Your upcoming film A Killer Conversation - what is it about, and
what can you tell us about your character?
A bizarre black comedy
feature centred around 3 characters - Karl: Once a romantic charming
fellow, now Mr. Nobody, a drifter in life... The Burglar: A well-mannered
gentleman who's robbing Karl of his money and valuable belongings... and
Pauline: Karl's ex-girlfriend, a stuck-up upper class snobby bitch who has
no regards for people and things, is oblivious to all things happening in
front of her.
This is not your average burgling story, those characters
when they interact with one another it produces some bizarre, weird and
interesting moments and conversations that you'd not expect to happen!
The type of film that would make you go: "Hang on, they didn't just
do or say that? Did I see what I just saw? I need to watch this
Karl is a very simple,
easy-going guy, living life from day to day, no ambitions, no goals, no
future, a drifter, a stick in the ocean controlled by its current taking him
to wherever it wants, he ONLY started to think more about life and how it's
precious and valuable when he's getting burgled and being a matter of life and
How did you get involved with the project in the first place, and
what convinced you to do it?
The director David V.G. Davies
[David V.G. Davies interview
- click here], who Iíve worked
with before on other projects, called me and mentioned the film to me. Luckily I
had just returned and completed a film shoot, so I was free again. When I got the message about the film I was in the middle of
reading another feature film script that I've been asked to do but I
haven't given my word to do the film till I finish reading the script, but
when Dave called me and pitched A Killer Conversation to me, it
sounded such a cool story, so I asked him to send me the script, I stopped
reading the other one and jumped quickly on reading A Killer
Conversation - and I was hooked! I couldn't let the script down till I
completed it, I loved it, I was laughing so much by just reading the
screenplay! I fell in love with the story, the characters and how unique
and clever the script was, but what convinced me the most to do it was the
fact that David was involved in the film. Iíve worked with David before
so I was very happy and pleased to get back on set with him knowing he's
directing the film as I know his film sets usually are great and fun to
work on, plus he's a smashing director and I love working with him, his
attention to details and vision is unbelievable.
You are known mostly for
your roles in action movies, and yet you spend almost all of A
Killer Conversation tied to a chair and very limited in movements. Did
that at all feel odd?
Absolutely, it felt
very odd. I was toying with that in my mind when I was reading the script
and knowing my character will be tied up, so of course when you have limited body movement and you're tied up to a chair during most of the
film, you have to find another way of pushing the character out there and
be believable, so I knew my only key was working the heavy driven dialogue
with my speech tones, my facial expressions, looks, actions and reactions
- I'm hoping this has worked for the character.
How did you approach your role in
the first place?
I usually adopt the Konstantin Sergeyevich
Stanislavskiís Method, especially when I approach strong character-driven stories in films. Itís a well known approach for actors, now
itís known as Method Acting around the world: You have to have 1. An
Objective: The final goal the character wants to achieve, 2. Obstacles:
Things that will prevent or complicate the achievements of the
characterís objective, 3. Tools or Methods: The means a character will
use to overcome obstacles and achieve his objective, 4. Units &
Smaller objectives and methods which build towards a larger goal, 5. Actions: Mini-objectives for each line the character
With A Killer Conversation
being a comedy - to what degree could you relate to the movie's a tad
absurd brand of humour, and do you consider yourself a humourous person?
It has the perfect balance of tension, drama,
suspense with surreal comedy moments that I think the majority of comedy
films seems to lack these days. I do consider myself a humorous
person, I seem to make people laugh and get in stitches sometime, so I
guess I am :) Now I hope the audience will think so too when they watch
have worked with A Killer Conversation's director Davd V.G.
[David V.G. Davies interview
- click here] before, right? What can you tell us about him, and what are your
collaborations usually like?
Rami Himi in David V.G. Davies'
David V.G. Davies is one of those rare directors you find in today's world of
cinema... He has the immense talent and vision of the legends of the past
such as Alfred Hitchcock / William Wyler and the knowledge and expertise
of today's legends such as John Carpenter / Stanley Kubrick / Robert
Zemeckis. His films are usually full of unique twists and characters, his stories
have a wonderful balance of tension and suspense that keep you on the edge
and keep you guessing.
our collaborations, well every time Iím offered a role and knowing Iím
working with David, I get extremely excited, as I do love the way he
directs, and his sets are always fun and pleasant to work on, he has the
perfect scale measure of how to work with his cast and crew and get the
best work out of them all. I see David as the 1st director who
completely understood my capability as a versatile actor. When Iím
working with him, he offers me the strong, deep, sometimes emotional and
challenging leading roles, which have big impact on driving the story
forward, they are all very different from one another. Only a handful
of other directors offer me those roles at this present time, so Iím
very grateful to play them to show what I can really do as an actor, and it
pushes me to strive further as a performer, as I really dislike being
complacent by playing roles that are just too easy to get into and
donít have impact and change much of the story. But David V. G. Davies
sees the full potential his actors have and he knows how to bring that out
of them for the benefit of the film.
Rudy Barrow, Rami Hilmi, Melanie Denholme
A few words about your
co-stars Melanie Denholme [Melanie
Denholme interview - click here] and Rudy Barrow [Rudy
Barrow interview - click here], and what was it like working with
Denholme and Rudy Barrow were absolutely fantastic to work with, they are
extremely talented actors, I felt weíve built the chemistry between our
characters in no time. Extremely fast, I was bouncing from their
performances really well and we had such a great time working together,
they were two of the best actors I had the pleasure to work with. I am so
looking forward to work with both of them again, I hope on a few more future
I just happen to know that the writer of A Killer Conversation, Michael
Haberfelner [yes, that's actually me], was on set
for the entire shoot. Was this at all helpful, or just my and the
director's egos clashing over every little detail?
Rami Hilmi, Michael Haberfelner, Rudy Barrow
I have to admit at the
very beginning I was a little worried, as I know how much this
feature script meant to the writer Michael Haberfelner, it's his baby and
with him for 20 years I believe - so naturally I worried to screw it up by
not delivering the performance needed and doing the character
justice. But then it proved to be a blessing to have him on set and
working closely with the director David, the crew and us the cast. I
thought we all gelled and worked so well together under the pressure of
completing the film within the time limit weíve had. Michael was
brilliant and by him being on set it helped us to develop the characters
even better, the directorís and the writerís visions have helped
adding the extra needed ingredients, spices and herbs to the scenes.
Killer Conversation was shot in a mere three days - what kind of
strain did this put on you as an actor, and what can you tell us about the
on-set atmosphere? And any on-set anecdotes you'd like to share?
As Iíve mentioned on
the previous question, time was very limited for such a heavy dialogue-
and character-driven film, but the key points that worked for us and
made it possible were that we were all ready to work under pressure, long
hours and giving everything weíve got to make the film special, the
swift directorís work and direction, the chemistry that us, the actors,
seemed to have straight away with each other, the wonderful crewís talent
and getting the directorís vision rapidly and putting their creative
work to place. I remember one night after viewing the scenes left to shoot
and realized the time is creeping on us fast, David, Rudy and myself
decided to carry on shooting the next big scene between my character and
Rudyís through the night to save time and be on schedule again, we
finished around early hours in the morning, and then we only had about a
couple of hours sleep the 3 of us, but the next morning we werenít
complaining, we were very happy and rearing to go, we felt fine as our minds
were focused on the job we have on hand.
Melanie Denholme, Rudy Barrow, Rami Hilmi,
Michael Haberfelner, Paul Hobday, David V.G. Davies, Adam Lanfranchi
Despite the pressure though it was
plenty of fun and laughter on set between us all. The atmosphere on set
was happy, positive, creative and full of energy. And there were
plenty of anecdotes on set, two particular I remember very well that put
a smile on my face: Rudy goes over the top action man stamping the floor,
and Melanie comes back up as if nothing just happened to herÖ it was
during the shoot of A Killer Conversation, someone (it
wasn't me) suggested a sequel. Seriously, did you initially think this was
a good idea or even doable?
Well I didnít take it seriously at first, I
thought it was just a talk thing as people suggest and talk about sequels
for films all the time, but the majority never happen, they are just ideas
that fade away, and then when the writer Michael send us a synopsis of
his idea for the sequel I was like ďwhaaattt!! Really!!Ē - though I
thought the synopsis was pretty interesting and clever, I
still couldnít see how the sequel could work (I canít
give too much of my thoughts here as it relates to our current film), but then Michael said heís
half way through writing it, I got even more intrigued and interested, as
I wanted to see which direction is he going to take it.
Then after a month
and a bit here it goes, the writer SENDS us the sequel screenplay!
I couldnít wait to read it, here I am half way though reading it, and
thenÖ BOOM! It got me so excited, it was unbelievable! Again another
remarkable piece of work from the writer, in fact I thought the sequel
script even funnier than A Killer Conversation, and now I canít
wait to re-unite with the cast & crew and start filming it.
Let's go back to the
beginnings of your career: What got you into acting in the first place,
and did you receive any formal education on the subject?
My original interest and what I wanted to be was a pilot,
a captain flying airplanes like 747 or Concorde, I love aircrafts and it
always fascinated me such huge machines like these can be lifted up in
the air and fly thousands of feet above ground. I even thought about Space
Shuttles and being an astronaut, I loved space and the idea of
setting foot on the moon or on another planet and watch the earth from
there, but those were jobs that required a lot of time for studies,
training and plenty of money to do them, which I didnít have of course.
Then I realized that from such a young age as 6 years old I had always
performer and had made friends and family laugh, imitating characters from
films and being silly. I started performing in kindergarten shows and liked
it, so performing was something I realised is part of me and I loved it,
and also being all the jobs I canít be in one lifetime, as every role is
different and take on a new persona with a new profession on every film. So
I did study Drama, Film Studies, Theatre Studies and Performing Arts, I performed in many college shows and outside theatre companies, then I did
Drama School and moved on to do acting for TV and film.
you still remember your first time in front of a movie camera, and what
can you tell us about that experience?
Yes I do, my background was in theatre, which I
loved very much as it keeps you on the edge when you are in front
of a live audience - but the magic of film and the camera fascinated me and
I wanted to know how to perform for the lens, so I studied and then, many years ago, I started working on an amateur TV soap showing on a
Sky Channel. Iíve played a regular character, but I remember the first few
episodes were really hard to watch for me, it was odd seeing myself on
screen, I didnít like watching myself, I hated seeing my scenes and
acting on screen, till after some time I got used to it and started to see
myself as the character Iím playing. I felt I was atrocious and sucked
as an actor, I have always been very critical of my own
performances, but at the same time I had a strong passion and desire for film / TV acting, and because I have always persisted and never
had to find ways to swiftly keep on improving and getting stronger and
better as an actor, and so I did. Also when I get criticised for my performances
by film critics, I I'm not disappointed, I take them on board with
open arms. The reasons WHY they didnít like something help me
polish the mistakes and never fall for them again - hopefully. I always take
on board some good key points and advices from directors and other fellow
actorsÖ etc. I listen to their thoughts and ideas, because constructive
criticism helps you progress and develop as a true believable versatile
actor. We can never ever stop learning, there are neve- ending ways to
approach your profession, finding different angles and new fresh ways to
also directed a short called Hush. What can you tell us about that
one, and about Rami Hilmi the director?
Hush was a 5
minute comedy written and produced by a friend of mine, he asked me to
direct it and I agreed, it was a good fun little project, only a handful
of us cast and crew working closely on the project and everyone did a
brilliant job. Iím happy it had really good reviews and it was shown on
a Sky Channel a number of times, but it doesnít define me as a
director yet, I have films Iíve written and one day in the not too
distant future I probably will start directing features, but before
that I have to keep my focus on my career as an actor, then when Iím
certain I can do the film, I can do it justice and there are pros
with no cons, then Iíll go for it, because I want to make sure my
feature film is going to be strong and will have a positive impact in the
industry if my name is attached to it as a director.
pop up in your filmography time and again include Jason Impey, Kemal
Yildirim [Kemal Yildirim interview
- click here], and Russ Diapper. What can you tell us about these
men and the films you made with them?
Directors in their own right! Yes I have worked
with each of them on numerous projects and they are good to work with,
Jason Impey and Kemal Yildirim are among the directors who see me as a
versatile actor and the roles they offer in their films do vary from one
another. Also each of them has another special skill they excel at, Jason
is a superb DOP, Kemal is fantastic Light Designer, and Russ is an
outstanding Music Composer.
You also play an
uncredited role in Ridley Scott's Body of Lies. How does working on
a big budget film of this kind compare to working on an indie film like,
let's say, A Killer Conversation?
Originally I was cast as a
credited character in the film, but the unfortunate delays on some shoots (which does happen on sets frequently) meant there was no time
to film a couple of scenes which I originally had with Leonardo, but Mr.
Scott asked me to fill in on another scene, which was a really small one, but
the experience working on big budget film sets is excellent, itís the
same as what we do on an indie film except on a much bigger scale.
remember it was really fun to work on V
for Vendetta as one of the V army members marching on the soldiers
in London, a fantastic 3 nights shoot, I was in the front of Vs line that
had to jump over barriers and be more physical. I did it for the
experience back then, observing and watching the crew and their work on
I also did voice over and ADR work in English and Arabic
languages for two other big budget films Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
and the new feature coming
out to cinemas soon, Black Gold, working closely in Pinewood Studios with one of my
favourite directors, Jean-Jacques Annaud - he was such a cool and down-to-earth person, it was a valuable experience and
I learned a lot from him.
But the one BIG
difference between working on a blockbuster budget film and an indie
small budget film is on the indie sets you get to know everyone quickly
and create a good bond and sometimes you feel like you have made a homely
family feel between yourself and the other cast and crew members, you have
the chance to work with them closely and know them well. Now on the big
film sets itís a lot harder to know everyone and remember everyoneís
name and make strong connections with them, because there is a huge number
of cast and crew running around busy always, unless of course you are
working on that film for few months then gradually you will be able to.
other films of yours you'd like to talk about, any future projects?
Currently I am in the middle of filming a new
thriller feature called The
Dossier playing a lead role called Deniz Celik (The Governor),
directed by Jennifer Hookway and produced by Malcolm Karpeta, so far it's
been going so well, again another superb film Iím working on, we have
such an excellent team, all the cast and crew full of energy, enthusiasm
and talent, the locations planned for the film are amazing with so much
attention to detail and work been put in to it, Malcolm has done months
of preparation and wonderful work on it before we started filming, and
Jennifer is an extremely talented director whoís turning the script to
pure magic with her ideas and suggestions, making each scene turn from good
I also will start filming a new war WWII/horror film
called 44 Kills directed
by Rick Roberts, though itís still early days to talk about it. Not to
forget the sequel of A Killer
Conversation that I am also looking forward to immensely. Now the
other films in the pipeline are too early to talk about.
career, you have also done a lot of stunting and fight choreography. What
can you tell us about that aspect of your career, and what kind of
training do you need to properly do that even?
It's something that seems to
come natural to me, to be honest Iíve never thought Iíd be involved as
a stunt coordinator and fight choreographer on films, my heart has always
been into acting from the start, but I just seem to pick up positions to
cover on films when it's needed. I guess it helps when you have a solid
background in various martial arts, I have studied various forms of martial arts from the age of 6 years old and itís my other passion. I
have trained on a variety of weapons and arms, I also took bodyguard
courses. I used to teach martial arts back then and I was head of security
and a bodyguard team for key political figures. But of course I gave them
up to put my full focus into my film career which I love the most and use
my expertise and knowledge from the many years of training and experience
for the benefit of the films I work on when Iím asked to do so.
would you describe yourself as an actor?
A constant and never
ending improving versatile actor, who seeks more knowledge, learning new
skills, researching to perfect myself and having a deep understanding and
meaning to each of the characters I portray.
actors such as Humphrey Bogart, Gregory Peck, James Cagney, James Stewart,
Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, Gene Kelly, Bruce Lee, Clint
Eastwood, Michael J. Fox and Joe Pesci for their unique performances on
Your favourite movies?
I have too many to name here, Iíll give you few
titles of my list of favourites: Enter the
Dragon, The Good The Bad &
The Ugly, Back to The Future, Halloween,
Bound by Honour, The Shawshank Redemption, Forrest
Gump, My Cousin Vinny, Casablanca,
at the Gates, The Man from Earth, Taken, Breakfast at Tiffanyís,
Roman Holiday, Amelie, The
Birds, Itís a Wonderful Life, Falling Down, Dial M
for Murder, Donnie Brasco, Howlís Moving
Castle, Angels with Dirty Faces... etc.
and of course, films you really deplore?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
just there !!!
Nope, sorry I donít talk about or mention
anything negative, I have no right to deplore or question other people's
work and creativity, everyone of us have a different opinion of what we
like or donít like, and if we donít have things we donít like, then
we wouldnít have things we love and adore, right?
Facebook, whatever else?
I had a website before, I designed it myself
during my early stage of the career then took it down, as now my CV is available on
IMDb and Spotlight for casting directors and directors to
see. I also have a Facebook page set up to add and communicate with cast
& crew I work with in the film business and of course friends.
Anything else you are dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
I think Iíve jabbered long enough, I donít
want to bore people any longer than Iíve already done ;) - but I like to
say a big THANK YOU for all my friends out there who have supported me and
followed my career and journey so far and I hope I can continue to do so,
I also like to THANK all the wonderful casts and crews who Iíve worked
with over the years, and the good advices and the positive words from some
of my humble friends in the business such as: Matt Damon, Pierce Brosnan,
Jeff Goldblum & Phil Charette.
THANK YOU, the pleasure was mine.