From Dubai to Hollywood

Dubai-raised Sebastian Faure tells us about his acting journey – from growing up in Dubai to following his dream of starring in movies in Tinseltown

Ever wanted to be an actor? It seems like such an unrealistic, silly thing to want to be. Right? Those of you who might have the acting itch may be too embarrassed to really consider it as an option – it sounds almost like wanting to runaway and join the circus.  But yet, some of us do. Sebastian Faure did. Well he didn’t join the circus exactly, he moved to Los Angeles (which depending on who you ask is pretty much a circus).

Hollywood is probably one of the most mesmerizing words in the dictionary. It’s implications of fame, fortune, glamour, the limelight and being immortalized in pop culture history has attracted millions of people over the last few decades from all over the world. But for us who live in Dubai it’s almost a point of interest when we hear one of our own venturing abroad to pursue a dream and making it happen.

Sebastian, a UAE-born and Dubai-raised actor, is making sure he makes that dream come true for himself in Hollywood. After working as an art consultant in Dubai for three years, Sebastian came to the realisation that that his passion for acting was too strong. He moved to Los Angeles to develop his career, earning his Master’s in Fine Art and Acting at the New York Film Academy in Burbank.

Since then, he’s worked alongside veteran actors such as Isabela Hofmann, George McGrath and Joe Basile and has earned 14 IMDb acting credits.

Sebastian was cast as the lead in the multiple award-winning Sui Side Inn, where he plays Chef Dimitri. The film has earned the prestigious 2017 Platinum International Independent award, 2017 LA Shorts award, 2017 Los Angeles Film Award for Best Editing, and a 2017 Best Drama Award from the LA International Film Festival.

“Every time I pick a role, I always start by understanding the psychology behind that person and the way he perceives life, because acting is all about thought. I thoroughly enjoy going deeper into the character.”
We spoke to Sebastian about his acting career thus far, growing up in Dubai and the definition of “making it”.

What made you want to be an actor? 
I always wanted to be an actor. At an early age, my father had a huge collection of films. All the classics, you name it, I used to spend my days watching these movies and impersonating the characters I saw on TV. It’s pretty difficult to receive your family’s consent when you tell them that you want to be an actor and they haven’t got a clue where to start.

You were born and raised in Dubai. Has your experience of growing up in Dubai prepared you or helped you on the path of being an actor?
I was raised in Dubai, and I made a lot of friends from different regions of the world. Dubai is a melting pot of different nationalities, cultures and religion. And what’s interesting is that it teaches tolerance to people who are brought up there. If I was raised elsewhere, I don’t think I would be as open as I am today.

You studied art history and worked in an art gallery here in Dubai for a few years – are you still involved in the world of art in any capacity?
Yes, I’m still involved in art. Any form of art is something I cherish in my life, it could be visual arts, photography, sculptures etc. Any creation made by man is something that I look forward to. Because it marks our history, it defines us, it leaves a stamp to our future generation.

What advice would you give for young people in Dubai who want to get into acting?
An advice I would give to a young person living in Dubai would be to read as many stories as you can. The point of being an actor is to be a storyteller. Tell stories! I would also advise them to do a lot of theater; it’s an adrenaline rush that can’t be explained. A mentality that you should always have as actor would be – you are enough and you do not need anyone’s acceptance. Do not be self-conscious of what people think of you, you are who you are and there’s no one like you. Love yourself and accept your difference to the world. Don’t try to fit in. Follow your passion!

Tell us about your short film Sui Side Inn? What attracted you to this role?
Sui Side Inn tells the story of an innkeeper named Sui who helps people with their struggle. When you want to end your life, you stay at this hotel. However, everything changes when a young girl shows up at Sui’s doorstep. I played a chef who was living in this inn and who is ready to end his life. What really attracted me to this story was how the director was able to create this parallel universe of how our world could be. A world where people were entitled to do as they please with their body, to the point of even ending their own life. And it was acceptable in the society of this fictional world created by Hua Bai. Hotels or even Inns were built for the soul purpose of helping people who are struggling with life.

Who are some of your favourite actors and why?
Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Paul Newman, Orson Welles, Alec Baldwin are some of the actors that inspired me for decades. They are character actors who can mould themselves and fill in the shoes of any fictional character and bring fiction to reality with their dimensional craft and their emotional depth.

What film projects are you excited about that are coming up?
I do have few projects lined up, one of them entitled Way-Out directed by my brother. It would be a period piece set in the 1950s, New-York, a film revolving around the prohibition in the US and the gangsters who smuggled alcohol. The second project Sealed would be a sci-fi set in post- apocalyptic world where two soldiers find themselves sealed in a bunker underground.

What do you think the Dubai acting and performance scene needs to develop the pool of talent we have here?
Anybody can be an actor, it just takes good practice to become a great actor. The market in Dubai is growing and like any business, it needs more investors in the entertainment industry for it to grow. I would say more investment in the movie industry like studios, production companies etc.

What would you say is your acting technique? Are you more of a method actor?
I became acquainted with acting techniques from Stanislavski to Meisner, to Lee Strasberg, to Chekhov to Grotowski. I was able to take something from all of these techniques in order to create my own style. I would consider myself more of a method actor. Being an actor is being able to pretend. The problem is pretending can get you to go too far in your acting and emotions.

What would you say is the biggest obstacle you face in your acting? 
Biggest obstacles would be living in the moment and reaching that emotional depth as an actor. Something that haunts you as an actor would be that it’s never good enough. It eats you up on a daily basis. It takes two to tango. A scene consists of conflict between two great actors. Both actors have to master their lines in order to give emotion and receive emotion. By doing that, they can create a masterful scene. Professionally, you might play alongside another actor who doesn’t give you anything, it’s for you to do your best to work around it. Financially, acting isn’t a consisting job. You might work for 6 months then you might be unemployed for 6 months, you have to work around it. Personally, It completes me, every time I act, I feel better. It’s like my therapy.

How would you define the term ‘making it’. When will you feel that you’ve “made it” or do you feel like you already have?
‘Making it’ is subjective just like saying ‘success’, what is success? For one person, taking care of his family and living a normal life would feel like the success he was looking for. For another, living the “jet set” life with boats, flashy cars, women etc. would be his success. For me, I simply want to act in roles I would be proud to call my own, I would like to live off it as well. Who knows, if it takes me somewhere, great. If not, I do not mind either because I’m following what I love. My problem is that it’s never good enough; I think that I have reached where I want to be, but even if I did, I will never be enough. It’s the flaw of being human, we always want more and it’s never enough.

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