The Crown has introduced audiences to the persona of Dodi Fayed, the film producer who is primarily known for his relationship with Princess Diana. The show’s creators carefully constructed a narrative around Fayed’s life as the son of billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed. The portrayal of Fayed’s character takes center stage in season six of The Crown, with actor Khalid Abdalla stepping into the role.
Abdalla’s first concern when preparing to play Dodi Fayed was to understand the man behind the headlines. He was particularly interested in finding out what Fayed sounded like, as a means of capturing his essence beyond the known facts. The research team managed to unearth a snippet of audio footage of Fayed calling into Larry King Live, which provided a glimpse into his voice and mannerisms. Additionally, Abdalla spoke to friends of Fayed and delved into the limited articles available to gather insights into his personality.
For Abdalla, the portrayal of Fayed was not just about doing justice to his personal legacy, but also about representing the lives of Muslim-Arab men in a positive light. He articulates that the lack of prominent Arab characters in film and the lack of mourning for Arab individuals who have died in wars underscores a deeper issue of cultural and political imagery. Abdalla sees his portrayal of Fayed as an opportunity to bring attention to these overlooked narratives and give recognition to the lives of Arab individuals.
When expressing his pride in the work, Abdalla points to the significance of shedding light on Dodi Fayed as a figure who has been in the public eye for 26 years without being truly known or understood. By portraying Fayed, Abdalla hopes to provide audiences with a chance to know and appreciate him, and finally mourn his passing.
Abdalla emphasizes the importance of Dodi Fayed’s representation as an Arab figure in mainstream media, challenging the lack of visibility and representation of Arab characters. He feels a sense of responsibility in giving Fayed a voice and bringing his story to the forefront.
The actor also acknowledges the role of Princess Diana in breaking barriers and transcending racial and cultural biases. He attributes his own presence and recognition in the portrayal of Fayed to the inclusive and accepting nature of Diana’s character. Through his portrayal of Fayed, Abdalla seeks to honor Diana’s ability to see beyond outward appearances and connect with individuals at a deeper level.
With the release of Part 1 of season six, The Crown has provided a platform for Abdalla to delve into the complexities of Dodi Fayed’s character, showcasing a multidimensional portrayal that goes beyond his public image. As the series continues to explore the evolving relationship between Fayed and Princess Diana in Part 2 of season six, Abdalla’s performance promises to shine a light on the untold story of a man who has long been overshadowed by the famous figures surrounding him. The significance of the representation of Fayed as an Arab figure in the series serves as a reminder of the importance of diverse and inclusive storytelling in mainstream media.