Q&A With Hatim Abdelghafour: 'International Film Directors Believe in Me More Than Moroccans'

Rabat - Hatim Abdelghafour is young Moroccan actor who has appeared in several European and American films, Middle Eastern mega-drama productions and local cinema and TV works.

His filmography and television career include, Arabic TV series: “Sakr Qouraich”, “Molouk Atawaeif” (2002) and “Omar” (2011); European and Moroccan Drama: “L’Eté Ou Tout à Basculer” and “Une heure en enfer” (2011); Films: “La Femme Ecrite” (2011), Exit Marrakech (2012), Killing Jesus (2015) and “The Army of One” in the same year, where he got to act along Hollywood superstar and Academy Award Winner Nicholas Cage.

In an interview with MWN, the young talented performer shared his experience as an actor and talked about his hopes and dreams for the future.

MWN: How did your acting career begin?

Hatim Abdelghafour: When I was in high school I used to do sketches with a friend of mine called Walid Lagnaoui. We were amateurs and I wasn’t taking art seriously. After high school, I studied English literature at Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakech.

During my university studies I started to taking part in drama clubs just as a hobby and performed in various plays such as “The Tragedy of Death and Love”, “Air of Time”, “The Curse of Why”  and “The Stranger and Women”. Thanks to the latter I received the award of best actor in the International Festival of University Theater in Agadir. Later on, I took drama classes at the Institut Français and joined the Association of Young Artists.

I benefited from various trainings in acting techniques on how to monitor the body, looks, voice, gestures, and presence on stage and I did another training on techniques of acting in front of the camera with Cours Florent, an actor school in Paris. Afterwards, I felt that my ambition was bigger than just university theater. The turning point in my artistic career was when I started being cast in movies and drama series .

That was the beginning of my professional life as an actor.

What is the difference between working with Hollywood and Arab directors, and Moroccan ones?

Hatim Abdelghafour: I think working with International productions in general, especially those of Hollywood, are more professional and well organised. It is the same when it comes to international film directors and Arab directors that I worked with. They believe in the competence of actors while they select them in a very professional casting. They have great sincerity and credibility and a lot of passion and patience in their artistic work, without forgetting the way they communicate with their actors.

Concerning Moroccan film directors, I think their films reflect the reality of how they work, how they get public funds, how the script is developed, how the characters of the film are distributed and how the public funds are spent on the film.  I think that the whole process suffers from lack of sincerity, credibility, passion, patience and communication.

What was it like working along a film superstar like Nicholas Cage? Was it a daunting experience?

Hatim Abdelghafour:  It was an amazing experience to work with such a humble superstar like Nicolas cage. When I finished shooting with him I told him:  ‘‘It is an honour to work with you’’ then he answered: ‘‘The honour is mine’’. Before we start the shooting I did a casting with the film director Larry Charles.

The director appreciated my acting skills. I gained a role to play in the movie among well-known Hollywood actors. I was given the role of a taxi driver, and all the scenes I shot in the film were with Nicolas Cage who is a machine of words and acting. It was a good experience and an adventure for me to improvise with him in some scenes of the film.

The surprise was that when the film was released in USA I appeared twice with Nicolas Cage in the trailer of the film and this is a good sign about my performance in the film.

You were cast in major Hollywood and Middle Eastern productions, yet you continue to play in short films. What short films have that Western movies and epic Arabic drama series don’t?

Hatim Abdelghafour: Some young film directors get in touch with me and ask me to take part in their works, because they see me as the right profile for their films.  I work with them for free. They don’ t have enough money to pay actors and I accept to work with them. My only condition is to send me the script first before I give my OK.

I find that short films are very interesting when they have good messages to deliver, and it is also a new experience for me and good exercise for my acting skills.

How do you picture yourself as an actor a few years from now?

Hatim Abdelghafour: I see myself more in international films because it gives actors fame and more opportunities to develop their careers. It also guarantees a respectable income as opposed to Moroccan ones, which are still ruled by friendships and closed circles rather than talent and competence.

I also dream to be an Oscar winner. I always believe that nothing is impossible and one can achieve success as long as one believes in his or her talents. I always urge people to dream, because dreams are the bridge between imagination and reality.




  • The Moroccan Gold Eldorado

    The Moroccan Gold Eldorado, a Myth or a Reality?

    Rabat - Recently, a conspiracy theory video about a large gold discovery in Morocco is making rounds online. The video claims that a substantial gold reserve was discovered and is being extracted by a Canadian mining company called Maya Gold and Silver. We Moroccans are very proud human beings, we love our country and cherish...

  • Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani

    Qatar: How the Tables Are Turning in The Gulf

    Rabat - Amidst harsh sanctions and a long list of demands from its neighbors, Qatar’s ability to thrive under pressure may prove to be problematic for Saudi Arabia. As Saudi Arabia and its coalition attempt to wait out Qatar, the recent spat in the Gulf continues to become more and more global, and severely against...

  • FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2015 file photo, a plume of steam billows from the coal-fired Merrimack Station in Bow, N.H. If the nation doesn’t do more, the U.S. probably won’t quite meet the dramatic heat-trapping gas reduction goal it promised in last year’s Paris agreement to battle climate change, according to a new study. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File)

    Climate Change : If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Fix It

    Chefchaouen - Climate change is happening at home and around the world. Chefchaouen is doing its part by embracing clean energy climate solutions and engaging its citizens in climate action. When it comes to fighting climate change, cities and local leaders are best positioned to lead that charge. Local leaders from coastal to landlocked communities are...

  • 20

    India Orders Internal Probe into Mistaken Use of Morocco-Spain Border Picture

    Hyderabad - The Indian Ministry of Interior on Wednesday ordered an internal investigation to find out how a picture of Morocco-Spain border was used in its annual report to show floodlights along the India-Pakistan border. What is most embarrassing is that the annual report of previous years was tabled during the Budget Session of Indian...

  • Amid Growing Tension, Thousands of Moroccans Stage Pro-Rif March in Rabat

    Neglect in Harsh Soil: The Deep Roots of the Rif Crisis

    Rabat - The ongoing protests in northern Morocco started almost eight months ago, but they have their origin in nearly a century of violent repression by the state. The Rif has, in spite of itself, got involved into a peaceful revolt since the death of the fishmonger Mohcine Fikri at the end of October 2016, a...

  • Tamim Bin Hamad al Thani emir of Qatar

    The Qatar Crisis: What Does It Mean?

    Rabat - The recent diplomatic fallout between Qatar and the rest of the Middle East could have serious economic and geopolitical consequences across the globe. Earlier this week, Qatar’s diplomatic crisis took an extreme turn as several Arab states severed diplomatic ties with the Gulf nation.  The original list of countries in the coalition against...

  • Moroccans spend Laylat al-Qadr, the 26th day of Ramadan, at the Hassan II mosque in Casablanca.

    Ramadan: Not just Abstinence from Daily Intakes 

    By Abdellatif Oudra Rabat - The observance of Ramadan, one of the five pillars of Islam, compels Muslims to fast from sunrise to sunset. But it is not just about abstaining from food or drink.  Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is observed in commemoration of the revelation of Qur’an to the prophet Mohammad,...

  • Morocco Threatens to Terminate Agriculture Agreement with Europe

    Morocco and the EU: Managing the Future

    Rabat - Morocco enjoys proximity to Europe and is at an advantage of being favoured by the European Union as a close partner on political, economic, and cultural levels. Historical archives and political legacies tie Morocco directly with at least three influential European countries: France, Spain, and England. Demography, kinship, and immigration compel other EU...

  • The Educational and Cultural Implications of the Arab Spring

    The Educational and Cultural Implications of the Arab 'Spring'

    Rabat - In the last ten years or so, the Arab world has seen unprecedented collapses in the realms of politics and economy, among others. World NGOs regularly release area-specific rankings, in which Arab nations commonly rank at the bottom of lists in education, human rights, and income for instance while they top those of...

  • Thousands Hold Peaceful Demonstration in Memory of Mouhcine Fikri

    Al Hoceima and the Pedagogical Exercise

    Ottawa - What makes a democracy different from non-democracy? This is the classical and historical question asked by philosophers over the centuries and deeply questioned in the discipline of political science. Democracy cannot prevent inequality as the case in the United States where inequality is the highest globally. Democracy cannot stop corruption like in Brazil...