Getty Images]

The movie affords an authentic tackle a much-told story, one reimagining the womanising fable of Don Juan in a post-#MeToo feminist context. Reasonably than conquering ladies, Don Juan is deserted on his wedding ceremony day within the movie’s first scene and stays alone on the finish.

In between, he finds his ex-fiancée in each girl he meets, desperately attempting to woo them to recover from his heartbreak, however none fall for his makes an attempt.

It’s a story that embraces males’s vulnerability somewhat than selling poisonous masculinity, whereas additionally empowering feminine characters – angles that satisfied Tahar to tackle the function.

“Once you choose a mission, you don’t take into consideration all of this [the feminist context]. The very first thing you search is to be shocked and to do one thing that you simply haven’t performed earlier than, and to discover completely different creative fields,” he stated.

“What was actually authentic [about the project] was to inform a narrative with a male character on the centre of it who’s residing with heartache, I’ve by no means seen that earlier than… that was fascinating as a result of it exhibits that us males really feel the identical after we’re unhappy and with out love. I feel ladies are stronger to deal with this heartache.”

Tahar Rahim has come a good distance since his humble beginnings in Belfort, a small city close to the French-Swiss border, the place he was raised by Algerian mother and father. He spoke English in a stunning Southern US accent, maybe coaching for an upcoming function.

Though he couldn’t select one dream half, he stated he’d like to play in a Western, imagining himself as a cowboy. However Tahar stays curious to strive something authentic, in any style – drawn to variety ever since he was a younger boy when he jumped from tradition to tradition and whet his urge for food to turn out to be an actor.

“Once I was a child we had been all collectively. Asian individuals, African individuals, North African individuals, Mediterranean individuals, French individuals, Gypsies. We had been youngsters collectively, hanging out, and it brings again lots of reminiscences.

“We might go to one another’s homes, and with out even noticing it we had been discovering completely different cultures. That fed me as a person, and that is likely to be the rationale why I wish to work with each French and international administrators.”

Alexander Durie is a Multimedia Journalist for The New Arab. His tales concentrate on social actions, migration points, and the humanities & tradition of the SWANA area. He has contributed to The Guardian, Al Jazeera English, The Economist, The Unbiased, and extra.

Comply with him on Twitter: @alexander_durie


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