Interview: Tahar Rahim
Black Gold star Tahar Rahim is a heartthrob in his native France. With his multicultural roots and exotic accent he’s set to be a star in this region too once Black Gold beams his beautiful face onto our cinema screens from 1 December (2011).
The French actor of Algerian origin has an ear for accents, and has played some impressively diverse characters since his breakthrough performance in the hard-hitting prison drama A Prophet. So far he’s been a Gallic warrior in Kevin Macdonald’s The Eagle, worked his native French in the cult TV series La Commune and now he’s channelling Arab royalty in Black Gold.
The 30-year-old, who scored a Best Actor Award at the European Film Awards in 2010 and was also nominated for Bafta's Rising Star Award, is refreshingly humble about what his fame means. He maintains he’s “just a boy from the countryside”, but coming up is his leading role in the French film Des Hommes Libres (Free Men), and the biopic on Si Kaddour Benghabrit, the founder of the Great Mosque of Paris.
For now, content yourself with Ahlan! Live’s exclusive interview with Tahar and his swoon-worthy role in Black Gold as a geek-turned-warrior prince and hubby to Freida Pinto’s Arabian princess. Lucky Frieda!
* WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! *
For your chance to get lucky and win a pair of tickets to the UAE premiere of Black Gold at 9pm on Wednesday 30 November at Vox Cinema, Mall of the Emirates, here’s our final Black Gold ticket giveaway challenge: Check out the video of our red carpet moment with Tahar at the end of this interview, and then go to our Facebook page and tell us what the actor wore to the Doha Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Black Gold...
Ahlan! Live Talks to Tahar Rahim...
Hi, Tahar [*Blush* *Swoon* *Faint*]. At the beginning of the film you were rather bookish - “the boy from the book” as Freida’s character calls you. In the second half of the film you’re more rugged with stubble and kohl eyeliner. Which did you prefer?
The second one, of course, because I had more things to play. In the beginning [Prince Auda] is just a shy boy – he’s not even a man and so there’s just one colour.
What was the toughest part of this role?
The hardest thing to play for me is always the feeling of sadness. I always feel like I’m doing it wrong, like I’m fake. And in this movie in particular it was the English.
How did you prepare for your role as Arab prince?
I didn’t have time to prepare – not a lot anway, just 10 days before shooting as I went from one set straight to this one. Once we were there, we found all the costumes and locations really made us believe in it, so really, as I said, the most difficult thing for me was speaking in English and trying to keep the evolution of the film in the right direction as we shot it as ménage of the scenes – at the beginning we played the end, and at the end we played the beginning.
Antonio Banderas plays your father-in-law. How was it working alongside a huge Hollywood star - did his Arabic accent ever remind you of his Puss in Boots voice [they sound kinda similar]?
First of all, he’s a good guy. He could have been, y’know, “the star”. You never know how big actors are going to react, but he did well with me. I really liked the relationship we had in the movie and it was a little like that in real life too.
And what about our fave British actor Mark Strong?
We had worked together just a little bit before in The Eagle and I wanted to work with him again. It was a pleasure, really.
In France you’re already very famous. Do you have the press tracking you down?
In the beginning, yes, but I’ve hidden myself now as I don’t like it because the press want to go through your private life. When you have family, sisters and brothers, can you imagine what it’s like with a colleague coming up to them saying, ‘I know your brother is like...’?
So what attracted you to take on a role that’s sure to propel you to even greater fame?
There was a challenge in it because there was a risk I could lose everything, I could have been ridiculous. Also, I know Jean-Jacques Annaud and he’s a great director. You just don’t say no to those kinds of projects. It’s not just a spectacular movie, you come out of the movie and you question yourself, if you don’t already know about the question of oil.
Check out the moment we caught up with Tahar on the red carpet...
INFO: See Black Gold at cinemas across the UAE from Thursday 1 December 2011.