One on One with Shadi Alfons: Going from ‘A To B’
Rising to fame as one of the most hilarious actors and content producers on Bassem Youssef‘s Al Bernameg show, Shadi Alfons is now starring in new movie A To B. The road trip film will hit Egyptian theatres on Jan. 14, with a premiere on Jan. 10 at the Nile Towers before its release to the public. It will also be shown in Lebanon, Amman, Jordan, UAE, Qatar and Kuwait by the end of this week.
The plot is about three childhood friends (Saudi actor Fahad Al Butarai, Syrian actor Fadi Refaai and the Egyptian Shadi Alfons) who grew apart, but then travel on a road trip from Abu Dhabi to Beirut – hence “A To B” – with some crazy mishaps on the way.
“There are several messages that the movie attempts to relay to its audience, mainly that we, the people of the MENA region, are quite diverse, and that we range from one end of the stereotype to the opposite extreme, and everything that falls in between,” Alfons told us.
“The main characters of the movie are well educated, well-spoken and multilingual and throughout the course of the movie, break a lot of the ‘cultural taboos’ that put us in a backwards mold and stereotype us,” he continued.
“I think the main message would be that we’re all different and because we are, we all deal with cultural norms and codes differently, and that’s okay,” Alfons explained. “We should celebrate our differences and diversity rather than shun/criticize each other for not doing what we’ve done for centuries.”
A To B encountered huge success and positive feedback after its screening at the 11th Dubai International Film Festival and Cairo Film Festival. The film is packed with major celebrity cameos (local and international), including Khaled Abo El Naga, Maha Abu Ouf, Youssra El Lozy and Wonho Chung.
Shadi is very grateful for the opportunity to be part of this movie and is very excited to find out what the reaction of the MENA region’s audiences will be. But for a rising talent like Shadi, there were many challenges along the way in the production of this major regional movie.
“It was a pleasure, a delight and an honor to act in this film,” he told us. “However, it was hard to be away from my family for two straight months while we traveled around the region shooting the movie, especially that at the time, my mother – may she rest in peace – started her battle against cancer and passed away on the day of the world premiere of the movie, which took place in the Abu Dhabi International Film Festival.”
“What was also challenging is that we shot a winter movie in the dead of the Middle East (mostly Gulf) summer!” Alfons continued. “So, when you watch the movie and you see me wearing three or four layers, know that it was plus or minus 50 degrees Celsius and that I was sweating in places I didn’t even know existed! Take that for a mental image!”
Now that the MENA region is booming in terms of art – in all of its forms – with the help of the Internet and social media, audiences are now as aware and up to date when it comes to quality, world-class arts and entertainment as their Western counterparts.
Alfons is thus excited to be starring in a regional movie because it gives him the chance to show audiences that homegrown productions can be as high quality as, if not better than, anywhere else. It’s inspiring to see talents from our generation who are attempting to prove their capabilities and take that extra mile.
“This movie set the bar quite high for my next projects, and I’m only going to want to do bigger and better things in the future, which will not be easy seeing as how well this movie was executed in my eyes,” he explained. “So, in the famous words of one Buzz LightYear: ‘To infinity and beyond, Mofos!’ That’s not how he said it, but that’s how he would’ve if I had written it.”
Watch the trailer for A To B here: