NADIM SAWALHA plays IBN MUZAFFAR, a Cairo-based intellectual and interpreter of dreams.

Born in Madaba, a small village in the South of Jordan, Sawalha attended an English school in Amman, where his English teacher helped him to get a place at Drama School in England. After three years at the Rose Bruford College of Speech & Drama, he left with a teaching diploma, which he promptly put in an envelope, where it has remained ever since.

After graduating in 1956, Sawalha worked for ten years for the BBC Arabic Radio Service, acting, writing, directing and news reading and then returned to Jordan for two years in 1965, where he worked as a theatre director and founded the Jordan National Theatre.

On his return to London after the Six Day War in 1967, he was given his first film part in A Touch of Class, followed by other films such as The Wind and the Lion, and two James Bond films, and most recently Syriana and Nativity. Over the years he has appeared in over a hundred films and countless popular TV series.

His stage work includes appearances with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre. Sawalha has also been busy writing, producing and appearing in his own shows, the first being Waiting for Godot at the Lyric Studio, Hammersmith. He then wrote and appeared in a one-man show Ousama, A Moslem Nobleman's View of the Crusades, directed by Corin Redgrave which was staged both in London and Amman. Corin also directed his production of ‘Prophet in Exile', a play inspired by the life and works of Khahlil Gibran, which Sawalha is currently rewriting for an upcoming production under the title, An Arab in America. His last theatre appearance was in his own one-man show, All I Want Is A British Passport, a satire on Mohammad al Fayed's battle with the British Establishment, which he toured for two years.

Amongst all this work, Sawalha also found time to start up and run an animation company, producing Arabic TV commercials - the making of which funded a short series, Uncle Hoja Goes West, the adventures of an old Bedouin on a visit to London, which was sold around the world.

In 2007 Sawalha played the title role in the film Captain Abu Raed, the first Jordanian feature film in fifty years, which won him the award for best actor at the Dubai International Film Festival in December of the same year. The film went on to win the audience award for best World Film at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2008, and was shown out of competition at the 2008 Cannes Festival.

Sawalha has three daughters - the eldest, Dina, is a ballet teacher, Nadia is an actress and TV presenter and producer, and Julia is an actress, best known for her part as Saffy in Absolutely Fabulous.


Ibn Battuta: Chems Eddine Zinoun
The Highwayman: Hassam Ghancy
Ibn Muzaffar: Nadim Sawalha
Hamza: Nabil Elouahabi


Director/Co-Screenwriter: Bruce Neibaur
Executive Producer: Jake Eberts
Producer: Jonathan Barker
Producer: Dominic Cunningham-Reid
Producer: Taran Davies
Co-Producer: Dima Alansari
Co-Producer: Dounia Benjelloun
Co-Producer: Al-Zain Al-Sabah
Screenwriter: Tahir Shah
Screenwriter: Carl Knutson
Supervising: Producer Diane Roberts
Supervising: Producer Tony Thatcher
Line Producer: Daniel Ferguson
Director Of Photography: Matthew Williams
Production Designer: Mike Fowlie
Art Director: Philip Murphy
Editor: Jean-Marie Drot
Costume Designer: Emma Bellocq
Location Director - Mecca: Abdul Latif Salazar
Director Of Photography - Mecca: Afshin Javadi
Director Of Photography - Mecca: Ghasem Ebrahimian
Director of Photography – Mecca: Rafey Mahmood