Sid is featured in this weekend’s edition of The New York Times, as part of a feature about summer movies. Here’s what writer Karen Durbin had to say:
The Sudanese-born Alexander Siddig is a successful British stage actor, and Trekkies know him for his seven-year role in the 1990s as Dr. Julian Bashir in “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.” But American filmgoers have had to make do with tantalizing glimpses of him in undersize parts, most notably his striking performance as the idealistic Arab prince in “Syriana.” Now his leading role opposite another uncommonly talented actor, Patricia Clarkson, in Ruba Nadda’s understated love story, “Cairo Time” (Aug. 6), may help to change that. He has also signed on to play the lead in Ms. Nadda’s next film, a thriller.
Mr. Siddig can bring even the smallest roles to complicated life, but “Cairo Time” gives his talent and sexual charisma the room they deserve. Ms. Clarkson’s character, Juliette, has come to Cairo to enjoy a holiday with her husband, Mark (Tom McCamus), a United Nations official who is temporarily stranded by a political crisis in Gaza and has arranged for a friend and former colleague, Mr. Siddig’s Tareq, to look after her. As the crisis stretches on, Tareq and Juliette find themselves caught in the eddies of an unexpectedly deep attraction.
Tall, boyishly slim and blessed with extraordinarily beautiful eyes, Mr. Siddig has a subtle physical expressiveness that makes him perfectly suited to a story in which what doesn’t happen is even more dramatic than what does. Tareq is a gracious host, so his querulous reaction to Juliette’s presumptuous but well-intentioned take on Cairene poverty is jarring. But when she’s not looking at him, he studies her with a mix of hunger and distress, and you realize that his outburst is an attempt to erect barriers. They fall, of course, with a reluctance that makes his desire all the more moving for being tinged with sadness as well as joy.
A beautiful feature, in a prestigious publication. Bravo! Several other New Yorkers are quite taken with Sid as well. Here are some more reviews of Cairo Time (and Sid) after it screened at the Tribeca Film Festival:
At the Tribeca Film Festival opening of ‘Cairo Time’ I caught up with stars Patricia Clarkson and Alexander Siddig, as well as the film’s writer and director Ruba Nadda. Indeed when Nadda gushed “I was so lucky to get this man!” about Siddig, she wasn’t kidding. As much as you may have admired him in movies and on TV, in person he is even more charismatic, graceful and kind. His sparkling eyes – yes, they actually do glisten when he speaks – put me immediately at ease while I interviewed him. I told him that every woman in the screening room at Tribeca had fallen in love with his Tareq, who has now become our idea of the quintessential romantic hero, and asked him how he played that as an actor. He humbly answered “you are way too kind! I don’t think that’s the case, but thank you for the compliment” and continued “I prepared by simply looking into her eyes” while pointing to his co-star Clarkson. About what’s next, he disclosed “I’ll be in Ruba’s [Nadda] next film. I don’t mean this to sound condescending, but for such a young woman she is phenomenally talented!” And he’ll be doing TV in the UK.
Alexander Siddig (Prince Nasir in Syriana; Dr. Bashir in Star Trek episodes) plays this character deftly. How did Nadda choose him? “I do my own casting, and I feel the eyes are the most important feature. So I look at a person’s eyes – for something in the eyes. When I see it, I know it. Alexander had that look, so I knew he was the one.” Yes, Siddig’s eyes express empathy for the person he’s engaging.
Siddig (known best for his roles in “Syriana” and the television series “24”) was just happy there was a project for him where he “wasn’t blowing up a plane or holding anyone hostage.”
“Which are the things I usually do,” he laughed. “Or at least it feels this way. People always think I’m a terrorist. I’ve only played a terrorist once in my life but it will haunt me.”