elan magazine has a new interview with Sid, Patricia Clarkson, and Ruba Nadda, discussing the making of Cairo Time and what responsibility Sid and Ruba feel toward filmmaking as “hyphenated Arabs”. Here’s an excerpt:
This past week, elan caught up with filmmaker Ruba Nadda, and ‘Cairo Time’ stars Alexander Siddig and Patricia Clarkson, at a roundtable in NYC. Nadda is stunning, bright and wonderfully insightful to interview, while Siddig is drop-dead charismatic and positively glows in real life. I said it before and will say it again: his eyes actually sparkle while he speaks to you! Clarkson is, of course, the quintessentially glam movie star, beautiful and funny but totally lacking the “Diva” attitude.
Whether the film succeeds in uniting the divide, between East and West and more importantly perhaps, between the sexes, is up to you to decide.
elan: What did you like most about Cairo?
Patricia Clarkson: I think what I always like the best about any place is the people. The Caireens… I loved them. I was the only American, in the cast and crew, everyone else was Canadian or Egyptian and I didn’t know how they would react to me. It was a beautiful experience getting to know the city and the people who live there.
Ruba Nadda: I quite loved that city. There’s something that happens to you when you enter that time zone. It’s such a chaotic city that it forces you to chill out. Your blackberry stops working, your cell phone stops working and nobody cares. Everyone is on this very relaxed state and so the things that annoy you, you end up falling in love with in the end. Hence the title of the film, it’s ‘Cairo Time.’ The thing I most love about Cairo is that I found the people to be so sweet. So generous. You can’t walk down an alleyway without a lovely family living in a dilapidated house with no roof insisting they invite you in because they want to have a conversation with you. There’s something so humane about that city and yet it’s so impossible to shoot in Cairo, I didn’t let on to my producers how difficult it would be. I was scared they would say, “No, forget it!”
Alexander Siddig: I’m quite a romantic, so I’d sit in my hotel room and look out over the Nile and one can tell that the Nile brought with it the stories of central Africa and deposited it in the Mediterranean. Africa has always been such a devastated continent, has so many tragic stories and this river bears witness to that. I read way too much of Keats when I was younger, I’m way too overly romantic. I was moved by the romanticism of the place and the ancientness of the rocks.