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The Kingdom-Peter Berg, Ali Suliman, Ashraf Barhom Interview
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Where in the UAE were they able to shoot the movie?
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The Kingdom-Peter Berg, Ali Suliman, Ashraf Barhom Interview
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Rebecca Murray from About.com Hollywood Movies at the World Premiere of The Kingdom.
Director Peter Berg

I find it interesting that there's a lot of improvisation in this. Why did you allow so much?

Peter Berg: "It's always been my approach. I like looser forms of filmmaking. I like the acting to be loose; I like the set design to be loose. I like the camera work to be loose. Like that. I like that. It feels a little more energetic to me and we tried to create as much of that as we could."

Doesn't that make it more difficult for you when you're directing to actually do those action scenes and have your actors be so loose?

Peter Berg: "No, not really. If everything is organized around them, if the physical production is really buttoned down, the actors can then pretty successfully loosen up a bit."

How important was it for you to actually go on location for part of this?

Peter Berg: "Very. I mean, we knew we couldn't film in Saudi Arabia. They don't let film companies there. There's no movie theaters in Saudi Arabia. But we thought to be able to find a city that would welcome us in the Middle East, a Muslim country, would be critical to the film. The UAE invited us in and we went to a city, Abu Dhabi, that was a remarkable experience for all of us."

Was it more difficult than you anticipated or once you got there was it pretty fairly easy?

Peter Berg: "It was really hot but the people were so nice. And everybody was really scared. We're going to a Muslim country in wartime and without 100% the experience was being treated with respect, kindness. We made great friends. We met Muslims who wanted nothing more than to get to know us. It was a really enlightening experience."

This is such a great cast. Did you have all these four in mind pretty much?

Peter Berg: "They were all actors that I knew. And Jennifer, Jeremy Piven, Jamie Foxx, Bateman are all people that I know and are friends. I always like to work with friends. Chris Cooper was the one actor I didn't know and I was just a big fan."

Ali Suliman ('Sergeant Haytham')

Ali Suliman: "For me I was very fortunate, very happy to be in that movie, to work with Pete Berg especially and Jamie, Chris Cooper and Jennifer, all of them [were] amazing to work with really."

Tell me about working with Peter Berg. What was he like to work with as a director?

Ali Suliman: "As a director he's amazing. The director, because he's an actor too, he understands the actors very well. He's open-minded. He can listen to you. He's not forcing you to do things."

Ashraf Barhom ('Colonel Faris Al Ghazi')

Tell me about working on this huge, American action movie. What was that like for you?

Ashraf Barhom: "It was very special, very unique, to come here to America to make this movie. You know here an actor can take more attention. Working with Jamie and Chris Cooper and Jennifer Garner and with Pete, and with all this crew was very challenging for me, very much."

You got to work very closely with Jamie Foxx. Did you guys develop a friendship working through this?

Ashraf Barhom: "Most of our time was spending our time working, more than we didn't have much time to really know each other. But I believe through our work we could really make a good relationship of the two characters."
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