HBO’s Newsroom to feature Arab Actor playing reporter covering Arab Spring

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HBO’s Newsroom to feature Arab Actor playing reporter covering Arab Spring

FROM THE ARAB SPRING TO THE SORKIN SUMMER Sorkin writes Hollywood’s first portrayal of the Arab Spring on HBO’s The Newsroom
(Los Angeles, June 11, 2012) Last year’s revolution in Egypt inspired people across the world — including the mind of Oscar-winning writer Aaron Sorkin.  His highly anticipated new show, The Newsroom (premiering June 24 on HBO) will include Hollywood’s first depiction of the Arab Spring.
The mid-season plot will follow the revolution with the help of real life Egyptian-American actor Amin El Gamal, a rising star who guests on the show.  El Gamal plays an amateur reporter that wins the hearts of the newsroom staff (played by Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, and Dev Patel) and becomes their rogue correspondent.
“The revolution had a profound effect on my family and me.” El Gamal said.  “And I was thrilled to play an Arab man who’s not associated with violence and hate.  I felt a responsibility to properly represent the incredible people who finally got a voice during those 18 days in Tahrir Square.”
That responsibility lead El Gamal to collaborate with Sorkin on some of the character details.
“My character originally had a Swahili name, which didn’t make much sense for an Egyptian.” El Gamal said.  “I was terrified to bring it up — Aaron Sorkin being as brilliant as he is — but I felt I owed it to the brave Egyptians whose story we were telling.”
Sorkin was open to the change and asked El Gamal to email him a list of common Egyptian names.  Just two days before shooting, El Gamal was Fed-Exed new pages with a new, more accurate name.
“I hope my episode reaches some brown kid with a similarly weird name, who’s struggling with his or her identity, like I was.”  El Gamal said. “And I hope it empowers him or her to be the best they can be.”
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Amin El Gamal is an actor who was born (during an earthquake) and raised in Palo Alto, CA.  Amin is a first generation Egyptian-American (his last name means “The Camel” in Arabic) and a graduate of Stanford University.  Within months of completing USC’s MFA in Acting program, he caught Aaron Sorkin’s eye and landed a guest role on HBO’s The Newsroom in an episode named after his character (airing July 22).  Amin can also be seen in the upcoming films Take Down the House and Indefinitely, and on stages across the country including the NY Public Theater, Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Magic Theatre, and A Noise Within.
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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

RAY HANANIA — Columnist

Ray Hanania is an award winning political columnist and author. He covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at TheArabDailyNews.com, TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com

Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com ArabNews.com/taxonomy/term/10906
Ray Hanania