An Egyptian Star Is Born
You may not recognize him, but in the streets of Cairo and Alexandria, Sean Delon 97 elicits giggles and oh my Gods! from girls pressing autograph books in his hands. Its not as bad as the Beatles, laughs the star of last years Egyptian blockbuster, Sweet Guys filmmaker Hatim Fareeds breakthrough indie thats the Arab-speaking worlds answer to The Blair Witch Project. The film, which takes place in one night New Years Eve, 1999, to be exact exposes the class distinctions and strips away the artifices of a group of young Egyptians partying in the shadow of the pyramids on what they fear may be the eve of Armageddon.
Though considered the Hollywood of the Middle East, Egypt hasnt seen anything like Sweet Guys before. Filmed completely digitally, without the backing of a studio and using an ensemble cast sans headliners, the film broke all the rules and has become hugely successful. This movie reminds me of Peter Sellers The Party, wrote film critic Rafik Alsapan of Akhbar Lanogoom (Egypts equivalent to People magazine). All of which translates to overnight stardom for cast member Delon, whom the regions major daily, Al Ahram (the pyramid), likened to countryman Omar Sharif. Alexandria is known for its beauty and its big movie stars, Delon haltingly translates from a news clip, and Alexandria is proud that Sean Delon as Omar Sharif and other actors is rising.
Born and raised in Alexandria, Delon came to the United States to study acting, much to his engineer fathers bewilderment. In the beginning, it didnt make sense to him, says Delon, but now he sees me on TV, and all his neighbors show him articles about me. Hes become used to it.
Now that hes made it in the Middle East, Delon is back in the West, shopping around a script he co-wrote with classmate David Degan titled No Other Way, about a pair of star-crossed Israeli and Egyptian lovers. He and Degan have also begun a non-profit organization, International Peace Alliance, whose goal is to bring together Israeli and Palestinian children in summer camps where they can build friendships.
Delons strategy is to keep busy, to keep exploring options and never to become predictable. The time may come when girls from another Alexandria the one south of Washington, D.C. will be angling for his autograph.
|Alumni by Year
Sean Delon '97