A day prior to the release of his latest movie Lust For Love in the US and Canada, NOW interviewed French-Lebanese actor Karim Saleh, one of the Middle East’s rising stars in Hollywood and abroad.
Talent is not Saleh’s only trait. His friendliness and humility render him very approachable, something that was easily spotted during the 20-minute interview we had.
The charming celebrity has participated in drama, comedy, action, thriller and history movies, but told NOW that he particularly enjoys acting in comedy features and would like to film more of this genre.
He is currently residing in Los Angeles, California because he finds this location “practical.” But he admitted that he would rather live in Paris, the capital of the country he was born in on March 7, 1978.
The talented actor of Lebanese origin also told NOW that he has no plans to return to Lebanon anytime soon.
When we asked him about the director he has enjoyed working with the most, Saleh said that English Antonia Bird was his favorite, because she “taught him to be free within structure.” She directed the 2004 small-screen drama The Hamburg Cell in which Saleh starred as Ziad Jarrah, one of the men suspected of perpetrating the 9/11 attacks.
He also avidly expressed his wish to work with any director of the Anderson family, in reference to American filmmakers Paul Thomas Anderson and Wes Anderson.
Fluent in three tongues, Karim Saleh has participated in Arabic-language films, such as Hotel Beirut, and French-language movies, including Permis d’aimer and 3 Petites Filles, in addition to roles in numerous English-language features.
Saleh is best known for his participation in the 2010 blockbuster Iron Man 2, his 2005 role as Saracen Messenger in Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven about the 12th century crusaders, and the drama thriller Munich, released in the same year, in which he worked with one of the most influential directors in the history of film and three-time Oscar-winner Steven Spielberg.
He has also starred in the 2012 polemic drama The Attack–based on Yasmina Khadra’s best-selling book holding the same title–which tells the story of an Arab surgeon living in Tel Aviv, who discovers a dark secret about his wife after she carries out a suicide bombing.
The film was banned in Lebanon because Lebanese-born cinematographer and director Ziad Doueiri shot a number of scenes in Israel. The movie caused a controversy and put the actor under the spotlight.
In 2013, Saleh was the protagonist of 45 Minutes to Ramallah, a comedy about two Palestinian brothers who smuggle the dead body of their father from Jerusalem to Ramallah with the Israeli Police, a bunch of terrorists and the Russian Mafia on their tail. However, the film was shot in Jordan, as Saleh told NOW.
The French-Lebanese star’s latest movie, the rom-com Lust for Love, premiered in the US on February 1. He plays Franck, a “tempestuous naughty French lover who can’t really be trusted,” as he described his character in an interview with Whedonopolis during the movie’s premiere.
Saleh mentioned that there is a very highly-charged sex scene in a bathroom cubical, which might be censored in Lebanon as has happened with a number of other movies.
There is no set release date for Lust for Love in Lebanon, therefore we will have to wait to see whether the film will be screened uncut.