The Egyptian Stuntman: Amr MacGyver by Sherif M. Awad
A Unique Journey
Amr Sayed Mahmoud, popularly known as Amr MacGyver, was born and raised in Cairo. With a deep passion for car racing, he quickly made a name for himself, becoming a three-time champion in Autocross Race by the age of eighteen. During this time, Amr drew inspiration from the late Brazilian Formula One champion, Ayrton Senna.
However, it was during his preparatory years, rather than in the realm of car racing, that Amr acquired the nickname "MacGyver." This moniker originated from the popular TV series starring Richard Dean Anderson, which aired on Egyptian national television in the mid-1980s. Amr recalls a memorable incident: "While attempting to fix a power plug in my classroom, I accidentally caused a short circuit that resulted in a floor-wide blackout." Amr's father found humor in the situation and bestowed upon him the MacGyver nickname after taking responsibility for the damages.
An Entrance into the Film Industry
Amr's entry into the film industry came about serendipitously when he was approached by the producer of the Mohamed Fouad starrer "Rehlet Hob" (Love Journey, 2001) to execute a thrilling car chase scene culminating in a crash on Al-Ahram Road. At that time, Egypt lacked a professional stunt team capable of handling such demanding sequences. Consequently, the producer imported British stuntmen, but their inability to secure road closures, as typically done in Western cinema for safety reasons, presented a challenge. "After successfully executing the stunt, I started receiving numerous calls for similar projects," explains Amr. This led to his involvement not only in films like Sherif Arafa's "Fool El-Seen El-Azeem" (The Great Chinese Beans, 2004) starring Mohamed Heneidy but also in music videos such as Asala's "Tasawar" (Imagine) and TV series like this year's "Al-Gama'a" (The Brotherhood). Amr's passion for stunt coordination eventually became his profession, as he found car racing to be an expensive and less rewarding pursuit in Egypt.
Pioneering Stunt Coordination in Egypt
Following his collaborations with Mona Zaky and Karim Abdel-Aziz on the film "Abou-Aly" (2005), where he executed a daring backward driving stunt, Amr decided to establish his own team—the first and only team of stuntmen in Egypt to date. He joined forces with South African stunt coordinator Andrew McKenzie, who boasts over two decades of experience in the field. "McKenzie previously worked in Egyptian cinema with Ahmed El-Sakka in films like 'Tito' and 'Ibrahim al-Abyad'," reveals Amr. "I collaborated with McKenzie for several years until I gained sufficient experience to operate independently with my team." Presently, Amr's team comprises a skilled group of young men proficient in wall climbing, combat scenes, and various weapons. Additionally, there is a talented young lady nicknamed Jojo, who serves as the stunt double for leading