by Sherif Awad
Many Arab actors, who have been inspired by Egyptian-born star Omar Sharif, have tried to breakthrough onto the A-List of Hollywood stars yet they faced many challenges. But one of the up-and-coming Egyptian stars is the promising Mohamed Karim who have succeeded so far to make a balance between a career in his homelands and an international career across Europe and the United States.
Born in a whole family of medics, Karim found himself attracted to the glamour of the silver screen. At the age of eighteen, he first came to LA in order to complete his high school education. That time, he only discovered America through classroom windows, as he was keen to score high grades that would pave his way into medical school in Egypt. After scoring his first success as good student, Karim returned to Cairo to complete his higher education as doctor at Ain Shams University. Yet, he would travel to LA during summer vacations to follow what was going on with American filmmaking. By his third year at university, Karim had already started his journey into the entertainment business by presenting TV shows, making many TV commercials and appearing in modeling events. In few years, Karim has already scored success in Egyptian television and cinema, in addition to his many noted appearances in international film festivals like Cannes and Dubai.
During his travels to the US, Karim also took an intensive acting course and was introduced to various Arab-American filmmakers, such as the late Mostafa Akkad who produced Halloween horror series in order to raise money for Arab- and Islamic-themed films like Omar Al-Mokhatar and Al-Ressala. “I learned from Akkad that acting is a cumulative experience… He also advised me to also study filmmaking to become a producer or director later in my career,” says Karim who considers the last five years as the best of his career so. His starring role in the romantic comedy Facebook Romance playing a young man who moves to Jordan following the 2011 Egyptian revolution, landed Karim a Best Actor Award from Monaco Film Festival. The success of this film and his TV roles in Egypt drove Karim to accept an offer from MBC Group to become the presenter of the popular talent show The Voice in 2012. “I have succeeded to rise my popularity during the two seasons of the show that was watched by 100 million viewers across 22 Arab countries”, explained Karim who was named Best TV Presenter through an online voting organized by the Forum of Arab Media. Later in 2014, Karim was named Mitsubishi Brand Ambassador.
“After two seasons of The Voice and the acclaim that followed, I decided to focus on my acting career and so I declined the offer to present the third season”, says Karim who mostly lived in Lebanon during the shooting of The Voice. “I was doing midweek’s shows and voiceovers and so it was impossible for me to accept any other film or TV offer till the two seasons were wrapped”, he adds.
Mohamed Karim will focus during 2016 to balance between his Egyptian/Arab career and his international career. “I have come to California on the New Year’s Eve to prepare the shooting of a new thriller called Cross Two directed by Patrick Durham”, revealed Mohamed. “I am happy that I am not playing an Arab character which will expand my casting chances the same way Omar Sharif was doing”.
While he is in California, Karim is planning to attend the 2016 Golden Globes. “I was at the Oscars and the American Film Market which I also consider two of the most important events for actors to socialize with Hollywood professionals. I remember meeting and talking to Kevin Costner when he was presenting Company Men few years ago, which was very aspiring”, says Karim whose nexts project include a new film to be shot between the US and Egypt with Egyptian-American director Hesham Issawi and also a new US film called The Sweet Summer.