by Farah Hashem
From her school's theatre at the age of ten and as a student at the National Centre for Culture & Arts, Rakeen started her journey in theatrical acting to become now a star in theatres, TV and cinema… Rakeen Saad is a Jordanian actress who has done a lot of work and achievements in several series and global awards winning movies.
Her first appearance on TV was in the series "Jerusalem Gate" after she was nominated by the producer Albert Haddad, and from there she went on to form connections in the artistic community. Rakeen later continued pursuing her career in acting by participating in movies, some of which are "3000 Nights" and "The Worthy", in addition to many significant roles in series like "Sunset Oasis", "Paved Roads" and "Samarqand". And her last role in "Family Size" which she acted in next to big stars like Yehia El-Fakharany and Mervat Amin.
Now on to the interview about her artistic journey
The roles we saw you in so far have been very different from each other. What is the drive behind this unique variation?
I find great pleasure in taking very different roles, a different environment, language and country, I really enjoy searching after these various characters and impersonating them. It's definitely not an easy thing to do and it takes a lot of effort and a deep research, for example, I obviously had to learn the Bedouin language and the Berbers language (Tamazight) in the "Sunset Oasis" series, I also had to master the Egyptian accent for my role in "Family Size", but of course doing these parts is much more than just learning the language, it's a whole different culture and spirit than I need to adopt and this is where I find my joy.
Apart from languages, I also find it a lot of fun to gain new skills like horse riding and playing the Oud in "Samarqand" or making sculptures of clay in my role in "Sunset Oasis" series for example, which by the way was a big challenge for me as I only had six months to prepare for the whole series and to build the character of "Malika" who speaks some Berbers language and makes sculptures.
What did acting add to your personality?
What's beautiful about this job is what it actually takes to be in character, as it is not solely an impersonation of it, or just memorizing a few lines.. it really takes becoming one with the role the character is playing, throughout the whole preparation and acting period, I try to come as close as I can to the character, so I can become it and it becomes me, I go into a deep search and learn about it and its life , I would think and act in character all day in and out of work, exactly like someone getting addicted to reading a novel, to the point where it becomes part of him, and takes every opportunity to go back to it and read through it again until he also becomes part of it. I like to dig deep into it and learn all I can about its culture and the country, city or area it came from, I would examine its feelings and reactions and integrate it in myself, so as once the shooting day arrives, my acting is nothing less than my natural self without thinking or improvisation. And of course all this does more than just adding to my experience or career as an actress, it also adds to my personal life and my general knowledge.
What do you think of your last role as “Amira” in “Family Size?”
I love it!! It's completely different, this has been my first time delivering an Egyptian role in a modern style through this kind of "light" series, the character is really different as "Amira" is a mother and a very tired mother, in a constant state of distress , she lives surrounded by people who make her feel different.
I usually take parts that are younger than my actual age, this is the first time I act in my own age, "Amira" is a 27 year old mother with a five year old kid. She's a bank employee and she's responsible for financing her family and doing both the mother's and father's job to an extent. She's also very different from her husband's family, which makes it hard for them to accept her. All what "Amira" desires and wishes for is to live peacefully, she just wants to eat and sleep. Which is the funny part in her character, but it also serves to show how exhausted and drained she really is, as she barely finds the time to sleep and live, just like most working mothers, or like most working Arab women who look after their households and kids all the while taking care of their husbands and their husband's family.
How did you find your experience acting in Egypt with Egyptian artists?
Egyptians are known to be masters of comedy and of "light" series, this formed a big challenge for me, as I had to perfect the role of "Amira" and to really do this Egyptian character its due without appearing in a way that's not authentic or credible.
How were you nominated for this role?
I was contacted by the Egyptian film director, Hala Khalil, she sent me the script and I read it and immediately fell in love with Amira's character, as she is crazy and easily irritated, but I was also scared of doing her part, I feared not delivering it the way viewers would want and expect.
I later shared my fear with the director who comforted me. I also later got very excited to work with the doctor and incredible artist Yehia El- Fakharany, and the briliant actress Mervat Amin, as they are a huge inspiration for me and I was really grateful to have had the opportunity to work next to them, all these aspects made me take on the role with a big heart.
What roles does Rakeen reject?
I like to vary the roles that I take and I don't like to follow one type, or to do similar acting roles to the one I've done before. When I accept a new part, I have to really love and highly empathize with the character so I can do it properly, I also love purposeful roles, this is why the offers I have rejected were mostly because I did not like the script or the message behind it, what’s really important for me is connecting with the character and for me to love it first.
What are you aspirations in acting?
There are two movies which I've done that have reached festivals and have won awards. I would love it if I got to do more parts in cinematic works, or to act globally of course. I really don't know… only the sky is the limit.