Omar Sy: “It’s always been my dream to play this kind of a role”
For actor Omar Sy, who stars alongside Tom Hanks in “Inferno,” the film offered an opportunity to play a dramatic role. “I have a background in comedy – I’m always smiling,” Sy explains, “but in this movie, Ron gave me the chance to play a tough guy, and I feel very lucky. It’s always been my dream to play this kind of a role. Only this time, I just cut out the smile.”
In the film, Sy, a Senegalese actor who grew up in France, plays a World Health Organization employee on the trail of the famous symbologist Robert Langdon (played by Tom Hanks) as he tries to prevent a global pandemic.
An award-winning actor, comedian, comic writer and television personality, Sy is quickly establishing himself as an international star. He has starred in over 30 films in 15 years and became a household name in France for his role as a street smart ex-con who befriends a handicap millionaire in “The Intouchables.” It was a performance that earned him a César for Best Actor in 2012.
Directed by Ron Howard, “Inferno” is the third big-screen adaptation of author Dan Brown’s investigational mystery series, following on the heels of “The Da Vinci Code” (2006) and “Angels & Demons” (2009). The movie follows Langdon (Hanks) as he races across Europe to try and stop a madman from unleashing a global virus that would wipe out half of the world’s population.
“The film keeps the line between who’s good and who’s bad up to interpretation, leaving the audience guessing,” continues the actor who broke into American film by starring in “X-Men: Days of Future Past” with Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, and Michael Fassbender, as well as Colin Trevorrow’s “Jurassic World” with Chris Pratt. “The difference between this film and the previous two is that this is a chase and the clock is ticking, which keeps up the pace. Also there is a philosophical question about our existence on this planet that is very interesting.”
With global actors that includes British actress Felicity Jones, Indian star Irrfan Khan, Danish actress Sidse Babett Knudsen and American actor Ben Foster as the villain, “Inferno” boasts a diverse cast. “There were English, American, Italian, Hungarian, French, Indian, Danish and Swiss – all these people from around the world working towards the same goal, moving in the same direction and giving all their energy to the same project,” says Sy. “It is a very good feeling and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
Sy starred in John Wells’ “Burnt” with Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Lily James, and Alicia Vikander and will be seen next in Hugo Gélin’s French comedy drama “Demain Tout Commence.” Rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sequences of action and violence, disturbing images, some language, thematic elements and brief sensuality “Inferno is out in theaters nationwide.
Samantha Ofole-Prince is an entertainment journalist who covers industry-specific news. Follow her on twitter @SamanthaOfole