Image of Sayed Badreya

Sayed Badreya

Egyptian-born film-maker and actor Sayed Badreya realized a childhood dream by winning roles in major Hollywood films such as The Insider, Three Kings, and Independence Day. Growing up in poverty in Port Said, Sayed Badreya's dreams of movie stardom looked as bleak as the prospect of peace in the Middle East. From the Six Day War in '67 through the Yom Kippur War in '73, his only escape from the world he knew was the movie theater, where films transported him to a magical land. But it was here that he determined he was destined to be a part of that magic. After attending New York University film school, and then moving to Hollywood, Sayed first worked in the film industry as an assistant to actor/director Anthony Perkins, and then with director James Cameron on True Lies. His mission - to make movies that told the Arabic- American story, since it had yet to be told - led to the creation of his own production company, Zoom In Focus. Under this banner, he directed and produced the documentary, Saving Egyptian Film Classics as well as The Interrogation, which won Best Creative Short Film at New York International Film Festival. He also produced and starred in Hesham Issawi's short, T for Terrorist, which was awarded Best Short Film at the Boston International Film Festival and the San Francisco World Film Festival. In 2007, he played his first leading role in the English language motion picture American East, a film that he also co-wrote. 2008 was Sayed Badreya's breakout year. He captivated audiences as Abu Bakaar, the villainous arms dealer who kidnaps Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) in the summer's blockbuster Iron Man. Also that year, Sayed played the comedic Palestinian cab driver opposite Adam Sandler in You Don't Mess with the Zohan. This summer, Sayed can be seen in Paramount Pictures' feature film El traspatio aka Backyard, directed by Oscar-nominated Carlos Carrera in which he plays a serial killer opposite Ana de la Reguera. Sayed can also be seen this summer in Movie 43, where he plays opposite Halle Berry. Additional forthcoming films include The Three Stooges, his fifth film with the Farrelly brothers; The Dictator, playing Sascha Baron Cohen's father as the original Dictator, and Just Like a Woman, with Oscar nominated director Rachid Bouchareb. Also, Sayed is going to a new frontier in the new video game Uncharted 3, playing Ramses the Great Pirate Captain. Most recently he completed his second leading role in the New York independent feature, Cargo, about human traffickers, directed by Yan Vizinberg. And he just finished co-starring opposite Oscar-nominated actress Melissa Leo in film The Space Between, directed by Travis Fine. Sayed has also worked as an actor, Arabic dialect coach, and Islamic technical advisor on Path to 9/11, a $40 million mini-series about the events leading up to 9/11 produced by ABC/Touchstone. Sayed's efforts to bring attention to Arab-Americans in the motion picture industry have received much coverage over the years on radio, television, and in major publications around the world, such as The New York Times, GQ, NPR, ABC's "Politically Incorrect" with Bill Maher, BBC's "Panorama," CNN, "Fox Report with Shepard Smith", The Hollywood Reporter and Egypt Today.

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In Port Said, Egypt
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the movie Hotshot 1987-01-23
Latest Project:
Movie Vanguard 2020-09-30
Known For
Poster of Just Like a Woman
Poster of Cargo
Poster of Family Prayers
Poster of Iron Man
Movie Vanguard Abati 2020-09-30
Movie Boiling Pot Anwar Seif 2015-09-29
Movie Movie 43 Large Man (segment "Truth or Dare") 2013-01-01
Movie Just Like a Woman Tarek 2013-03-07
Movie The Three Stooges Orderly 2012-04-13
Movie The Dictator Omar 2012-05-15
Movie Cargo Sayed 2011-10-17
Movie Family Prayers Hussein 2010-06-01
Movie Backyard El Sultán 2009-02-20
Movie Iron Man Abu Bakaar 2008-04-30
Movie You Don't Mess with the Zohan Hamdi 2008-06-05
Movie AmericanEast Mustafa Marzouke 2008-11-14
Series The Unit Unknown 2006-03-07
Series Numb3rs Unknown 2005-01-23
Movie Stuck on You Assisting Surgeon 2003-12-10
Movie The Princess & the Marine Chauffeur 2001-02-18
Movie Shallow Hal Doctor Sayed 2001-11-01
Movie Three Kings Iraqi Tank Major 1999-04-21
Movie The Insider Hezbollah Head Gunman 1999-03-10
Movie Hamam in Amsterdam Uncle 1999-07-07
Series The Practice Unknown 1997-03-04
Movie Independence Day Arab Pilot 1996-06-25
Movie Kingpin Fatima 1996-07-04
Movie Stargate Arabic Interpreter 1994-10-27
Series Seinfeld Unknown 1989-07-05
Movie Hotshot Mohamed 1987-01-23