Alexander Sidding; Sudan’s Export to Hollywood

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Sudan; can anything good come out of Sudan, but wars, strife and rumours of wars?

Well, yes indeed!

Alek Wek and our African Star of the day, Alexander Sidding are right of Sudan!

Born Siddig El Tahir El Fadil El Siddig Abderrahman Mohammed Ahmed Abdel Karim El Mahdi on 21 November, 1965 to a Sudanese father and a British Mother, Siddig studied Anthropology at the University College, Ramsgate, Kent before following his heart and intense desire to be a Director to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.

Credit: startrek.com
Credit: startrek.com

[So go on, take a good long look…for Hollywood movie aficionados, I daresay he looks familiar…yes?]

The accomplished actor worked the small circuit after graduating, starring in stage plays, performing in pubs and directing low cost dramas at a local theatre. This was a time of intense financial struggle for Siddig who describes it thus,

It was quite a big struggle because for a year and a half, which is the time I spent directing immediately after I left acting school, you just have no money so you’re just living on welfare and you’re trying to make it. . .”[www.imdb.com]

[Have you given up, or guessed his most famous role on TV?]

A goldfish has no hiding place right? Siddig soon made his film debut as Prince Feisal in ‘A Dangerous Man: Lawrence After Arabia, the 1990 TV sequel to Lawrence of Arabia. His performance in that movie brought him to the attention of Rick Berman, creator of the famed ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’ series.

He must have left the auditions more than a decade ago with a huge smile; he had landed a huge role which had to be modified just to suit him! How good was he? Thus Dr. Julian Bashir of the television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was born, and he had a successful jaunt for seven seasons.

Credit: scifibulletin.com
Credit: scifibulletin.com

His sundry film roles have often called for him to act out diverse accents: a southern English accent (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), an English Cockney accent (Reign of Fire), an Algerian accent (Spooks), and performances in Arabic as the role required. Talk about talent!

In 1995, Siddig changed his stage name to Alexander to make it easier on the tongue of his English-speaking colleagues.

His career highlights include guest-starring as an Algerian secret agent on the trail of Islamic extremists in the controversial episode “Nest of Angels” of the British television show Spooks (known as MI-5 in the US) in 2003. In 2005, he appeared as Saladin’s aide, Imad, in Ridley Scott’s film Kingdom of Heaven. He gave a critically lauded performance as Prince Nasir in Syriana, alongside George Clooney and Matt Damon. He played the title role in 2006’s Hannibal – Rome’s Worst Nightmare for the BBC (UK).

In 2007, Siddig joined the cast of Un Homme Perdu (aka A Lost Man) and he returned to American television in the role of former terrorist Hamri Al-Assad for the sixth season of the never-ending hit TVseries, 24. In 2009, he co-starred with Patricia Clarkson in the award-winning film ‘Cairo Time’ (2009) as Tareq Khalifa, an Egyptian who battles his attraction to his friend’s wife.

Obviously suffering from stereotypical roles, his role in ‘Cairo time’ must have been a breath of fresh air which he described as, “A real treasure, a treat, to find a character, a role, that wasn’t intent on trying to blow up the White House or hijack an airplane.” Hilarious! He should ask Nigeria’s John Okafor aka Mr Ibu about being stereotyped!

Credit: cbc.ca
Credit: cbc.ca

His extensive filmography includes:

2000-Vertical Limit, 2002-Reign of Fire, 2005-Kingdom of Heaven and Syriana, 2007-The Nativity Story and The Last Legion, 2008-Un Homme Perdu, Doomsday and Espion(s), 2009-Cairo Time, 2010-Miral, 4.3.2.1 and Clash of the Titans, 2012-Inescapable        and 2013-The Fifth Estate.

His television appearances in series et al are quite extensive.

So, can anything good come out of Sudan? You tell me! I do hope Siddig brings his experience and fame to bear in his ancestral home as soon as possible!

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