Wassim Hawat shares his journey from working in the Construction Industry to building a career in the Entertainment Industry.
Hailing from Sydney Wassim Hawat started his acting career later in life and uses it to his advantage. While it’s a name you might not yet know, you might recognise Hawat’s face having been on a number of Australian TV shows like Channel Nine’s hit show Here Come The Habibs. Hawat is forging himself a career in an industry that can be cut throat both in Australia and overseas. Doing his best to be an all rounder in the demanding entertainment industry, Hawat has a great confidence and some huge dreams he hopes will get him playing a villain on the big screen.
You can hear Hawat is a dreamer full of big ideas and even bigger ambition as he excitingly tells his story. But he doesn’t take himself too seriously as he’s realised how challenging the industry is.
“It’s a funny industry because sometimes you’re waiting for the phone call for a month, two months, three months and there’s nothing. And sometimes when it rains it rains and when its dry its dry,” Hawat laughs.
Hawat isn’t a trained actor in the traditional sense. Though he does wish he had started with the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA) when he was six. Starting an acting career later in life has been a challenge for Hawat but he doesn’t let that throw him off. The confidence has scored him some screen time on the likes of Home and Away, Here come the Habibs and even working as an Extra on Wonderland. Hawat has done his fare share playing the smaller roles.
“I won’t take anything less than a supporting role, because that’s the only way to take your career to the next level. I’ve auditioned for a lot of great stuff even overseas and in Australia. Stuff I’m waiting for, stuff I didn’t get. That’s the nature of life,” Hawat explains.
But the nature of life to this point of Hawt’s career didn’t come without some hard work. His parents encouraged him to take a different path in life, than a life on the stage.
“As a little kid my parents wanted me to be a doctor or a pharmacist or what ever. So I got into construction because I was interested in the industry for like 12 years. That faded after a couple of years,” he said.
Hawat studied engineering for four years, “four draining, torturing years”. But despite building a career in the entertainment industry Hawat still runs his own construction company.
“I got to pay the bills. I’m less involved now; I’m kind of a consultant. I’m focusing all my time on acting, on what ever work my agent throws to me and my own stuff, which is my god so much fun,” Hawat excitingly explains.
Hawat’s passion for the cinema and theatre came at a young age. Watching movies sat in front of the screen repeating the lines as the actors delivered them.
“I was really good at remembering lines. If it was an action, I’d get a gun and start shooting and my Mum would just see me like hiding behind a desk,” Hawat reminisces.
“I started doing minor roles, my mum would always make fun of me. Well are you going to be the tree in this movie or shrubs. I said, if Ridley Scott or Stephen Spielberg puts me as a dog in his movie, I’d be happy,” he laughs.
“Even my friends make fun of me because recently I was in the movie Gods of Egypt. I played a small role and the funniest part is when we went to the cinema to watch it my friends were with me, about 20 of them. They were so excited and I was like oh god they’re going to be so disappointed. They’re like where are you? I’m that guy wearing the red uniform. He’s goes, but there’s about 10 of them. I go well I am in a couple of scenes and I do actually do stuff, but you just don’t see my face. They were like man you wasted our time,” Hawat said.
While Hawat knows his friends and family support him, despite giving him a hard time. Hawat knows it’s going to be a challenge, but he’s determined to make it work.
“Nothing is impossible. I never like to say impossible because you’re setting yourself up for failure. It is a difficult industry, but at the end of the day if you’re focused and you’re determined and you believe in yourself and just believe in it and just thrive it’ll happen,” he said.
“I’d been complaining to my agent that I hadn’t got any auditions. In Jan and Feb I’m not lying I had three auditions in a week. In Australia that’s almost impossible. I had 3 auditions every week. I was so exhausted at the end of two months. I called my agent and was like you know what I wave the white flag. I give up. I’m happy with one audition a week,” Hawat said.
Hawat explains that he puts a lot of work into his auditions and that can be draining on him both physically and mentally. In one example Hawat said in a recent audition, which he wouldn’t say who it was with, he changed his appearance to give the character some authenticity.
“I auditioned for an Isis leader. I actually grew a beard and this is what’s funny. I wanted to look authentic as I can. I Googled this character, he’s actually out there somewhere. But he’s very low profile so I couldn’t find much videos about him, just texts. I had to create it for the audition. I grew the beard and watched video’s how they are and how they talk with a broken accent,” he explains.
“And then when I saw my parents my Mum was like ah Jesus what’s happened to you? I’m like what? She’s like what’s with the beard, you look like an Isis Leader. I’m like thank you, I’m actually auditioning for an Isis Leader,” Hawat laughs.
But changing his appearance is just the tip of what Hawat thinks will make him a desirable candidate for films. Hawat is trained in martial arts and can choreograph fight scenes.
“So in acting you got to be resourceful to the production. So when a producer goes wow this guy is tall and intimidating he can play a villain. Oh wow he can do martial arts. Ah no, not only that I can do my own stunts, i.e. I can save you a lot of money. Also I can work with your fight choreographer because I can choreograph my own fights, or I can assist in productions,” Hawat said.
Hawat has a bit of a break at the moment before he starts jetting off around the country and overseas for different projects. At the moment he is investing him spare time into a private project in the form of a short film. Trying his hand at producing, Hawat has been working with a local Sydney Director to extend his skills in the industry.
“It’s a very short film, but it’s important to me. I don’t want to be just one aspect, just be an actor. It would be great to tell a story from my eyes and have a character that resonates with me. There’s a lot of characters I dream to play and the only way I can play them is through my own eyes and my own stories,” Hawat explains.
“I want to use this short to pitch to producers I know. And I know some of these producers, if they like the story they’ll say wow we wanna make this into a feature together. It’s perfect for me because 1, my role gets bigger and 2, it will be on a big screen, which is what I really really want. Have a larger audience and hopefully get distributors internationally and that’s the ultimate fantasy at the end of day,” he said.
Fantasy or not Hawat’s determined to build this career to avoid what he describes as 10 to 12 hour days dealing with labourers, builders and screaming with architects. Hawat’s working on an Australian production called “The Unhallowed” which is in pre-production and to be filmed in Perth, Western Australia.
“I play the character Cain, you probably know Cain from the bible. They want to start the film with Cain and his brother and how Cain kills his brother with a rock. He’s the first human to kill another human and he sees blood and thinks what’s going on. There’s a bit of truth from the bible, but at the same he transforms into a vampire,” Hawat shares.
But internationally Hawat is spreading his wings and getting his name out there as he delves into the life of a double agent in “Out for Vengeance”. Which will be filmed around Europe in Amsterdam, Holland, Belgium and even Morocco.
“It’s an action film and there are a lot of names behind that film. Michel Qissi, he plays the villain [Tong Po] in Kickboxer with Van Damn. I play an undercover FBI agent, but he’s a double agent working with the Russians on the side. So a good guy bad guy. I really like this character because there’s a mystery,” Hawat said.
Hawat explains that 2017 will be the year everything comes out. So making the most of the time he has now to work on his own projects is very important to him. But he has no intention of slowing down.
“Everything before was small roles now it’s more serious roles. That’s what I want. I want a character I can show his own journey to the audience rather than playing a tree or a sofa,” Hawat laughingly explains.
Profile by Jay Cook