Salah Kraimia is happy and smiling because he has recently taken a path that he is passionate about: cinema! At 21, this young man of Moroccan and Tunisian origin, who works as a hotel maintenance technician, now spends his free time going to casting sessions and trying to get roles. Toombow Kids met this enthusiastic person who decided to listen to his heart.
Tombow Kids: Hello Salah, how are you? What was the catalyst that made you want to become an actor?
Salah: Hello, yes I’m doing well. After graduating high school, I took two years off to think about my life and what I wanted to do. I always liked to make jokes to make my friends laugh and create situations where I played a role. I did it so often that my friends and family advised me to try my luck in the artistic field, especially comedy. That’s what motivated me.
Toombow Kids: It’s great to have people around you who encourage you like that! What do you like about being an actor?
Salah: Yes, I’m lucky to have them. What I find great is to be able to act with emotions and make them visible on the screen. Just with a role or a line, you can affect people. Most of all, I love acting!
Toombow Kids: It’s true that emotions are at the heart of the job. Who are the actors you admire the most and why?
Salah: I really like Denzel Washington, I find him exceptional in many different roles. Eddie Murphy too, I find him really funny. For one last one, I choose Emilia Clarke because every time she plays a role, she manages to make you feel that she is unique.
Toombow Kids: Yes, they’re all talented artists! Unfortunately in France, the majority of the production companies often give the same kind of role to actors of Arab origin: criminals, or young people with problems who live in misery, etc., whereas they could play many types of roles! What do you think of this treatment?
Salah: I think it’s a bad way of thinking. By showing these stereotypes in the cinema, it creates prejudices, and reinforces clichés. We need to give Arab actor roles of doctors, judges, and lawyers. There are some in France, but they are never put in the spotlight.
Toombow Kids: Mentalities must change. Is that why you want to try your luck in the United States? Because Americans are known for giving people a chance in the film industry, regardless of their origins?
Salah: Yes, completely. There is the example of the actor Saïd Taghmaoui who played one of the main roles in the movie « La Haine » (« Hate »). Afterwards, France did not give him a chance in the cinema but he went to the U.S. and the Americans gave him a chance. He has acted in many big films. Almost all the greatest films are American!
Toombow Kids: A practical question: How do you prepare a role for casting?
Salah: I stay in my room and read each sentence aloud. I try to get into the character’s head and understand him to play him better. I think of the character like a friend. If you don’t understand your friend, you won’t be able to comfort him when he is in trouble. It’s the same thing, how can you play someone if you don’t understand them?
Toombow Kids: Yes, that makes sense. What are your favorite films?
Salah: « The Green Mile »! It’s one of the first movies that made me cry. I would also say « I am Legend. »
Toombow Kids: Excellent. What kind of roles are you willing to play?
Salah: I can play any role that is offered to me as long as it is not a role that degrades any community.
Toombow Kids: Do you hope to win an Oscar one day?
Salah: (laughs) Of course! You have to dream because without dreams you can’t move forward in life.
Toombow Kids: Thank you Salah for these inspiring words. Good luck and see you soon in the Young Artist section!