Palestinian actor Ali Suleiman on starring in The Worthy

After working with Emirati director Ali Mostafa, Suleiman speaks to EDGAR about his latest role.

Robert Chilton December 8, 2016

Palestinian actor Ali Suleiman stars in dystopian thriller The Worthy from Emirati director Ali Mostafa, which is showing at the Dubai International Film Festival this weekend.

EDGAR spoke to Suleiman, previously seen in Body of Lies with Leonardo DiCaprio and Lone Survivor with Mark Wahlberg, about movies and memories. 

Do you watch movies all the time?

Not all the time, no. It’s hard to find the time when I’m working. But I need to watch movies, it really helps me as an actor of course – it gives me inspiration, encouragement and new ideas. 

Favourite actor?

Daniel Day-Lewis is amazing. He disappears for a few years and then returns as a totally different character and wins an Oscar. I like all his movies and all his characters. I want to be like him one day. 

Favourite actress?

I love Meryl Streep so much. With her characters, less is more.

Movie you loved as a kid?

The Champ. Oh my goodness. It’s a lot of melodrama but we cried our souls out at that movie.

Scariest movie

No, I don’t like them, I don’t watch them. I hate being scared. Silence of the Lambs is about my limit. Takes you to a different level of mental psychology. 

Movie that made you cry?

The 2002 documentary Jenin, Jenin by director Mohammed Bakri. It’s about a massacre in a refugee camp and the destruction is unbelievable. That film kills me. I used to cry a lot more at movies but now I watch movies and think about the shots and how they made it because it’s my job. Lately I haven’t cried at many movies, which is a shame.  

Favourite documentary?

Most of the documentaries I watch come from the Arab World. They talk about our lives and I think it’s important to see them. I really liked the Palestinian documentary 18 Cows. The cows are animated and speak English – it’s really wonderful. It’s a different kind of documentary and won a prize at the last edition of Abu Dhabi Film Festival.

ali suliman diff body of lies.jpg Suleiman in Body of Lies.

Favourite sports movie?

Friday Night Lights. I worked with the director Peter Berg on The Kingdom. I also loved Ali starring Will Smith. The scenes when he goes to Africa are fantastic. Will Smith deserved the Oscar for that performance. 

Favourite animated movie?

I’m a father and so I follow all these movies now. I know all the Disney princesses: Rapunzel, Elsa… yes, I know Frozen and all the songs! They’re really great.

Film you can watch again and again?

Once Upon a Time in America and The Godfather part one. Robert De Niro pulls me in every time. 

The Worthy is showing at DIFF on December 9 and 12. Suleiman is a judge on the IWC jury panel that will award a $100,000 prize to young filmmakers.