×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Egyptian Thesp Nelly Karim on How the Arab Creative Community Can Fight ISIS

Egyptian film and TV star Nelly Karim has played several groundbreaking Arab female roles, including an upper-class jewelry designer who mentors women against sexual harassment in “Cairo 678,” a recovering heroin addict in hit Ramadan TV show “Taht al-Saytara  (Under Control),” and a mother fighting to protect her family amid Egypt’s post-revolution insanity in Mohamed Diab’s upcoming Islamic-fundamentalism themed “Clash.” She spoke to Variety about her reaction to the Brussels attacks, and what the Arab world’s creative community can do to counter ISIS.

In Cairo you’ve been contending with recurring acts of terrorism related to religion and politics for quite a while. How do you feel about this now happening in Europe?

Yes, in Egypt these terrible things have been going on for a long time. But now after Paris and Brussels, it’s even more shocking. It’s like: Where are they going to strike next? It makes you panicky and afraid and unstable. I think this is what the terrorists want. They want us to live in fear, and to be afraid of each other, and not to trust each other. But I hope and I think that they won’t succeed because the world is very big and people want to live in peace. Terrorism has no religion. These people, they are evil, and I don’t think they have any religion, because religion is about peace, and about love, and about good things.

Is terrorism impacting the film industry in Egypt?

Of course attacks like these impact our industry. After the revolution started in Egypt, the film industry collapsed because people weren’t going to the movies, they weren’t going to crowded places.  Now it’s a bit better, and we are trying to take this fear out of our hearts because we want to live and raise our kids. We want peace. We are fighting this terrorism with everything we’ve got.

Do you think movies can help fight ISIS?

Yes, the Egyptian film industry is trying to make movies that explore issues at the root of Islamic terrorism, and also make movies that are more international. People don’t know much about our life. They only know about pharaohs, and that was 7,000 years ago. They don’t know what’s happening in Egyptian society today. Two films I’ve acted in, “One-Zero” and “Cairo 678,” do that.

Can you talk to me about your role in “Clash”?

“Clash” is set entirely inside an overcrowded police truck packed with pro and anti-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators, people from all social classes. I play a mother who refuses to leave the truck without her son who has no reason to be there. My character is a normal Egyptian woman who has no religious or political affiliation. It could be a mother anywhere around the world, a strong woman protecting her son and her family. The moral is that we are all normal people who want peace and love, and most of all want to feel safe.

More Film

  • Steve James Chicago Story

    Participant Media Partners With Filmmaker Steve James on Documentary 'Chicago Story' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Participant Media is reteaming with Oscar-nominated filmmaker Steve James and his longtime production home, Kartemquin Films, on his latest documentary, “Chicago Story.” Participant Media will finance the project, which will be produced by James and Zak Piper. Participant’s Jeff Skoll and Diane Weyermann will executive produce with Alex Kotlowitz and Gordon Quinn. James, Piper, and [...]

  • 'Metro 2033' Film Project Halted Because

    'Metro 2033' Film Project Halted Because 'A Lot of Things Didn't Work'

    It appears that MGM’s film adaptation of “Metro 2033” is no longer happening because “a lot of things didn’t work,” according to VG24/7. “Metro 2033” is a novel by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. It was also adapted into a series of successful survival horror shooters from video game publisher THQ and developer 4A Games in [...]

  • Jirga

    Film Review: 'Jirga'

    Buried within the closing crawl of writer, director, cinematographer and co-producer Benjamin Gilmour’s unfortunately cryptic but nonetheless fascinating debut film “Jirga” are shout-outs for security, political and cultural liaisons, as well as an Afghan film advisor. These credits speak, however quietly, to the no-doubt-delicate and clearly arduous making of a film that finds a guilt-ridden [...]

  • Fox Names Benjamin Bach Theatrical MD

    Fox Names Benjamin Bach MD for Germany, Replacing Vincent  De La Tour

    Twentieth Century Fox has upped Benjamin Bach to managing director, theatrical, for Austria and Germany. In Germany he takes over from the long-serving Vincent de la Tour who is leaving after 27 years. Bach has been MD of Fox’s operations in Austria since 2012 and he steps into his new, expanded, role immediately. He will [...]

  • Lois Smith

    Wes Anderson's 'The French Dispatch' Adds Lois Smith (EXCLUSIVE)

    Lois Smith has joined the cast of Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch,” Variety has learned. It continues a late-career resurgence for the 88-year-old stage and screen actress. Smith was nominated for a Gotham and Independent Spirit Award for her work in last year’s “Marjorie Prime,” a role that garnered her some of the best reviews [...]

  • Stephan James as Fonny and Brian

    Brian Tyree Henry Breaks Out Big in Jenkins' 'If Beale Street Could Talk'

    The final days of filming writer-director Barry Jenkins’ adaptation of James Baldwin’s “If Beale Street Could Talk” were dedicated to moments that foreshadowed its entire plot: Having run into the recently incarcerated Daniel (Brian Tyree Henry) on the streets of Harlem, the struggling artist Fonny (Stephan James) invites his friend back to his apartment for [...]

  • Dylan O'Brien, Justin Theroux, Angela Bassett,

    Travis Knight on Getting the Call to Direct ‘Bumblebee’: ‘Did You Guys Get The Right Number?’

    “Bumblebee” director Travis Knight admits he couldn’t believe it when Paramount Studios and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura called him two years ago, asking him to helm the upcoming “Transformers” movie. “My initial question was, ‘Did you guys get the right number?'” Knight joked at Sunday’s premiere of “Bumblebee” at the Chinese Theater in Los Angeles. “You’ve seen [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content