Monday, June 11, 2012

Stanford Grad Wows Aaron Sorkin, Lands Role on 'The Newsroom'

Amin El Gamal--Photo by Daniel Reichert

(Los Angeles, June 11, 2012) Rising star Amin El Gamal (Drama and English, '08) will make his TV debut playing the title character on the fifth episode of Aaron Sorkin's highly anticipated show The Newsroom (premiering June 24 on HBO). El Gamal plays an Egyptian amateur reporter who wins the hearts of the newsroom staff (played by Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, and Dev Patel) and becomes their rogue correspondent during the 2011 Egyptian revolution. The episode also marks the first ever Hollywood portrayal of the Arab Spring.

“As an Egyptian-American, 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 Stanford University (Class of '08). 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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