Hiam Abbass Interview: ‘Ramy’ and ‘Succession’
Hiam Abbass believes that a show like “Ramy” is uniquely positioned to be a huge force to bring people together during these uncertain times and it all stems from the show’s creator, Ramy Youssef. “I know Ramy and so I can speak about how much love, honesty and truth he has in him. I would call it faith in life, faith in people faith and faith in humanity,” she explains in our recent webchat (watch the video above).
She cites Youssef’s writing as something that’s not just for the project at hand but can also serve as an invitation to be a part of changing our society. “There is a goal behind it and that’s what I really like about Ramy as a man, as an artist, as a creator, as a show-writer. That young person who has ideas and I think the double culture in him is as well an open invitation to show that you can be American and you can be anything else you want.”
“Ramy” centers on the show’s title character and his family living in Northern New Jersey and how they navigate being Muslim-Americans in today’s society while also examining their individual relationships with their Muslim faith. Abbass portrays Ramy’s unfiltered but well-meaning mother, Maysa Hassan.
Abbass’ portrayal of Maysa has been very well-received and she describes playing her as being the role of a lifetime. “Everything about this woman is what’s appealing to me as an actress to kind of engage myself into playing her,” she says. She loves that Maysa may be filled with contradictions but that they don’t consume the character. “In my life I don’t think I’ve ever met a woman that is like Maysa and this is where ‘Ramy’ really succeeds at something very big with the writing of this character.”
The Golden Globes gave some great news to Abbass in January when “Ramy” picked up a surprise win for Best TV Comedy Actor. But there was still more to celebrate that evening as the other show she is currently on, HBO’s “Succession,” claimed trophies for Best TV Drama Series and Best TV Drama Actor (Brian Cox). Abbass plays Cox’s wife, Marcia Roy. Her happiness for Cox is rooted in the friendship that she’s developed with him and how much they enjoy working with each other, but the series win had a slightly different feel to it. “I love that the show gets something because I kept hearing after the first season, people telling me how much they appreciate the show and it’s almost as if I was really looking forward to that moment to hear that the show got something.”