Egyptian superstar Yousra over the course of a four-decade career has starred in a multitude of Arabic film and TV milestones comprising classic movies such as Youssef Chahine’s “Alexandria: Again and Forever” and Marwan Hamed’s “The Yacoubian Building,” and hit Ramadan series “Public Opinion Case,” which was instrumental in changing Egypt’s rape victim legislation.
But while Yousra has appeared in several co-productions, she recently had the first-time experience of working on the MBC series “Rose & Layla” with a non-Arabic writer-director duo: British screenwriter Cris Cole, creator of the BAFTA-nominated series “Mad Dogs,” and Adrian Shergold, who directed “Mad Dogs.” “Rose & Layla,” which is produced by Maged Mohsen and Safa Aburizik, will be distributed internationally by veteran Brit exec Stewart Till’s Till Entertainment.
The groundbreaking 10-episode show – which will be launching on MBC’s Shahid streamer by year’s end – marks another first, pairing Yousra with popular younger Egyptian star Nelly Karim with whom she had never co-starred before. “Rose & Layla” is a Cairo-set show about two financially-challenged women (Karim plays Rose, and Yousra plays Layla), who form a comically inept private female detective duo and encounter all kinds of obstacles.
“This type of co-operation with the Arab world should have happened a long time ago,” said Yousra, speaking at Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Film Festival where she is being honored. “I think audiences will see us, Nelly and myself, in a very different way through Cris and Adrian,” she added, noting that “The way Adrian directed was totally different from ours: He is fast-paced; and the action is engrained in our body language.”
In terms of the show’s verbal language, Yousra pointed out that “when you write a script in English or in any other language that isn’t Arabic, and then perform it in Arabic sometimes [even after its translated] it needs to be adjusted,” she said.
“So at times I would say to Cris: this is what I should be saying in Arabic. But of course he trusted me and Nelly.”
As for working in tandem with Karim, Yousra noted that their characters bond for several reasons, including the fact that “Layla is a widow and Rose has an abusive husband.” And then there are the unexpected impediments they face. As they peel layers of deceit covering up a bank fraud in Cairo and intersecting with lots of wild characters. “We are accused of killing, of doing drugs, and everything else you can imagine!,” she reveals. But all in good cheer. “What I loved about it is that it’s brand new for me. It’s light comedy, and the chemistry between me and Nelly was amazing.”
Stories centered around strong women overcoming difficulties seem to be particularly congenial to Yousra. Her next film, to be released in local theaters early next year, will shine a light on various forms of oppression suffered by women in the region during early stages of childhood and youth, including female genital mutilation and arranged weddings of minors. Titled “Leilet El Eid” (“The Night of the Feast”) and directed by Sameh Abdelaziz (“The Nile Crocodiles”), it’s about “Several women who are very poor, each one of whom is contending with a different problem,” she says. This female empowerment drama, which is produced by El Sobki Film Production, is set during the night of the first day of the Eid feast of sacrifice celebrated by Muslims. On this night cathartic events take place to each of the pic’s protagonists, all somewhat magically prompted by Yousra’s character. She plays a cleaning lady who is a victim of sexual harassment and reacts by “taking off her slippers and giving the man who is harassing me a sound beating!,” she said, then went on to note: “That’s a scene I really enjoyed playing.”
Read More About:
Source: Read Full Article