Thomas Lee Brooks
The future is bright for Aziz Dyab as his acting career takes an interesting turn after the release of ‘Liaison’ on Apple TV. Discussing characters that were, and characters to be in an exclusive interview with 5ELEVEN, you’ll find that Dyab is a character of his own. Like any creative, the world is within reach, looking forward to the next project. In ways, Aziz Dyab has an ideal mindset to look up to, taking each opportunity as it comes, and taking care of one’s perspective whilst remaining optimistic.
Words byThomas Lee-Brooks.
Aziz Dyab was photographed by David Reiss.
Styled by Benedict Browne. Grooming by Charlotte Yeomans.
How did you begin your career in entertainment?
It began after I came to Germany in September 2015, I was 20 years old. I joined a local theatre group when I lived, it was called Frankfurt Oder with the main purpose to improve my German and I ended up falling in love with this process – I never had something in my life that stimulated my mind in that way. I felt that I could spend the rest of my life doing this. I did have an interest [in acting] in Syria but there wasn’t a supporting atmosphere… Art is not necessarily a priority where I grew up; we didn’t have theatres or movie theatres even.
In your life, were there any challenges you faced when moving to Germany and pursuing this career?
There were a lot of challenges, and even now there are a lot of challenges. I did conquer some of those challenges, and the others I had to learn to embrace. I think the biggest challenge for me was when I first came to Germany – as I said – I was too young, you know? 20 years old is a very young age to be alone in a completely new world. I didn’t know anyone; I didn’t own anything, and I couldn’t speak at that time. I was always very cautious about my action, just in case anything went bad as I had no one to rely on but myself. So, chasing a career as an actor with that already – I would say, [being in that] insecure atmosphere – was already a huge challenge.
Do you still experience any challenges now? If you were to compare to how you first started – or would you say that you’re a completely different person?
I love challenges! I think challenges are such a good way to measure your progress. I feel that I am in a place in my life where I am not challenged by something, which means I have gotten too comfortable with myself.
With ‘Liaison’ being on a global platform with Apple TV, has this altered your life in any way?
In many ways… It did create some interesting opportunities and I got the chance to meet some inspirational people. But I think the most important change for me was the way ‘Liason’ broadened my perspective as an actor. It made me ask myself questions that I wasn’t necessarily asking myself before the show – in a way that isn’t so straightforward. Like… Why am I doing what I’m doing? What kind of actor do I want to be, what do I want to achieve as an actor, and where do I see myself in five years, or ten years as an actor?
It was a huge learning experience. I love this job specifically because I get to experience it so much every time, I do something new. It is a never-ending process, constantly evolving! I love that about this – about acting.
What was the best advice you’ve been given? Whether this was during ‘Liaison’ ‘Je Suis Karl’ or any other previous production?
A director once kept telling me to be courageous and brave. I wasn’t sure what he meant by this. I guess that by being ‘brave’, you must trust yourself, staying true to who you are. But I think before that, you need to know who you are inside. I am not sure if someone told me this, I may have learnt this from other people’s advice on the way.
Can you describe ‘Liaison’ in three words?
I don’t think I can! I don’t think I can describe anything in three words… I have so much struggle with picking things, you know?
It is a six-episode show – it is an intriguing story. It is about politics, love and survival. It is also about taking responsibility for your actions, and past, as an individual, as a lover, as a parent or government. It’s about redemption… I think ‘Liaison’ has something for everyone, I got to watch it and I have to say – it's very mysterious. It is also extremely unpredictable.
I will help you pick out three words because you gave me 100 words. I picked out redemption, accountability, and unpredictability. Great essay!
What intrigued you about Samir that encouraged you to take on this role?
On the surface when I took on this audition, the thing that immediately caught my attention was the narrative that he was a computer hacker. I had never played this kind of role before, but I always wanted to play. It was such a funny coincidence because during lockdown I wanted to have something to occupy myself with, and I picked computer science – believe it or not. I was learning computer language and I learnt a lot about the technical stuff, so in a way, I was unintentionally preparing myself for that part. How did they know that I was doing that?
What have you learnt from Samir?
As an actor, I learnt a lot – both technical and spiritual. As a person, I learnt that the simplest things in life are still worth fighting for, despite his circumstances, he only seeks necessities that we take for granted. From my point of view and life experience, I learnt to appreciate things in my life – sincerely. We take a lot of things for granted, that a lot of people can’t reach or consider a luxury. This is something that I share in my personal life.
What is different about your role in ‘Liaison’ compared to previous performances?
I think for the most part, the skill for this production is the biggest I have been involved in, and the first international production I got to work on. There were a lot of French artists and creators, and some in the UK – and it is very interesting to see the differences and similarities in making movies in Germany, France and the UK. But also witnessing different mentalities.
What’s next for you?
Well… ‘Liaison’ has just come out on 24th Feb! I can’t wait to see how the audience perceives the show and Samir. I am working on a German romantic comedy with a dark sense of humour – it is too early to talk about it! I have some goals, but I would like to master my English and be very confident, more than I am now; to expand my vocabulary.