Ruining reps

Israeli porn producers are hiring actors who look like Egyptian stars.

By Jack Boulware

Published June 7, 2000 7:31PM (EDT)

It's the equivalent of American audiences watching Julia Roberts' face attached to a nude body having acrobatic sex with three Asian men, two black women and a shaved German shepherd. In Egypt, famous stars are being "used" in films in which they would never appear.

Let's say you catch a show at the Cairo Film Festival, and afterwards you feel like strolling down the street to a cafe. You grab a table, sip a coffee and realize people around you are paying to watch movies in a separate area of the cafe. You peek inside and see an X-rated film, but it looks oddly familiar. Having sex up there on the screen are some of Egypt's most popular film stars. Is that really actresses Yusra and Leila Alawi, naked as jaybirds, in the act of double-teaming actor Adel Imam? And is that singer Amru Diab, arriving late for seconds?

According to the Nasserist Al-Arabi weekly publication, this is exactly what's occurring in the cafes of Egypt. Film producers are tracking down actors who look like current Egyptian stars, and using them to shoot porn flicks in Israel. The films are then imported to Egypt and screened for paying customers. Appeal is broad for such materials, because Egyptian cinema is the most popular in the Middle East.

Al-Arabi said the goal of the porn films was to "tarnish the reputation of Egyptian film stars." The original actors are, of course, not pleased with the alternative personas that have been handed to them. Some stars have not commented publicly, but Yusra Alawi told reporters she is asking her attorney to obtain copies of the films and to pursue legal action against those responsible.

Jack Boulware

Jack Boulware is a writer in San Francisco and author of "San Francisco Bizarro" and "Sex American Style."

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