One screening of Zeina Durra’s newest romantic drama, “Luxor”, and your heart will be melting for “Birdman’s” Andrea Riseborough and “Transparent’s” Karim Saleh’s on-screen chemistry. A piece of magic the actors say was organically created the day before arriving on set.
“It’s difficult to articulate because the gift was that we have that chemistry, so it would be wrong for us to take all of the acting credit, and things fell quite seamlessly in place that way, but we also have that chemistry because I very much respected the way Karim approached his work and we had a mutual appreciation,” Riseborough told ET Canada.
“I think Andrea just described it perfectly. It was a kind of serendipitous silence understanding,” Saleh added. “I’m sure Andrea has her own process with her work, and I’m sure when she arrived, she must have had all sorts of ideas about what we were about to do and so did I, but I suppose what I experienced is a kind of moment where I had to let go of all my pre-conceived ideas, all my work, and all of my discipline over what it means to shoot a film, and just be transported by this wonderful actor and person that was guiding me on this journey.”
Set and shot in Egypt, “Luxor” tells the story of a British aid worker named Hana (Riseborough) returning to the ancient city of Luxor, where she meets former lover Sultan (Saleh). As she continues to wonder through the spiritual city, she is haunted by the familiar place and struggles to reconcile the choices of the past with the uncertainty of the present.
"I'm often thinking about images that won't leave me alone"
The idea for Luxor came to director Zeina Durra in a dream!
— BFI (@BFI) November 26, 2020
“We literally got there a day or two before shooting, and neither Karim or I have been to Luxor, so I felt very much like through the characters eyes, I had the great privilege to explore it,” Riseborough said. “Luxor is almost a character itself in the film and one of the things that is really, really special is we were able to shoot inside tombs and sites that haven’t been shot inside, and that was just an unreal experience in every way. I mean, professionally, it was fantastic and visually, it’s exquisite, but really it was profoundly moving. Being in these places that are so infused with spirituality, is quite overwhelming.”
“I have great faith in our audience, and I’m excited for them that they’re able to bring their imagination to this film, because that’s certainly what it requires,” she added. “Not everything is laid out for you. You’re allowed to have your own subjective experience with it, and have a personal connection with it in some way.”
“Luxor” will be available on digital and on demand Dec. 4.