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Egyptian actor is audience favorite

China Daily | Updated: 2023-01-16 09:28

TIANJIN — Amro Zaghloul, a 34-year-old Egyptian actor, has gained 600,000 followers on his social media account in China after a film, in which he portrays a villain, became one of the top-grossing films screened in the country in 2022.

The Chinese patriotic action film Home Coming was rated as the fifth top earner in China's 2022 box office, grossing nearly 1.6 billion yuan ($236 million).

In the film, based on a story of the evacuation of Chinese nationals from a war-torn nation, Zaghloul played the character Saleh, a villain in the local armed forces.

"Some movie viewers even got 'angry' when discussing the character and the plot in the comments on my social media account, which I took as the audience's acknowledgment of my acting," Zaghloul says.

Living in China for more than 10 years, Zaghloul regards the country as his second home. He has also gotten used to sharing his views and experiences in acting and daily life with his followers.

"In 2011, I came to China for travel and planned to stay for one month, but it lasted for over 10 years," he recalls.

That year, Zaghloul and his friends met an enthusiastic Chinese teacher who recommended they study the Chinese language. Zaghloul then succeeded in applying for graduate study in Chinese language and literature at Zhejiang Normal University in East China's Zhejiang province.

The school is near the world's largest outdoor studio, Hengdian World Studios, known as "China's Hollywood".

Zaghloul says he has dreamed of becoming an actor since childhood, so he decided to try some auditions at the studio while pursuing his master's degree.

He has been registered among more than 100,000 extras in Hengdian World Studios, where dozens, or even hundreds, of film projects happen simultaneously.

Before the blockbuster film, Zaghloul had accumulated experience and improved his acting skills through many auditions for Chinese films and TV dramas for five years.

"As a foreign actor here, I need to practice acting skills and learn Chinese well. Many production teams recruit quickly, and you have to grab the opportunities fast or miss them," he says.

On his social media account, Zaghloul shared Home Coming director Rao Xiaozhi's affirmation of his acting and the latter's willingness for future collaboration. He says that Chinese social media helped him become popular. He wishes to use his influence to do something meaningful. In 2020, he initiated a program to match Chinese volunteers with foreigners via his social media account to "help 1,000 foreigners learn Chinese".

"Having been in China for so long, I have felt the warmth of the Chinese people and wishes to spread the culture by teaching the language to foreign newcomers," he says.

Once they can master the Chinese language, they can seize many opportunities and start a new life in China, he says.




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