Nicolas Cage has landed a bona fide international medic for his new movie – Egyptian doctor-turned-movie star Mohamed Karim will play a fearless hitman in the project.
The actor, who entertained 100 million TV viewers as the host of hit talent show The Voice throughout the Middle East, and landed the Best Actor award at the Monaco International Film Festival for his movie Facebook Romance, graduated university in Cairo and obtained his Master’s degree in Physical Medicine, Obesity and Weight Reduction before setting his sights on Hollywood.
In the new movie, A Score to Settle, Cage plays a hitman out for revenge on his former mob bosses, including Karim’s character, after two decades of wrongful imprisonment.
Mohamed admits the film, which also features Benjamin Bratt, was a great project, with which to launch his Hollywood career.
“I had an amazing experience,” he tells WENN. “All the action scenes are between me and Nic in the movie, which is awesome. I did all my own stunt scenes… I just felt I wanted to do it. I felt like I wanted to have the whole experience.
“Acting in front of Nic Cage, that’s a big thing. I wanted to make sure that he saw a good actor, working… I just wanted to make sure I was up for it… I worked on the character a lot.”
That meant spending four months trying to get into the head of a killer with no fear of death: “I worked on what was not written in the script,” Mohamed adds. “I asked, ‘What is this guy like when he’s at home?’
“My character, Jimmy the Dragon, fears nothing. He doesn’t fear death at all… and that was really interesting to me. Who doesn’t fear death? It’s something that’s totally not me. You have to really believe this could be you.
“For, like, three, four months, I worked on that and tried to change my behaviour, the way I talked, my body language.”
And it appears the homework has paid off – Karim has just landed another major role opposite another big star.
“I can’t talk about it just yet, but this is going to be a very big film,” he says with a smile.
Karim is about to become the first Egyptian star and leading man since his mentor Omar Sharif to make it big in Hollywood, and he feels sure he has the late movie legend looking out for him from beyond the grave.
He befriended the Dr. Zhivago star before he died in 2015 and Omar offered the Hollywood hopeful advice and guidance.
“Omar Sharif was a friend of mine,” Mohamed explains. “Everybody loved Omar. We met several times and he was so helpful. We sat down for dinner and I told him this is my dream… I told him I wanted to do characters away from stereotypes.
“He told me what I should do and what I shouldn’t do from his own experience. He made Dr. Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia before he came here to Hollywood and he started big. He boosted my desire to do what I want.”
“I’d really like to build bridges between Hollywood and the Middle East,” the actor explains.