Marwan Kenzari: the Hague Schilderswijk to Hollywood

Few Dutch actors make the transition to the US Marwan Kenzari succeeded. From today he is featured in “The Old Guard” on Netflix. His role is a first in the action genre.

Marwan Kenzari sat recent months in lockdown in his hometown of Amsterdam, and stared in amazement at the world trying to dealing with the virus. “I’ve been thinking with admiration about the hardworking people in occupations that are important,” he says. “And I tried to accept that there are simply things that we can not control.”

Kenzari (37) sits at home and talking via a video link, a subdued appearance in a white shirt in front of a white wall. Film Projects which he would have shifted work, he reports. Including the long-awaited Dutch war drama ‘The East’, started a film about the Indonesian war of independence which the shooting last year in Java and in which he plays one of the lead roles. “I talked to the director, Jim Taihattu, and the desire is great for the whole team to finish the film and to show the public. Or that this year is going to happen, I really would not dare say. ”

A little luck shooting for “The Old Guard”, created on location in England and Morocco, but were on time. In the entertaining American action is Kenzari member of a group of immortal warriors who hunts in secret by terrorists and other scum. Included in the group by a mala fide pharmaceutical (which is on the onsterfelijkheidsgen) comes into a corner.

The action is a model of inclusiveness, at the helm a female director (Gina Prince-Bythewood) and a female protagonist (Charlize Theron). The latter is in charge of three male warriors, including Kenzari. The young African-American woman that complements the company is Kiki Layne who previously made an impression in the James Baldwin filming ‘If Beale Street Could Talk. ” But what makes the film truly inclusive, and unique in the action genre, the love affair between two male fighters: Kenzari and Luca Marinelli.

“Yes, I was there when playing well aware that I had not seen before: two men who love each other have an action film,” says Kenzari, recently with his girlfriend, supermodel Nora Ponse, the Dutch cover Vogue graced.

“Of course there are lots of lovely inspirational films in which men show an inner world and relate to the outside world. ‘Brokeback Mountain’ is a good example, and more recently “Call Me By Your Name.” I also remember “Philadelphia” with Tom Hanks as a gay lawyer. ”

“But the US action genre, in which bones are broken and scimitars and axes fly you to the ears, such as The Old Guard, I have never before seen men kissing. That I spend most of my easy, perhaps because of my time at Amsterdam Theater Group. From 2008 to 2012 I was part of the regular players ensemble. In plays by Ivo van Hove I’m in a fantastic way come into contact with man-manrelaties. ”

Marwan Kenzari seems easy to navigate between different cultures. He grew up in the Hague Schilderswijk in a Tunisian family. His father was a construction worker, his mother a housewife. On his twenty-fifth, fresh from the Maastricht Theater School, he went to work at Theater Group Amsterdam. Then led his path to Hollywood: he played with Christian Bale in “The Promise” and Tom Cruise in ‘The Mummy’. Last year he took office as the Disneyhit Jafar in “Aladdin.” He was also seen with Carice van Houten in “Instinct,” the directorial debut of Halina Reijn, his former colleague at Amsterdam Theater Group.

The Schilderswijk to Maastricht, Amsterdam to Hollywood: the look big steps. Could it perhaps easier to convert because he grew up between two cultures?

Kenzari: “I do not know. But I’ve always moved with great pleasure and pride in those different worlds: the Tunisian culture of my parents and the Dutch culture in which I was born and raised. The specific colors of Tunisia have always filled me with love, but the same applies to the Dutch dune landscapes. Certainly I have always had a lot of interest for languages ​​and cultures. What I always liked’ve found is to look at people and listen. It does not matter if it is a shepherd or a hunter, a filmmaker or a paver. I’m curious about what determines a person’s character, and I want to learn something from it. ”

He Theater has entered the international film circuit, according Kenzari been a smooth development. “It is not necessarily separated for me circuits. The world of Disney and Netflix is ​​also a very intelligent world in which people with a lot of expertise and passion to work. It is very inspiring to work with people like Tom Cruise, Christian Bale and Charlize Theron; to have his actors with such experience, all in a film set in his sights. “

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