M’Barek: ‘Turkish’ turns into Teuton coming-out party

10 Actors to Watch 2012: Elyas M'Barek

One of Germany’s busiest young actors, Elyas M’Barek is currently shooting two films at the same time: “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” and the historical drama “The Physician.”

The 30-year-old Munich native, the son of an Austrian mother and a Tunisian father, has appeared in more than a dozen feature films and countless TV movies and series in the past decade, but it was his starring role in the hit ARD series “Turkish for Beginners” and its subsequent big-screen adaptation that catapulted him to stardom in Germany.

The film, a prequel to the story told in the series, about a German mother of two who moves in with her boyfriend, a Turkish widower and his two teenage kids, grossed nearly $22 million at the box office, becoming the most successful German film this year.

The pic was one of four films released this year starring M’Barek. The others include Elmar Fischer’s comedy road movie “Offroad,” Mike Marzuk’s hit kid’s adventure pic “Famous Five” and Marco Petry’s romantic drama “Heiter bis wolkig.”

“Elyas brings an incredible combination of personality, talent and looks to the big screen — he has everything a movie star needs and more,” says Martin Moszkowicz, Constantin Film’s head of film and TV and exec producer of “Mortal Instruments,” “Hopelessly in Love” and “Turkish for Beginners.”

M’Barek also starred in Matthias Schweighoefer’s hit laffer “What a Man,” one of last year’s most successful local pics, as well as Uli Edel’s 2010 “Time You Change,” about the life of German rapper Bushido, and Dennis Gansel’s 2008 hit “The Wave.”

M’Barek will continue his relationship with Constantin on the high school comedy “F**** You Göthe,” by Bora Dagtekin, writer-director of “Turkish for Beginners,” as well as on a “Turkish for Beginners” sequel.

Although he already had an impressive list of credits before “Turkish for Beginners,” M’Barak says the film’s huge success has led to a flood of offers, allowing him for the first time in his career to cherry pick his roles.

In Harald Zwart’s upcoming “Mortal Instruments,” he plays a vampire leader, starring alongside Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Kevin Zegers and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, while in Philipp Stoelzl’s “The Physician,” about an 11th-century Englishman who travels to Persia to learn medicine, he co-stars with Ben Kingsley, Tom Payne, Olivier Martinez and Stellan Skarsgard.