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<b>Omar Metwally</b> <i>'Rendition'</i><br>
Oct. 19<br>
<br>
Omar Metwally auditioned for his role in the CIA thriller by taping himself doing the script in his Brooklyn apartment. "I sent the tape, and that's apparently what got me the job."<br>
<br>
As Anwar, an Egyptian-born chemical engineer who lives in Chicago with his pregnant American wife (Reese Witherspoon), their young son and his mother, Metwally gives a heartbreaking performance. On his way home from a business trip, Anwar is arrested at the airport because the CIA believes he is a terrorist involved in a recent bombing in North Africa. After denying any connection, Anwar undergoes a series of torture sessions.<br>
<br>
An actor of Egyptian and Dutch heritage, Metwally was rarely ever cast as an Arab character, but that all changed with Sept. 11. "Since then, the number of [Arab] roles has increased," he says.<br>
<br>
But Metwally, who has appeared in such films as Steven Spielberg's "Munich," doesn't mind playing Arabs as long as they are not stereotypes. "It always comes down to the character," he says. "Is the character interesting and can I bring life to it?"<br>
<br>
He'll soon appear in James Ivory's "City of Your Final Destination," in which he plays an American of Iranian heritage. <i>Susan King</i>

( Ken Hively / LAT )

Omar Metwally 'Rendition'
Oct. 19

Omar Metwally auditioned for his role in the CIA thriller by taping himself doing the script in his Brooklyn apartment. "I sent the tape, and that's apparently what got me the job."

As Anwar, an Egyptian-born chemical engineer who lives in Chicago with his pregnant American wife (Reese Witherspoon), their young son and his mother, Metwally gives a heartbreaking performance. On his way home from a business trip, Anwar is arrested at the airport because the CIA believes he is a terrorist involved in a recent bombing in North Africa. After denying any connection, Anwar undergoes a series of torture sessions.

An actor of Egyptian and Dutch heritage, Metwally was rarely ever cast as an Arab character, but that all changed with Sept. 11. "Since then, the number of [Arab] roles has increased," he says.

But Metwally, who has appeared in such films as Steven Spielberg's "Munich," doesn't mind playing Arabs as long as they are not stereotypes. "It always comes down to the character," he says. "Is the character interesting and can I bring life to it?"

He'll soon appear in James Ivory's "City of Your Final Destination," in which he plays an American of Iranian heritage. Susan King

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