|Birth Day:||November 2, 1966|
|Birth Place:||Cairo, Egypt|
Egyptian actor who has risen to fame for his work in Egyptian and English-speaking TV and film, including on the FX drama Tyrant. Kal Naga earned massive critical acclaim for his turn in the 2013 Egyptian drama film Villa 69, for which he won the HORUS Award for best actor.
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Kal Naga studied theatre at the American University in Cairo. Kal Naga moved to the US in 1997 to further study film.
Naga's acting career began in 1977 when he was still a child with a part in Egyptian film Madness of Love (Arabic: جنون الحب) (aka: Genoun El Hob) (aka: La Folie De L'amore). Since then he has appeared in a variety of films including psychological thrillers, romances and musical comedies.
Naga's theatre work started in 1989 with his university plays at The Department of Theatre, Drama and Music of the American university in Cairo, his work as a theatrical actor included a variety of roles; in some instances like Mahfouz-yat (1990) and Two Underground (1994) he has played more than one role in a single production, in the production of Lionel Bart's musical Oliver!, he played Bill Sikes as well as worked as an Assistant Director to Walter Eyesslinck, He collected few awards as an actor and director of varsity plays.
He joined the theatre department at The American University in Cairo, where he had the opportunity to discover his acting talent in the University's drama productions. In 1997 he left to the United States for more independent studies of his passion, filmmaking. There he studied film acting, cinematography and directing. He cited his acting teacher Dr Mahmoud Al Lozy as his mentor who has influenced him the most.
The first phase of Naga's acting career (1989–2002) was largely on stage (in the theatre), although he began hosting TV talk shows in 1998, which contributed to his popularity as a media personality in Egypt and Arabic speaking states. His television and film work has included a variety of different genres. After co-producing and acting in 2009 independent film Heliopolis by first time director Ahmad Abdalla, he starred in a second film Microphone which he also co-produced with Mohamed Hefzy in 2010. From 2010 onwards Abol Naga mostly played the lead of much more diverse and complex roles, continued to win numerous awards as an actor and as a producer from regional and international prestigious film festivals. appointed as a jury member and sometimes jury head of regional and international film festivals. he is considered one of the top actors in the world today out of the Arab region.
As a TV host, Abol Naga from 1999, was offered several opportunities to host different television programs at the variety channel of the Nile TV Network of ERTU. In 2000 he was awarded Best New TV Announcer (Egypt). He was later chosen to host the popular Good Morning Egypt TV show of ERTU, which he presented until 2001. He hosted a popular live talk show Eshar Ma'ana (translates: Spend the night with us). After leaving Nile Variety channel in 2000, he hosted Muzikana TV show about the Arab music top charts for MBC TV which brought him recognition across Arabic speaking states.
In 2001 his film career gained momentum when he was chosen by director Daoud Abdel Sayed for the lead in A Citizen, An Informant And A Thief (Mowaten we Mokhber we Haramy) (Arabic: مواطن و مخبر و حرامي). In 2002 he demonstrated his talent for singing in the musical comedy Wust El-Balad ("Downtown"). He was then offered a part in "Sleepless Nights" (aka: "Sahar El Layali") which became a box office hit in 2003–2004. Later in the same year Abol Naga was awarded Best Actor at the Damascus International Film Festival and the Best Actor Award from the Paris Arab Cinema Biennale of the Institute du Monde Arabe IMA Film Festival.
As an actor on TV, he first appeared and attracted attention to his talent in his award-winning (Seif el Daly), a male lead role in the Egyptian TV mini-series El Banat in 2003, then after his cinematic box office hit Sahar El-Layaly as the lead (Omar) in Leila's Mad Man, aka: Magnoon Laila (Arabic: مجنون ليلي), a very successful TV mini-series in 2007 broadcast all over the Arab region and won him several awards later.
As an actor, Naga has performed in several ERTU radio productions (Ramadan seasons) as a voice actor. In 2003 he played a main role among an all star cast as Sherif in Ahlam El Sabaya (translates: The Girl's Dreams) directed by Hosny Ghoneim. The following year he performed in the romantic comedy radio drama Back to Love (directed by Hessein Ibrahim) (2004) as the lead Tarek.
After "Sleepless Nights" aka: Sahar El Layali, Abol Naga acted in more films in a short period of time. In 2004 he played naval officer Lt Hasan Hosny in Yom El Karama (Dignity Day), followed by his character Kimo in a popular romantic comedy Hob El Banat (Girl's Love). In 2005–2006 he appeared in several more films: Harb Italia (Italian War), Malek wa Ketaba (Heads and Tails), and the romantic comedy Banat West El Balad (Downtown Girls).
In 2005 Naga joined the Make Poverty History campaign.
He is a strong supporter (and directed the 2010 filmed version) of the play: The BuSSy monologues, It originated as a student story telling play in 2005. It was inspired by Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues. The play was constructed of hundreds of acts based on real letters of true but taboo stories of young women and men from Egypt. It culminated in a show in 2010 that covered controversial gender topics affecting youth in Egypt and was struggling to find any theatre in Cairo to accept its production, hence the idea of filming it to document the play in a filmed version. Abol Naga directed and produced with others a filmed version in 2010 after being invited by the students to watch it in the parking lot of the Cairo Opera house!.
In 2006 he appeared as the lead in Leabet el hob (The Game of Love) – for which he received Best Actor at the Alexandra International Film Festival. He also appeared in Tamer El-Bustani's independent short film: Qutat Baladi (Stray Cats). In the same year he was introduced to English speaking audiences in the role of Gabe Hassan in the American/Canadian production Civic Duty, It premiered at Tribecca film Festival in New york, and nominated at the Cairo International Film Festival 2007, his performance created a lot of attention to his talent and since then was often described by media as the next Omar Sharif.
As a presenter, Abol Naga created and hosted BBCe!, a weekly bilingual radio program in Arabic and English. This is a co-production with the BBC World Service and airs on several ERTU radio stations within Egypt. BBCe was short listed for the BBC World Service Innovation Award in January 2007.
He was appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2007. On April 21, 2008 the UNICEF partnership was renewed. Throughout his involvement, Abol Naga has addressed several taboo issues affecting children in Egypt, including HIV/AIDS, female genital mutilation (FGM), children's rights, street children, and adolescents’ development.
In a review of In the Heliopolis Flat, Mohamed El-Assyouti of Al-Ahram Weekly noted a tendency for Abol Naga "to have been type-cast as the middle-class romantic star co-lead in almost all his films this year". His subsequent portrayal of Farid in the crime mystery Kashf Hesab gained him more positive critical attention. In the same year, Abol Naga played the lead Ez in the action/thriller/drama Agamista. In 2008 he portrayed Ramez in the comedy Habibi Naeman. In 2009 he appeared as a lead Cherif in One-Zero and then produced and appeared as the lead in first time director Ahmad Abdalla's Heliopolis as Ibrahim. In 2010 he continued the working relationship by starring in and co-producing Abdalla's second film: Microphone. Originally due for mainstream release in Cairo on January 26, 2011, the film was re-released after the protests in Tahrir Square and won numerous awards and gained a regional and worldwide acclaim.
In 2009 he celebrated Egypt's Orphan's Day (April 3) with children participating in Doodle4Google, an art event that encouraged orphaned children to create variants of the Google logo to reflect their Egyptian identity at the German University in Cairo.
In an interview in 2010 Abol Naga said "From the industry side, my biggest challenge is to find original roles".
In 2010 he became involved as filming director of the student play production of The BuSSy monologues – "True stories about young men and women in Egypt".
In 2010 he supported Crisis Action's Sudan365 campaign which was launched in January that year to promote peace in Sudan at its Cairo event.
At a special launch of The State of the World's Children by UNICEF Egypt in April 2010, Abol Naga identified his priorities as: "an Egypt free of female genital mutilation, an Egypt where clean water and proper sewage systems were available nationwide, an Egypt where there was equality between all children, regardless of their religion or gender, and an Egypt where there was equality in education and where children were protected from the effects of climate change."
In late January 2011, he participated in the Egyptian Revolution in Tahrir Square, having been a signatory to Mohamed ElBaradei's manifesto for political reform, Together for Change on March 28, 2010 with other film makers and directors. While in Tahrir, he took live footage, photographs and recorded audio casts which were later uploaded to the internet. He was interviewed several times in English, once by Ayman Mohyeldin of Al Jazeera, and several times by the BBC regarding the protests. Al-Ahram Weekly later reported that he was involved in an altercation with plain clothes police in which he was assaulted and then deleted the news! He reported that he has an ongoing lifetime project working on collating his footage and photographs of the uprising in Tahrir Square 2011, documenting the massive protests against president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in November 2012, the military coup in 2013 and ongoing.
Naga was born in Heliopolis, a cosmopolitan neighborhood of Cairo, Egypt. His father, the late Egyptian army major General Mohamed-Sami Aboul-Naga (Arabic: اللواء أ.ح / محمد-سامي السيد أبو النجا), came from a traditional family of major land owners in ad-Daqahliyah, Aga, Egypt that was mostly confiscated during the Nasser revolution of 1952 and its Land reform in Egypt. His mother revealed in 2013 that he is a descendant of the Islamic prophet Muhammad through Fatima Az-Zahraa and Imam Husayn ibn Ali son of Ali ibn Abi Talib. He is the younger brother of American-based Egyptian architect Tarek Naga, and architect Seif Abol Naga, who appeared in the classic film Empire M.
In September 2013, in a unique stage play reading in Arabic; Cancelled, Khaled Abol Naga seamlessly takes on the lead role of Hassan, the director, and does a perfect and utterly hilarious impersonation of the talented, kind hearted and easily irritated director-professor who loves his students, but constantly criticizes them and the entire generation to which they belong, In this rough form of a play Abol Naga's theatrical capabilities shined.
In September 2015, a unique musical opened at The Royal Cultural Centre of Amman, Jordan, He directed the first ever Arabic transportation of the acclaimed West End musical Oliver! by Lionel Bart. His unique and original adaptation swaps Dickensian London to a contemporary Arab city (Amman in the Jordan production). He created together with the well known Disney writer Zeinab Mobarak an adaptation that smartly kept the original Charles Dickens spirit and transported all the original songs and lyrics to the contemporary Arab culture. Maestro Nayer Nagui conducted the orchestra and coached the children singing marathon lessons which was held in Jordan mostly with Syrian refugee children.
In 2016, he focused on the English speaking markets as he appeared in an American Fox TV production (Tyrant season 3) in a main role of an Islamic cleric sheik Al-Qadi – (a recurring guest star in 10/10 episodes), then he had a celebrated guest-star appearance as the Emir of Kairouan: Ziyadat-Allah – (a guest star role in 2 episodes) on the History channel hit TV show Vikings (season 5) airing in Canada in 2017, as well as a BBC TV mini-series in a guest recurring role, The Informant – (in 6/6 episodes) of The Last Post (TV mini-series). He is announced to appear on Messiah, a new Netflix episodic TV series in 2020.
Currently, Kal Naga is 54 years, 8 months and 23 days old. Kal Naga will celebrate 55th birthday on a Tuesday 2nd of November 2021.
Find out about Kal Naga birthday activities in timeline view here.