Omar Sharif is in Ireland and in addition to appearing on The Late Late Show tonight, he came to launch the Dublin Arabic Film Festival (DAFF).
He took to the red carpet Dublin’s Lighthouse Cinema last night and spoke to RTÉ TEN about how he was keen to come to Ireland for the first time as he has long been a fan.
He said: “I didn’t come, just to come. I came because there was things [I wanted to do] and because of my friend [looking at Jim Sheridan] and I wanted to go there [to the Dublin Arabic Film Festibal] with him.
“It’s a nice place to live in, this place. Already in two days, I think it's fantastic already, it's true. I like it. I live in Paris but Paris doesn't make me very happy.”
The octogenarian was surprised, yet delighted to learn that he has a huge number of fans in Ireland: “Really? But I am old now, look at me. I am 82 and one month.”
Speaking about working with his friend, the late Peter O'Toole, on 1962’s Laurence of Arabia, he said: “It was fantastic, he was my brother. He was eleven months younger than me and he died in December, it killed me because we were friends for a very long time.”
He described the film as “that’s the movie in the desert” because as Jim Sheridan, who helped organise the DAFF and hosted last night’s event, added: “Don’t forget, they were in the desert for a year.”
He later said in front of the packed screening of his 2003 film Monsieur Ibrahim: “At the end of everything we did, we sat next to each other in the night and we had the beautiful sky.”
As to whether he’ll act in another film. He said: “I don’t know…I’ll see if I live here, I’ll see.”
The festival was inspired by a conversation Sheridan had with Marlon Brando: “Yes it was something Marlon said, where he said that there’ll never be another Omar Sharif after 9/11 and I thought it was so sad and ‘then we’ll find one’. We’re going to look but we’ll never find one but we might find a star somewhere’.
“He’s a legend, that’s why he’s here. I’m just afraid that they’ll never be another Omar Sharif, that’s the reason he’s here so that we can keep the thing going and not have stereotypes and this man’s the biggest star that was ever produced in that world, that culture and he’s probably the biggest star in the East. He’s the biggest star from the East in the West.”